Randolph, NJ—The Board of Education introduced the district’s new teachers for the 2014-2015 school year, in addition to honoring the Randolph High School men’s swim team, basketball player Aliyah Huland El and wrestler A.J. Vindici on Tuesday night May 20.
“One of my favorite things I get to do as a superintendent is honor students,” Dr. David Browne said as he introduced the recognized athletes. “These are people who represent themselves, their families, this school district, and young people in general, admirably every day they are in school. And that never goes unnoticed. It will never be underappreciated.”
The meeting opened with the honoring of the men’s swim team, who went 10-1 this season and were the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference championships for the second year in a row. Aliyah Huland El, who will play basketball at The University of Virginia in the fall on a full scholarship, led the state in scoring this year with 810 points and was also honored by the board.
Huland El is credited with holding one of Dr. Browne’s favorite memories. “I was at the game when this lady broke the county record for most points scored in a career men or women,” Browne said. “And the first thing she did… she hugged every one of her teammates. It is one of my favorite moments in my 32 years of public education”
The board also honored A.J. Vindici, a junior all-county wrestler who earned his 100th win this season. Jennifer Fano, assistant superintendent, along with Dr. Browne also later recognized the district’s new staff for the 2014-2015 school year.
After the honoring of athletes and teachers, Randolph High School’s field trip and homework policy was brought into public discussion. Jeff Braverman, president of the Visual and Performing Arts Council discussed the nature of students’, specifically musical students’, workload after missing class due to field trips. Braverman used the recent weekend band trip as evidence of the inconsistent nature regarding makeup work from their teachers.
“I’ve seen this as an ongoing problem for years,” Braverman said, “The kids are not being given consistently the time to do their work and make up [work] for their teachers. Some allow it some don’t. It is very inconsistent and a major problem.” Although not a policy set forth by the board, Dr. Browne noted that the concern would be shared with the high school administration.
Board member, Anne Standridge, then opened a discussion concerning the district’s collecting of usage and custodial fees for all of Randolph’s facilities. In the 2011-2012 school year, the district reportedly collected a total of 29,000 dollars for facility usage and custodial work. Upon the hiring of a new staff, who are responsible for the collecting of these fees, the district collected a total of 70,000 dollars in the 2012-2013 school year, Dr. Browne said.
Standridge questioned the makeup of those funds. “I think that number of 70,000 dollars is somewhat inflated because I don’t think that it’s all going to the facilities.” The board ultimately closed the discrepancy between the collected money and confirmed the district’s policy on the collection of custodial and usage fees for recreational facilities.
It was announced that now former Business Administrator, Michael Neves' resignation was accepted on Monday, May 19 after several years in his position. No further information was supplied at this time. Sitting in Neves place was Linda Gordon, Business Manager for the district.
Also summarized was Board President Tammy Mackay's statement regarding paraprofessional staff. Mackay supplied the following statement earlier in the week:
"Over the past few weeks, the Board of Education has become aware that the district’s paraprofessional staff is concerned about whether their 2014-15 work hours will be reduced in order to help defray the Board’s escalating health insurance costs. The Board of Education wishes to address this issue and inform all paraprofessionals that the Board has decided not to reduce their work hours for the next school year, thus keeping their health benefits intact. While unforeseen circumstances could alter this path in the future, our 2014-15 budget funds the paraprofessionals at their current levels. However, as new staff is hired next year, the Board may seek to employ a blending of part-time and full-time paraprofessional staff depending on the District’s educational and fiscal needs. Of course we will closely monitor the impact of such action on the students, classrooms and staff."
The meeting adjourned with a vote on a few agenda items, and a subsequent board-member only session.