RANDOLPH, NJ- On Tuesday Aug. 20, the Randolph Board of Education met to discuss many topics, highlighted by an amending of the 2019-2020 the Community School rates.

At the FFT meeting a week earlier, over 30 concerned residents attended to protest the dramatic rate increase in the Community School Before and After Care programs.  Eleven residents spoke at the public portion, imploring the BOE to reconsider the increase, while outlining the dramatic financial impact it would have on many of the families who use the service.

The increased rates for the Community School programs were largely driven by increases in both staffing costs ( partly due to the rapid increase in the minimum wage ) and food expenses, as well as additional activities and programs being added to create a more “Camp” type atmosphere.

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The projected 2019-2020 rate increases ranged from 14.4% to as much as 35.8% depending on the program and the number of children enrolled.  Some of the outcry surrounded the timing of the increase, which was made public in mid-summer, allowing little to no time for anyone to make alternate arrangements.  

The Board members then held some lively discussion among themselves and engaged in a few more questions and answers with the public.  They acknowledged that the concerns they heard were numerous and valid, and even though the timeframe was tight they committed to re-evaluate the increases before their Aug. 20 meeting which was just one week later.

At the meeting on Tuesday Aug. 20, a motion was made to rescind the rates discussed a week earlier, and implement new rates.  The BOE heard and responded to the public by instituting multiple changes to provide relief.  The “amended” rates reduced the rate increase by 50%, provided a discount to families enrolling multiple children, and offered a further discount to families using both Before and After Care. Click Here for Further Details on Community School Rates 

Going forward, some potential considerations around the program were discussed, such as earlier rate development, having an advisory board for the programs, a more in-depth look into the expenses, programs for adults, as well as enhanced enrichment programs.

Harry Ruiz, Randolph Schools’ Security Supervisor, followed up the Community School portion with a presentation of security and safety updates.

In the schools, a mix of ALICE protocols, phone PA system, safety drills, security cameras, hardware / re-keying, secured vestibules, as well as event planning are part of a continued commitment to safety in the Randolph School District.

The meeting switched gears over to committee reports where the following items were discussed:

Communications Committee: Ronald Conti, Board of Education President, mentioned that the Communications Committee has been making updates to the Randolph Township Schools website. Matthew Pfouts, the Director of Communications and Digital Media in Randolph Township Schools, mentioned a content map for the website, to ensure that academics, athletics, arts, and activities are receiving equal coverage on the website.

FFT Committee: Tammy McKay addressed the Community School briefly, which had been discussed at the prior FFT meeting. Also, looking ahead, naming rights for the new field house at John J. Bauer Field are due to be discussed next month. With regard to side cameras on the busses, 19 busses are expected to have the equipment installed by the start of the 2019-2020 school year, with all of the busses having had the cameras installed by the middle of October.

Randolph BOE Vice President Joe Faranetta added that he was at a presentation that dealt with blasting of stone, in order to construct the new field house at the football stadium. “It’s an extremely scientifically-controlled blast,” Faranetta noted.

Superintendent Jennifer Fano also noted that notifications will be sent out about 30 days prior to the initial blasting to surrounding neighbors. Fano mentioned, “We expect the initial blasting to happen when no one is on-campus.” The first blast will take place over Columbus Weekend. “We are to the point today, where our current field house, which is 50 years-old, is officially shut down as of today [August 19, 2019],” Superintendent Fano said.

There has been discussion of potential time-lapse videos being available of the blast(s) and/or the construction of the new field house.

With confirmation from Tammy McKay, Fano mentioned that there were 4,605 applicants for positions in the Randolph Township School District for the upcoming school year, and orientation for new employees is underway.