RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Township Board of Education held a meeting Tuesday evening. The new contract of Superintendent Jennifer Fano was voted on, and other referendum updates were up for discussion.
“Tonight, the Board of Education is pleased to announce that we will be voting this evening on a new five-year contract,” Board President Richard Conti said.
The new contract will replace Fano’s current contract, which had an expiration date of June 30, 2021. The terms of the new contract are retroactive to July 1, 2019, and will end June 30, 2024. Other than a salary adjustment, the only other change that will take place is with regard to her health benefits—a change that will be a savings for the district.
Meredith Gatzke, Director of Employee Relations for Randolph Township Schools, made a presentation to discuss the hiring process for staff members in the district, as well as providing updates on the current staff. Gatzke is expecting 50 new teachers to join the district for the upcoming school year. Approximately 20 of those 50 are leave-replacement. There is a somewhat large number of staff members going on leaves of absence starting this coming August.
“We’re pretty much at 30 new tenure-track staff,” Gatzke mentioned.
Gatzke also mentioned that she does keep track of the years of experience of staff members who leave the district, and her office has began reviewing potential trends, for example staying three years and receiving administrative certification.
Superintendent Fano introduced the new Director of Communications and Digital Media, Matthew Pfouts.
During the committee reports segment of the meeting, Tammy McKay and Gerald Eckert provided most of the updates that pertained to Finance, Facilities, and Transportation (FFT).
McKay noted that transportation routes have been discussed, as the 2019-2020 school year is approaching. “We have a software program that kind of looks at our district as a whole and starts an initial review of what is a walking-route versus what is a bus-route,” Tammy McKay said.
Gerald Eckert discussed some updates as to the construction that is going on throughout the district. The ongoing construction is impacting every school in Randolph, to some extent.
- At Center Grove, the security vestibule is being built, as well as a partial-roof replacement from the original 1930s section of the building and gutter/drainage updates.
- Ironia is undergoing security vestibule updates, while a locker room is being transformed into a storage area.
- Shongum is undergoing security vestibule updates, while the fire alarms are also being replaced. Shongum is the last elementary school to have the fire alarms replaced and updated. The Randolph Middle School will also soon be set with new fire alarms, and Randolph High School is slated to have the fire alarms replaced in the near future.
- Fernbrook is undergoing security vestibule updates and is also having a locker room converted into a classroom.
- The Middle School is undergoing security vestibule updates, as well as renovations to the Culinary Arts room.
- At the High School, the music room renovation is well underway. The next project vying for a bid is the field house. A bid for the construction at the field house can be awarded as soon as September 3, 2019.
Looking forward to early 2020, 14 science rooms will be renovated at the High School, in addition to the Middle School bathrooms.
During the public portion of the meeting, two concerns were brought up:
Eliza Schleifstein gave an update, “For the first time in our history, the State of New Jersey will prosecute one of your own for potential Code of Ethics and Prohibited Act Violations.” Schleifstein emphasized that “We teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and we teach our children to not be afraid to speak up when they believe rules have been broken and to follow the chain of command. That is what I did.”
Christopher Graham expressed his concern with the timing of the announcement that Superintendent Fano’s contract was going to be voted on at the meeting. “It just seems like it’s trying to be pushed through, without any feeling from the public by doing it at the middle-summer when most people are out,” Graham said.
During “Old Business” discussions, Susan DeVito mentioned how much fun the Freedom Parade was, “I don’t know if the kids had more fun throwing the candy toward the crowd, or decorating the bus.” DeVito gave the idea that perhaps a banner can be present at the parade, mentioning what the bus was representing.
At the end of the meeting, Jennifer Fano provided a statement regarding her new contract with the Randolph Township School District. “With the Board’s support our district has witnessed many amazing accomplishments at all levels and by some very talented students we have had the opportunity to guide. My goal is to continue to nurture and support the efforts of every team member so that every student can realize their full potential,” Fano said.