CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Superintendent Michael LaSusa said that the Chatham Board of Education should re-examine how the district spends its money on the end-of-the-year celebration for the middle school at the regular meeting of the BOE on Monday night.
LaSusa suggested that the district could save $10,000 by making changes. The extra cost this year was because the district had to set up the celebration at the Chatham Middle School instead of holding it at Mennen Arena before the high school graduation.
"This was the third time we have been unable to coordinate the middle school end-of-year celebration to be held immediately before the high school graduation since we moved to Mennen Arena about nine years ago," LaSusa said. "We've tried to keep the two of them together to reduce costs and we were unable to do it this year.
"I think it's appropriate to start examining whether we should continue with that type of celebration for our middle school. We're talking about an 8th-grade, end-of-year event. It's not a graduation. It's costly to run it the way we do."
Chatham Superintendent Michael LaSusa talks about the reasons to consider eliminating 8th Grade celebration at Mennen Arena
In other business, Matthew Gilfillan, chair of the finance committee, reported that the board is moving forward with serious consideration of putting a referendum before the public to fund capital improvements.
Included in the list is the renovation of the track at Cougar Field, school entrance security and additional turf fields behind the high school.
LaSusa also reported that the state budget approved by Gov. Phil Murphy will be more than the $309,000 increase reported in March. LaSusa said that Chatham is slated to receive an undetermined amount in additional state aid for "extraordinary" special needs accommodations in the video below.
The term "extraordinary" includes in-district expenses of more than $40,000 and out-of-district expenses of more than $55,000. Chatham is slated to receive $2.9 million before the increase is determined.
New bleachers have been installed in the Chatham High School main gym, slightly raising the seating capacity. Peter Daquila, board administrator/secretary, estimated that the new bleachers have a capacity of 700, up from the rough estimate of 600.
Attendance: LaSusa reported that there are 4,016 students enrolled in the district for the upcoming school year at this time, down from the peak number of 4,231 in 2017. LaSusa expects enrollment to increase at the high school for the next five or six years while elementary school enrollment declines.