NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Courtney Mallon, representing the New Providence Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG), requested that the Board of Education (BOE) name a liaison for the group at the Thursday, Jan. 23 BOE meeting.

“We would like to establish a relationship line with the Board of Education,” Mallon said.  She noted that the SEPAG is a parent run group although Dr. Joseph Harvey, the district’s special education director, attends some of the meetings. She asked for a liaison so that the group would be able to ask questions, if such arise, independently. She noted that other local SEPAG groups have established liaisons with their respective boards.

The request was met with mixed reactions among the board members. Board member Ira Krauss was against the idea as it does not fit in the board members’ job description. On the other hand, board member Rebecca Coniglio did not see a problem for such a representation and even volunteered to act as a liaison pending board approval.

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Board President Bernadette Cuccaro noted that the board does not have liaisons for other special groups as all questions concerning education should be directed to Superintendent David Miceli. Board Member Adam Smith agreed and noted that the board has liaisons on the Municipal Alliance and the Education Foundation, which are more communitywide organizations, not special interest groups. Smith pointed out that Harvey reports directly to the superintendent.

Cuccaro pointed out that the group is welcome to reach out to any of the board members for questions, however, they, in turn, would have to forward all questions regarding education back to the superintendent.

The New Providence SEPAG was formed this past summer and its mission statement reads:

The New Providence SEPAG is a parent-led group that facilitates open, transparent collaboration among New Providence families, school district and community to promote inclusion, understanding of, respect for and support of all differently abled children. SEPAG hosts monthly meetings, where parents have the opportunity to provide input on special education issues, as well as workshops and information-gathering opportunities for parents.”

With regard to other news Relay for Life has requested to hold their annual event at the New Providence High School on June 13. The Borough Council has already approved that the lights may stay on until 1 a.m. at Lieder Field that night. Normally, the lights go off at 10 p.m. Smith cautioned that such an event should not become “a regular habit” in the borough as it may negatively impact the residential neighborhood near the field. He pointed out that Relay for Life is “a good organization,” and the event should go on as planned this year. He suggested that the neighbors be notified about the event.