GLEN ROCK, NJ - The Glen Rock Board of Education has terminated 32 Community School employees because the district will incur a budget deficit if it continually pays those employees during the coronavirus school shutdown while the program is incurring a revenue shortfall.
"This is probably the hardest resolution we've had to vote on, no one wants to ever let anyone go," Board President Sharon Scarpelli said. "I'm hopeful we will bring the Community School back in the fall. I know it's not easy at all."
The board met virtually on March 31 and voted to terminate the employees or incur a $60,000 deficit through June 30, said Board Administrator/Board Secretary Michael Rinderknecht. Six of the nine board members approved the resolution, with two members abstaining and one member absent.
Angela Pucci-Bender and Vice President Bryon Torsiello both abstained, indicating they were concerned about keeping on three of Community School administrative staff.
Three employees of the Community School program were kept on, including the Community School director, the assistant to the director and the bookkeeper. Those positions, according to Rinderknecht, are necessary to either bring back the summer programs, if possible, or reinstitute programs in the fall. He said the anticipation is the employees terminated would all be hired back when things opened up again.
While he said the board would revisit Community School programs and spring sports, he was concerned the coronavirus shutdown could cause economic issues many months into the future.
"Judging by the news, this looks like we could be impacted not only in the 2020-21 budget, but the 2021-22 budget, as well," he said.
From March 16, when the schools were ordered closed, to June 30, Rinderknecht said the district would suffer an approximate $368,000 loss in revenue because no one would be paying for Community School programs. Additionally, the district would not be receiving $100,000 in spring fees for sport programs, which affects the general operating fund.
Rinderknecht said the Community School programs, which operate under the auspices of the Board of Education, operate through the "enterprise" fund, and not the general fund. "These are ideally are self-sustaining, as is the school lunch program," he said.
"I think when we recover from this, I feel we will come back as good, if not better," Rinderknecht said.