Education

Millburn Board of Education Approves $232,000 for Hurricane Sandy Repairs

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Dan Brundage, the district’s anti-bullying coordinator, briefs the board on efforts to comply with the state’s harassment, intimidation and bullying policy.    
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MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Board of Education Monday night approved nearly $232,000 in contracts to repair and replace roof sections at schools damaged during Hurricane Sandy two weeks ago.

The contracts for work at the high school and South Mountain Elementary School were awarded to MK Lyons, the contractor who has done work on the high school.

“These trying times truly tested our resiliency,” board president Michael Birnberg said of the recent storm. “Fortunately, property damage was minimal. It’s important that we remain focused on our students.” 

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The board’s business administrator, Steve Di Geronimo, noted that some of the more critical roof repairs have already been done.

A 2,800-square-foot section of roof at the high school has been repaired at a cost of approximately $68,000. An additional 7,200-square-foot section there still requires repair at a cost of approximately $158,000.

Four sections of roof at South Mountain Elementary School have already been repaired at a cost of approximately $4,660.

Di Geronimo said the contracts will be paid from the district’s operating fund, and the district is hoping to recoup some of the cost from its insurance and from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

Superintendent James Crisfield praised the work of many community members in getting the schools back up and running, including the director of buildings and grounds and the busing coordinator. He also said he had been in close contact with the police and fire chiefs and the township’s business administrator.

“We are considering make-up options,” he reported. “We’re opening our doors to students displaced by the storm, and there are several.”

“This crisis certainly has brought out the best in everyone concerned,” Birnberg noted.

In other business, the board heard a presentation from Dan Brundage, assistant principal at the middle school and the district’s anti-bullying coordinator. He said that reported incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying were up from last year, but that many of those instances had later been found to be disciplinary problems. A number of cases were repeat offenders.

Brundage said starting in December he will conduct a school climate survey in which he will poll students, staff and parents.

“Hopefully, this will give us a sense of where we need to go with the program,” he said.

He noted that each school has been conducting anti-bullying awareness activities.

Board member Lise Chapman suggested that Brundage create a simple guide for parents on how to handle harassment or bullying problems.

Also at the session, the board approved a teacher evaluation system for the district. The Kim Marshall Model will require more frequent and unannounced visits to classrooms.

The board also approved a gift from the Glenwood Parent-Teacher Organization in the amount of $12,000 for the purchase of a new riser system.

Birnberg congratulated Rupali Wadhwa and Raymond Wong, who were elected earlier this month to seats on the board. Their inauguration will take place in January.

Board members also approved the purchase of a student accident policy at a cost of $22,850. The policy, arranged through Bollinger, Inc., will provide coverage for all students while under the care or supervision of the board and is an endorsement to the existing athletic accident insurance coverage.

Following some discussion, the board approved changes to policies regarding private tutoring and use of school facilities, as well as a set of revised bylaws.

Several members asked about the implementation of the Rosetta Stone language program at the elementary schools. Christine Burton, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, assured board members that computer problems have been resolved and the program is fully operational.

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