LAKE COMO, NJ — Ellen Higgins began her new three-year term on the Lake Como Board of Education, as newcomer Mary Louise Underhill took her seat for a one-year unexpired term during the board’s reorganization meeting on January 10.

Incumbent Patricia Gerris, who was elected to a three-year term, was unable to attend the meeting and is expected to be sworn in at the board’s February 28 meeting.

Debra Russo was selected as its president for a fifth year, and Carol Hope will remain vice president of the five-member board and will also continue to serve as Lake Como’s representative to the Belmar Board of Education.

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In other appointments, the law firm of Adams, Stern, Gutierrez & Lattiboudere, Newark, was named board attorney, and Robert Hulsart and Co., Wall, as auditor. Board Business Administrator/Board Secretary Loretta Hill was designated as public agency compliance officer.

Under a new policy for all seven sending districts of Manasquan High School, Lake Como will hold a seat on Manasquan’s school board in 2021, based on a rotating schedule now required by Monmouth County Interim Executive Superintendent of School Lester Richens.

The MHS sending districts are entitled to three seats each year on the 12-member Manasquan school board, including the smallest districts — Lake Como, Avon-by-the-Sea, Sea Girt and Spring Lake, which must hold one of those seats.

Until now, the four smallest districts had no direct representation on the Manasquan school board. However, because they now collectively have enough students attending MHS to exceed the 15 percent minimum threshold required to hold one seat, Richens last year directed all the districts to work together to determine their board membership for the next four years.

While Brielle, as the largest sending district, occupies one Manasquan school board seat, Spring Lake Heights will take the second seat over Belmar this year — as the two districts with the second- and third-highest number of students attending MHS.

In 2019, Spring Lake is designated for the third seat. Sea Girt will be offered the seat in 2020, Lake Como in 2021 and Avon in 2022, based on the schedule.

While all four small districts account for nearly 18 percent of MHS enrollment, should that number fall below the 15 percent minimum threshold, they would lose the rotating seat on the Manasquan school board, Hill told the Lake Como board members.

According to the Manasquan school district, nearly 69 percent of a total of nearly 1,000 MHS students come from these seven districts — Brielle with 24.5 percent (234 students), Spring Lake Heights with 13.5 percent (129 students), Belmar with 13.2 percent (126 students), Lake Como with 6.6 percent (63 students), Spring Lake with 4.3 percent (41 students), Avon with 4.1 percent (39 students) and Sea Girt with 2.7 percent (26 students).


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