WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Board of Education meeting took a sentimental turn as departing Interim Superintendent James O'Neill and retiring Board Administrator Mark Kenney were acknowledged by present and former board members and educators.
Former West Orange Superintendent Jerry Tarnoff stopped by to thank both O'Neill for his two years of service to the district, and to Kenney for his 14 years. Also present to acknowledge Kenney were former Board of Education members Rich Rizzolo, Warren Fuller and Paul Petigrow.
Current board members Sandra Mordecai, Michelle Casalino, Laura Lab, Ron Charles and Mark Robertson also thanked both for their service, noting that in Kenney's 14 years as board administrator, he had managed to keep the district operational despite budget cuts and loss of funding.
As for O'Neill, board member Michelle Casalino noted, "Mr. O'Neill got us through some tough times and decisions, some of the most difficult since I have been on the board."
"I have felt that the past two years were an important part of my 40 year career," said O'Neill. "The diversity of the school district; the exceptional students and talented teachers, have made my time here something I will always value."
The general meeting was cut and dry as the district continued approval of new hires, transfers and resignations. Assistant Superintendent Donna Rando's annual salary of approximately $200,000 dollars was approved by the Essex County School Superintendent; a new search is underway for a 6-12 Mathematics Supervisor after the approved hire decided to remain in his former district; rehires and substitute teacher lists were approved.
School breakfast and lunch prices will increase five cents across the board.
Applied Data Services was approved for a demographic services study for $6,500. "The district must consider redistricting," said James O'Neill, "whether there is growth or not, redistricting will reduce transportation costs."
Jeffrey Rutzky will begin work on July 1 as the new Superintendent of the West Orange School district, although O'Neill will remain through July 30 on a consulting basis before moving on as Interim Superintendent in the Livingston School district.