RANDOLPH, NJ - Board Members heard an update from the Policy committee during Tuesday’s meeting, explaining the committee chose to alternate open and closed sessions, hoping to provide more freedom when discussing policies.

“This way we’ll still be transparent, still get the public input, but it also allows us to discuss,” said policy chair Ron Conti.

“If you recall, there was a best practices conference that a couple of us went to,” added board president Al Matos, “and this was one of the items that we took away from there, that not everything had to be open. Allow board members to meet in closed, and let board members also feel free to speak up when they don’t feel free to speak up if it’s open.”

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Conti reported the other topics discussed by the committee, such as funding and financial aid for field trips, special education policies and correcting any “out of sync” regulations.

Since Thursday was the first closed session of the policy committee, one resident commented that she was present to attend the meeting, but was not informed about the change.

“I came to attend the policy meeting that met at 6pm. It was on the website, but there was no information that it was a closed meeting,” said resident Judith Stewart. Instead, she attended the band concert. “Tonight you missed, because you… were in closed session, a delightful band concert.… It was absolutely stupendous.”

During approval of the new policies, board member Sheldon Epstein commented that his concerns about the co-curricular activities policy have not been addressed.

The board chose to approve the policy in question as-is with a plan to revise at a later date. However, Epstein voted “no” on this particular policy.

“I would like to ask what plan the administration has in place… to ensure that co-curriculars shall be available to all students who voluntarily elect to participate,” he said. “There are co-curricular activities that are not available to all students who would choose to elect in them. There are size limitations and therefore a selection criteria involved.”

He specifically referenced Jazz Band Ensemble which has size and instructional limitations. While he agrees these limitations are necessary, the policy states any students can elect to participate.

Board member Anne Standridge mentioned the policy does state eligibility standards must be met for participation.

“Generally speaking, that would be true except the policy also states the eligibility requirements, and they relate only to wanting to do it and having a good attendance record,” he responded.

“I see your point, but at some point, we only have so many seats available in everything that we offer, including courses” explained Superintendent Jenn Fano. “At some point, some students don’t have the option to take every course that we offer.”