Education

New Providence Board of Education Extends Superintendent's Contract for Five Years and Welcomes Four New Teachers to District

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The contract of David M. Miceli, New Providence Superintendent of Schools, was extended for five years by the borough's Board of Education on Thursday evening.

Under the first year of the contract, according to board Finance Committee member William Dibble, the Superintendent will receive a 5.8% salary increase with increases in subsequent years of the contract to range from 0 to 8%, based on evaluations.

Receiving one-year contract extensions with salary increases of 2% were Deborah Feinberg, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, and Board Secretary/School Business Administrator James E. Testa.

The board also approved contracts for new teachers Theresa Clothier, at $51,935; Jill Tuazon, at $58,166; Jessica Malangone, at $58,633, and Jennifer Scherer, at $51,821, all effective September 1 of this year. Board members then welcomed each of the new teachers.

School body members also authorized the rehiring of approximately 200 tenured and non-tenured teachers, according to the Superintendent.

Responding to resident Pat Moschetti, Miceli noted that a number of classes with enrollment of less than 10 students were being approved by the board on Thursday. Among those which will be taught with less than 10 students enrolled, he said, are the required courses of English As a Second Language and Special Education.

Classes with less than 10 students that are being combined into a single larger class, he added, include: Intermediate and Advanced Drama, Advanced Photography and Photography I, and Computer Science and Advanced Placement Science.

Moschetti also questioned how the board determined which athletic coaches' positions were to be eliminated because of reductions in this year's school budget.

Miceli responded first or second assistant positions were being done away with, and the determinations were made following evaluations by the Athletic Director and the principals of the effected schools who then passed their recommendations onto the Superintendent before he presented them to the board.

Board President Robert Lucid said he did not know the objective criteria used in making each decision.

The Superintendent offered to meet with Moschetti to discuss whether evaluation forms established by the previous Athletic Director were being used to determine which coaches would not receive new contracts.

Responding to a statement by Moschetti that the girls' softball field at the high school had not been used in four years, in favor of the Allen W. Roberts School Field, Miceli said the Athletic Director and coaches determine which facility each team will use. He said he would clarify the selection procedure in a discussion with the Athletic Director and coaches.

On another matter, Felicia Cheng said the presence of the Board of Education Attorney at Individual Education Plan meetings was "intimidating" to parents of students for whom the plans were being prepared and created an adversarial relationship with parents.

She said the Board Attorney had told her at one of the sessions that if she did not agree with the plan put forth by school authorities she "could find her own attorney."

"I find it outrageous that taxpayer dollars are being spent to pay for an attorney to sit in on these sessions," she said.

Responding to another of her questions, Lucid said during the current year the board pay its attorney $140 per hour.

Testa offered to review with Cheng the overall payment figures for the attorney, but said he probably could not discuss with her figures pertaining to specific students due to confidentiality requirements. He said she was free to file requests under the Open Public Records Act to request specific figures.

In another matter, the school body agreed to join the Subfund of the New Jersey School Boards Association Insurance Group for workers' compensation.

The Business Administrator said the joint fund, to which the New Providence district will be committed for three years, would save the district money over its current carrier.

He added the fund had come in with a figure this year lower than it had in previous years, and since the 1980s the fund had not had to levy an additional assessment on member school districts to make up for a shortage of funds.

The board also approved a new kindergarten through sixth grade report card, developed over two years by members of the faculty and administration.

It also authorized establishment of a full-day pre-school program for the disabled.

The Superintendent said the district about two years ago had abolished a similar program that had been in the district about four years because there were not enough students in the borough requiring the program. Now, he added, the number of students needing the program justified its reinstitution.

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