BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Two staff positions will be eliminated in the Bernards Township schools next year due to a reduction in the number of pupils.

The Board of Education voted May 13 to abolish one high school math teacher’s post, as well as one learning disabilities teacher consultant. One of the two was a certificated staffer.

In budget sessions this spring, the administration said no reduction in staff was planned. At the introduction of the budget in March, Superintendent Nick Markarian said staffing needs will be affected by declining enrollment (an expected 5,107, an estimated 177 fewer than the current year).

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Two staffers would be “repurposed,” or given different jobs because of declining enrollment and needs. Two experienced teachers – one for grades K-5 and another for grades 6-12 – would be tasked as “instructional coaches,” or people who instruct and assist staff in becoming better teachers, Makarian said.

Two Spanish teachers would see their hours redeployed, possibly across all grades and all schools, he said.

Markarian said he foresaw four new positions due to “growth,” which he said would be financed by staff attrition. They are a fulltime American Sign Language teacher at Ridge High, another district English as a Second Language teacher, and dance and theater teachers for William Annin Middle School. 

Enrollment of staff members' children approved for next year

However, the board approved Monday the enrollment of 60 children of staff members for next school year.

Sixteen will attend Cedar Hill School, 13 will go to Liberty Corner School, 12 to William Annin Middle School, 10 to Ridge High and two each to Oak Street and Mount Prospect schools. Five kindergartners’ schools are yet to be determined.

Resignations accepted

The board on May 13 also accepted the resignation of David Harding, the district director of facilities, as of June 30. Markarian said Harding will take a similar position with the Princeton public school district.

Harding’s base annual salary, as listed in the school budget, is $137,537.

The board authorized the offering of a contract to a candidate, who was not disclosed.

The board also accepted the resignation of Christen DiRocco, a special education teacher at Cedar Hill School, effective June 30.

Child care leaves were granted for first-grade teacher Katie Miller and instructional aide Justine Walker, both at Mount Prospect School. Both will return in November.

Two maternity leave replacements were hired for Ridge High for the remainder of the school year: Buffy Gagliano, an in-class special education support teacher, and Katherine Janssen, in social studies.