SOMERSET, NJ – The school board welcomed new and returning members at last night’s annual reorganization meeting. As part of this process officials returned Nancy LaCorte and Ardaman Singh to their positions leading the board for another year as president and vice president respectively. 

All present board members voted the two in, except Patricia Stanley who was absent and new member Bill Grippo, who was sworn in but could not participate due to a technicality. 

Grippo, along with returning members Nishita Desai and Michael Smith, were sworn in for three-year terms. However, assistant superintendent Jonathan Toth said the Grippo was unable to meet the background check requirements in time for the meeting. He said that the board expects Grippo’s clearance to come through before the board’s meeting later this month, despite the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Grippo’s background check wasn’t the only thing delayed by the pandemic, according to Toth, who said that the certification of votes in the November election were delayed as well. The certified results for the three winning candidates are: Michael Smith with 14,108 votes, Nishita Desai with 13,134 votes and Bill Grippo with 13,277 votes. 

Grippo comes to the board after working as an administrator in Franklin’s schools for over 40 years, most recently serving as MacAfee Road School principal until his retirement in 2019. During his comments he joked about how long it was taking his fingerprint results to come back, saying “Gee, that’s funny because my fingerprints are on every building in the district.” 

Many of the members looked ahead to the upcoming year in their comments last night, often recognizing the challenges that COVID-19 brought in the previous year, and will continue to bring in 2021. For his part, Smith encouraged residents to take the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available. 

“Take the vaccine,” he said. “Let’s beat this thing so our kids can get back to school.” 

Board member Ed Potosnak noted that last night’s meeting was the first one held at the board’s administrative building and community center on Route 27. He expressed hope that the space will be a boon to the community once residents can gather once again. 

“I believe this will be a real bright spot of our community and a place where folks can gather once again and create a brighter future every day for our children and grandchildren,” he said.

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