BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – While Superintendent Judith Rattner’s retirement officially begins Dec. 1, that won’t be her last day in the district.

During the Sept. 13 school board meeting, Board President Doug Reinstein said the superintendent’s last working day in the district will be Oct. 18. “She will be taking a vacation from then until … the rest of her life,” he quipped, which drew a laugh from the board and audience, then quickly added, “from then until Dec. 1, which is her formal last day. ”

This information has already been communicated to the staff.

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The board is looking for an interim superintendent and is in the process of conducting interviews, he said. “It is our full expectation that we will have a person in place prior to Judy’s leaving for what we believe will be an adequate transition.”

Reinstein’s said his often mentioned plan for “Office Hours” for board members will begin in late October.

He said the idea behind office hours is to make board members more accessible for members of the public, especially those who can’t attend regular school board meetings.

At the moment, the plan is to hold three sessions – in October, December and January – with about six weeks between the sessions, he said.

The current plans are for the office hours to be held from 9 to 11 a.m., Saturdays, Oct. 27, Dec. 8 and Jan. 26, in a yet-to-be determined room at Columbia Middle School.  Three board members will attend each meeting – more than that would mean there was a quorum present and therefore an actual meeting of the board. Reinstein said, “No decisions will be made and no board business conducted.

These are “office hours as you would remember from your college days,” he said. Looking pointedly at the audience of regular attendees, Reinstein said, “It’s our hope that people who can’t attend on Thursday nights … but will be out running errands on a Saturday, will stop by and share their feedback with us.”

The sessions are not designed to “resolve student issues,” he said, they will be a chance for the public to give feedback, ask questions and talk to a board member. If the sessions are not well-attended he will rethink the idea but said he would continue to come up with other ways to interact with the public.   

Reinstein said he would put together an announcement with more details about the office hours and post it on the district website.

Resident Christopher Rinaldi asked Reinstein, if the board was allowed to talk about “the timeline on the status of negotiations with the Berkeley Heights Education Association?”

Reinstein replied, “I can tell you we are continuing in our discussions with them. The timeline is we hope to get it resolved as soon as possible. We have had one mediation session, another is scheduled for October. It is our hope and desire we settle that as soon as possible.”