RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Board of Education meeting on Tuesday July 18 had two topics up for discussion that were of strong interest to the public, one being recent departures in the District Music Department, and the second being the appointment of the 2017 football coach.
Board President Al Matos opened the meeting with a statement addressing the legality of how staff and board members are allowed to respond to inquiries on specific employees. Matos mentioned that numerous parents had contacted him and other board members in regard to these two topics.
“The Randolph School District is a high performing school district with state and nationally ranked activities and successes. It excels in academics, performing arts and athletics. This is no accident but rather the hard work of our administrators, teachers and staff executing on the boards strategy of providing the Whole Students with opportunities to excel in areas they have a passion or want to test and give our students real life-lesson experiences. Our various clubs, athletics and performing arts give our students a competitive edge over and beyond the excellent academics which goes well beyond the state’s requirements given the depth and optionality of our courses and curriculum offered.
Recently, members of the public contacted me and others on this board with concerns on music teachers and coaches resigning to seek other opportunities. Our district is an employer of over 700 employees most under a bargaining unit agreement. These contracts between the Randolph School District and the specific union the employee belongs to, governs many things the two parties have legally committed to do such as salary, hours of work, stipends for club advisors and coaches, health benefits and much more. These contracts are typically a 3-year term and are renegotiated to execute a new contract. One is currently under renegotiation with the REA union. Employers and Employees are also governed by a whole host of laws. One such law prevents administrators or board members to publicly discuss employee personal issues.
So, when I receive a contact asking why two music teachers are leaving, I or any BoE member or administrator cannot and will not provide an answer. And that is assuming we even have an answer since the resigning employee is under no legal covenant to disclose a reason for departure. In July, it is typical for a large number of resignation to occur. This is driven by the REA-District bargaining unit agreement which requires Employees to provide at least 60 days’ notice before leaving their job. July resignations is the latest if one is starting another job elsewhere in September, the start of a new school year. As a management function, we do invite departing staff to an exit interview but again what is said in the session is private and confidential and is not a requirement for a departing staff member to accept and attend an exit interview. The only person that can disclose a reason for departing is the employee if they choose to disclose.
Another issue came to me was the resignation of the head football coach. Recall that we had worked hard to keep this coach here earlier. Our efforts were successful until we learned that he had taken another coaching position at another high school. I, as many of you, were disappointed that coach had decided to not meet his commitment to stay. We had large support for the program and coach, as we do for many of our outstanding programs and sadden that while we were making much progress, we were surprised by this turn of events.
However, our superintendent, Ms. Fano and her administrative staff have been working diligently to ensure both our music and football programs as well as the other resignations that have occurred, are fully staffed. Several motions today will be heard and if approved by this body, football is in great hands, and several teachers are hired to continue the excellent work in music and others.
Turnover is a reality of the workplace but with good processes in place and caring and professional staff encircling the voids left behind, we, your elected school officials are committed to ensure that the Randolph School district remains in the top 20 in NJ and continue to provide our students the “whole student” experience and opportunities so they can excel in adulthood.”