JERSEY CITY, NJ - The Board of Trustees at The Ethical Community Charter School changed course from a previous decision, voting on July 8 to continue negotiations with a popular school principal. Specifically, the body voted 6-1 in favor of a resolution that said that they would “offer Ms. Bergamini an appropriate renewal contract as principal as soon as possible.”
Four members of the Board of Trustees abstained on the vote, the same ones, TAPinto Jersey City has been told, that initially voted to approve the statement announcing Bergamini’s termination, an action that other Board members, staff and parents, said was done under a cloud of secrecy.
In late June the school announced via an online post that Principal Marta Bergamini, in the position for 11 years, would not be returning to the school in September because of an inability to come to terms on her contract.
That initial decision, led by what one parent called a “secret cabal” of Trustees, led to an outcry in support of Bergamini that included an on-line survey conducted by the Family School Association (FSA) which showed overwhelming supported the longtime school leader’s retention as principal.
According to Mike Vago, a parent who has been involved with the school since his older child was part of their second kindergarten class, at least 180 parents were dialed into the meeting which was held via Zoom. An incredible number, he said, considering the student body numbers about 400.
Once the meeting was called to order, Vago relayed, the Trustees immediately went into closed, or private session, leaving those that dialed in out of the discussion. This closed session, he said, lasted approximately three hours.
While a meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for later this month, Vago, for one, is “skeptical” that the issue will be resolved. “We need stability more than anything,” he said, calling the entire episode a “mass disruption.”
“The school has been thrown into chaos,” he said, adding that parents trusted the BOT with the responsibility of making sure that students receive the education they deserve. Instead of “harnessing the enthusiasm” of motivated volunteers, he concluded, some "pushed their own long-standing grudge with principal.”
Steve Lenox also contributed to this story.
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