RANDOLPH, NJ- Presentations by the RHS administration and a summary of the annual audit occurred at the last Board of Education meeting.
First, Board President Ron Conti issued a statement of apology to Randolph resident Eliza Schleifstein. Conti said, “I want to make a statement regarding the five emails regarding Eliza Schleifstein as a Board of Ed. candidate that were sent only to me, and not to the full board prior to the candidate interviews. Upon search for the 5 emails, which were brought to my attention after the Board filled the vacancy, I found that two of them were not received by my RTNJ email account for reasons that we still do not know, one was blocked by Gmail, one was inadvertently overlooked in my inbox and was one later found in my spam folder. While not bound by law or policy to forward emails to the full board, my personal opinion is that I should have forwarded them. My action in not forwarding the emails, which I just identified but did not actually see until after the Board filled the vacancy was certainly not intentional. Had I seen them I certainly would have forwarded them to the full board. Regardless, I take full responsibility for not forwarding the emails. I apologize to Ms. Schleifstein and to the community members that sent the emails.”
Following that statement, the District auditor Mark Wilson, from Nisivoccia LLP presented the results of the 2019 audit. The audit conducted on an annual basis. Wilson said, “The District is in good financial shape,” adding “the District is as healthy as the state will permit.”
Randolph High School Principal Debbie Iosso and Vice Principal Michael Sorge gave a presentation on absenteeism, prevention of vaping, and student conduct violations (in-school/out-of-school suspensions). Through the first marking period, 371 high school students have perfect attendance this school year. It is also important to note that the SSDS reports (Student Safety Data System) has been changed for the 2019-2020 school year. The updated form is designed to track conduct violations as they relate to in-school and out-of-school suspensions.
Going forward, the Randolph High School administration is looking into purchasing vape detectors, as well as programs to educate students about the dangers of vaping. BOE Vice President Joe Faranetta said, “We’re going to have to be really diligent about measuring the success of each of the attempts we make to solve the problem [vaping].”
With regard to communications, the key topic of discussion was if it was a worth-while option to video-record or stream the BOE meetings. Susan DeVito provided her opinion as to if the recordings should be edited before being shared to the community, “In my opinion, it shouldn’t be edited; there could potentially be accidental slants in one way or another.”
One concern was that if the meetings were recorded, would attendance by the community go down? It is of note that the average attendance of audience members is below 10 people over the recent months. DeVito stated that it is important to get the information out to the public.
The next concern is that if Finance, Facilities and Transportation facts, for instance were shared, the community is looking at an out-of-context set of information. Some members of the community feel that FFT, Communications, Education meetings should also be streamed to give the BOE meeting information more context. It is important to note that Faranetta shared that the Communications Committee will be open to the public, starting on November 19th at 6:00pm in the RHS library. This appears to be a step in the right direction as far as transparency is concerned.
Anne Standridge provided updates from the Education Committee, “There were a number of new course proposals,” some of which pertain to Algebra I and the structure of those classes.
FFT information was provided by Tammy MacKay, who mentioned that the field house at Bauer Stadium is slated to be demolished within the next couple of weeks. A bid for blasting of the rock by the field house is expected to be awarded in December, paving the way for construction of a new field house.
Some members of the public provided statements to the BOE, which some are noted below:
Darcy Schleifstein, an RHS student, mentioned that if the public can watch real-time videos from Senate meetings, that the Randolph community should be able to do the same with BOE meetings.
Sheldon Epstein, a Randolph resident, stated that if Randolph is going to invest in vape detectors, that protocols should be in place to protect against tampering of the technology by students and/or staff members.
Anne Standridge made one last update before the meeting had ended about her resignation, stating “Contrary to members of the public who made it their business to question where I live, I do still live in Randolph.” This is one of the requirements of being a BOE member.
Standridge said, “I expect that Tuesday, November 19th, will be my last Board meeting.”
Members of the BOE expressed their gratitude to Mrs. Standridge for her contributions to Randolph, and specifically the Board of Education.