PLAINFIELD, NJ - Tuesday evening's Plainfield Board of Education business meeting included the appointment of Ronald E. Bolandi as Interim Superintendent of Schools.

Prior to the vote, Dr. Caryn Cooper presented certificates of recognition to coach William Dodd who was named Union County Wrestling Coach of the Year, and to Greg McCray on his 200th win as coach of the boys basketball team at Hubbard Middle School. 

A proclamation was also read to recognize the life of Franklin Truman McMickens who had been a Linden police detective, and father of former BOE member David Rutherford.

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Then Andrew Conte, Senior Associate at Gabel Associates, presented evaluation results on a solar project that would install panels on the roofs of Plainfield High School, Cedarbrook Elementary School, Emerson Community School, Jefferson Elementary School/PAAAS, Washington Community School, and both Maxson and Hubbard Middle Schools.

Conte said with due diligence in permit and design, construction could start late summer, and it would generally take 365 days to complete the project. The option under consideration offers educational experiences for students and teachers, and there will be access to raw data.  He said other schools have used the data in STEM programming.   Read Morepdf

After Conte's presentation, the vote to install Bolandi was taken, with Wyatt, Pile, Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, and Dr. Richardson-Miller voting yes, and Johson and Cox abstaining.

Bolandi then took a seat at the dais, and remarked, "as I said in the open public forum, I'm going to hit the ground running.  Tomorrow morning I'll be at work as your Superintendent.  I'm not going to look at myself as being retired, I'm not going to look at myself as being Interim.  When I walk in that door tomorrow, I'll be your regular Superintendent."

He added, to a round of applause, "I'm only here for one reason. And only one reason.  And that's to make this place better for our kids."

Board Counsel Philip Stern explained, "we are not yet finished with our work with the county with regard to Dr. Cooper as the Acting Assistant Superintendent, so the county has given us the thumbs up to modify the resolution regarding the Interim Superintendent's recommendation regarding Dr. Cooper." 

Stern then read that the Interim Superintendent recommends the appointment of Cooper as Administrator on Special Assignment.  When the vote was taken, all of the members voted yes.


Terri Slaughter-Cabbell had plenty of questions, including why Cooper isn't returning to her Principal job at Cook Elementary.

Bolandi said once the BOE has something on the agenda that is then approved, it immediately goes into effect.  So once he was approved as Interim, he could make a recommendation.


Parent Sam Cooper wanted to know if there have been any new applications made by charter schools, to which the answer was no.  She also stated her concern with communication, and wanted to know what the procedure is to get items posted on the website.

Dovetailing off of comments made by Cooper, Jeanine Branch, a PAAAS parent, reiterated worries about adding a 6th grade at the school.  She asked the Board if they are aware that classes are held in the cafeteria because there isn't enough room, that teachers share classrooms, that lines are so long for lunch that there isn't enough time for students to eat, and that there are no gym lockers so students have to change in bathrooms.

Dr. Cooper said that the intention behind adding a 6th grade was to keep students in the district, that right now students stay through 5th grade, and leave for 6th grade.  She added, "1800 will be available for PAAAS and other schools in the district," and that the TV production and graphic design equipment is still on the table.

The Board will next meet for a Work & Study session Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. at Plainfield High School.