New Providence BOE Begins 5-Year Plan Discussion

David Goldstein (left). Credits: M. Ivers

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Board of Education saw the first draft of the district’s five-year strategic plan at its meeting on Thursday and provided glimpses of its content during the board discussion.

Superintendent David Miceli said that the district has held a total of nine meetings to generate ideas for its long-term plan.  At the June BOE meeting Miceli suggested that the board set up an Ad Hoc committee to go thought the community suggestions. The first draft of the strategic plan included some of the suggestions made by the public.

The purpose of the first draft is “to get feedback from the entire board,” Miceli said. The final draft is expected to be discussed at the August meeting.

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Board member Ira Krauss noted that the draft contains “fairly broad goals”.  Adam Smith pointed out that goals related to finance and shared services were missing from the draft. Krauss replied that cost reducing issues, such as shared services, are always part of the planning. “It is an everyday thing, not a long-term goal," he explained.

The draft included the restructuring the district’s Gifted and Talented Program. According to Miceli, the community felt that the program should be “revisited” as “criteria” for structuring and participating in these programs have changed.

Smith also said that he “likes” the “assessments” section of the draft. Miceli explained that the district spent five years creating its own teacher assessments. These “diagnostic tools” are used in addition to the state directed assessments.

Krauss also provided the board with information regarding the district’s meeting with Aetna and Cigna representatives. He explained that their group health care programs are run differently than the district’s current provider -- Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield -- program. School Business Administrator James Testa added that “it was a good first meeting." Testa also said that the programs through Aetna or Cigna “can give us better information” through their apps than Horizon. The health care premiums take up approximately 17 percent of the district’s budget. Krauss said that the district will continue to do more research regarding healthcare plans.

Additionally, Miceli told the board that all district vacancies have been filled. The final appointments were approved at the Thursday meeting. Among the appointees was Language Arts Department Head David Goldstein, who attended the meeting along with James McGreechan, who was appointed to the position of Science Department Head at the board’s previous meeting.

The board’s next regular meeting is on Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m.


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