LITTLE FALLS, NJ - The Passaic Valley Board of Education is currently allocating funds received from the sales transaction of a land parcel to ShopRite of Little Falls, which was finalized last August.

An ad hoc committee was set up at the time to explore different ways to use the $700,000 received from the sale of the land, located in the high school's back property, for school improvements. The sale amount was agreed upon between the board and the store in 2014.

At its meeting on May 23, board members discussed the options for using the funds. According to Colin Monahan, business administrator and board secretary, $150,000 is being used for technology infrastructure, which was approved by the county on April 1.

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"We earmarked this amount for the technology piece, which will also help with the 'Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)' initiative," Monahan told board members. "We are starting the pilot program next year."

Through the BYOD initiative, students are given an opportunity to use their mobile devices, such as phones, tablets, or laptops in class. Many districts throughout the state have already joined the state backed initiative.

Dr. JoAnn Cardillo, superintendent added the high school would be earning points through the initiative by obtaining requirements to be a "Future Ready School," part of an overall state initiative. The board also plans to create a technology committee, which will be comprised of board members, administrators and teachers.

Monahan also added that $124,000 from the land sale is being designated for a science lab and locker room/shower ventilation system and $30,000 is allocated for security door locks. Alaimo Group, the architectural firm used by the high school, will submit a report of the ventilation upgrades for the next board meeting, he said.

"These line items of the budget have county approval to be used after July 1," he noted.

Monahan added that the running track is being planned for upgrades pending an open space grant approval being sought through the Township of Little Falls. The board approved the town's submission of a Passaic County Open Space and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund grant plan for reconstruction of the track, which was approved by the town at its March 13 council meeting.

Planned renovations to the track, which is over a decade old, entail cleaning, resurfacing and repairs.

Education Committee Report

Board member Jaclyn Luker, education committee chair, reported that the high school is looking to offer a digital journalism class scheduled for 2018-2019 school year. 

"It will be replacing the traditional journalism class and it's going to be written over the summer," Luker explained. "It will have more rigor to it, including an online piece, which the current class does not have. It will be implemented in the following school year."

Luker also discussed filling a reading intervention teacher position.

"We're looking to have that position filled for the following school year, as well," she said, adding that the board is currently going through the process of trying to figure out who that person might be and the specifics of the position.

"We're still deciding whether there will be a full-time position or two part-time positions for the reading intervention teacher position," she noted.

New High School Librarian

The high school hired a new librarian, Leanne Weiss, who will begin on Sept. 1. Weiss spoke to board members during the meeting and thanked them.

"Dr. Cardillo and I have been discussing our vision and our ideas for improving the library program here," Weiss said. "I'm really excited for the opportunity. I've got a lot of great ideas. I look forward to serving our students and staff and working with you all for the upcoming school year."

Students of the Month

Students of the Month for the month of May in the area of physical education were honored at the recent board meeting. They are Jehan Abayhan, Julia Custodio-Ortiz, Antwan Rogers and Luke Geleta.

At the April 23 board meeting, students of the month were honored in the field of business and technology. They are Ryan Peransi, Alex Volgyesi, Joshua DeJesus, Andrew Bove and Luciana Forte.