BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -- Monday night marked another milestone for Board of Education member Helen Kirsch, -- she took her oath of office for the start of her 37th year on the board. Also sworn in were Angela Penna and Michael D'Aquila. Penna, the former president of the PTO, was the top vote-getter in the five-person race with 1,970 votes, followed by D'Aquila with 1,71 votes and Kirsch with 1,687.
Board Business Administrator Donna Felezzola administered the oath office for Kitsch, who remained seated at the board table.
Penna's husband, Ian, and daughter, Jacqueline, stood by her side at the podium, while she took her oath. D'Aquila's wife, Cathy, and children, Stephanie, Joseph, and Vincent watched proudly from his side.
Board President Doug Reinstein and Board Vice President Bill Cassano were unanimously approved for another year in their leadership positions by the board.
Reinstein told members he made a list of committee assignments and liaison positions for the coming year, and asked them to review the list and see if they agreed with it. One of the changes he proposed was eliminating the position of liaison to the Curriculum Committee, since Assistant Superintendent Scott McKinney is already a member of the committee and can report back to the board.
Reinstein also suggested adding a position of liaison to the Recreation Commission/Booster Club, both of which play a large role in fund-raising for sports. He said,"I think it behooves us to be more formally aware" of the workings of those groups.
Reinstein said Kirsch, who has been the liaison to the township's Environmental Commission for many years, has said she would like to end her role with that group. The building in which the meetings are held is not accessible, she said, and it is "uncomfortable" for her to have to ask for a specific door to be opened for her, so she can attend the meetings. That will end when the new Municipal Complex is up and running, she added, so if no one wants to take on the role of liaison, she suggested perhaps sharing the position until the situation changes.
Reinstein asked board members to consider the recommendations and changes, and to be prepared to talk about them at the next executive session of the board, on Feb. 13.
As part of its reorganization responsibilities, the board approved the meeting dates for 2020 and the 2021 Reorganization meeting. The school board will meet on: Feb. 13; March 12; April 2; April 23; May 7; June 11; June 25; Aug. 13; Sept. 10; Sept. 24; Oct. 8; Nov. 12; Dec. 3; and Jan. 7. 2021.
The board will adopt a tentative budget on March 12 and, on May 7, formally adopt the budget. The May 7 meeting will also be the Educator of the Year, Retiree Reception and will be held in the Governor Livingston High School Audiitorium at 7: 30 p..m. All the other meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m.