BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. — Superintendent of Schools Melissa Varley recommended the Board of Education approve Scenario 4 during Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Education. At the time she made her recommendation there were more than 200 people on the call.
Later in the evening the Board of Education voted 4-2 to approve Universal Full Day Kindergarten (FDK), which only works if there is redistricting. Board members Robert Cianciulli and Joy Young voted 'No," while Board President Doug Reinstein, and members Angela Penna, Michael D'Aquila and Chris Reilly voted "Yes.' Helen Kirsch was not present.
The superintendent kept her promise that she would support whichever scenario was supported by 55% of those who responded to a survey, which asked if they wanted Scenario 4 or Scenario 4. A total of 63.9 percent of families who returned their surveys supported Scenario 4. The respondents made up 442 of the 751 families eligible to participate, a 59% participation rate. The slides above provide more information on the breakdown of the votes by all the families, staff and schools.
Scenario 4 will create two-K-2 schools at Mary Kay McMillin and Woodruff. It will also create two 3-5 schools, Mountain Park and Hughes Schools. Redistricting will start in September.
In addition, based on parent feedback, Dr. Varley recommended students in third and fourth grades at Hughes who live on or off Plainfield Avenue continue to attend Hughes.
The district will offer subscription busing for the 2021-'22 school year to any student who doesn't qualify for state-mandated busing. The district will offer a one-year subsidy for only K-5 students to ease the transition. The board will review the subsidy at the end of the first year.
There will be a transportation and traffic study which will be completed by May 31. As part of that the police department will review walking routes, crossing guards, routes and other considerations.
Before taking any action on her recommendation, the Citizen's Hearing was opened to residents to comment on agenda items. By that time, more than 300 people were on the call. Comments from the public went on for about two hours.
Check back later for more information on the meeting.