SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Board of Education will meet on Monday, July 22 in the auditorium at Mohawk Avenue School.

The summer board of education meetings are usually held at the Sparta High School media center where there is air conditioning but not this month according to Business Administrator Pam Hinman on Thursday.

The board of education agenda is notable for what is missing. Monday’s meeting does not include an announcement of the district’s New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum or QSAC placement.  According to the QSAC placement letter sent to Sparta Superintendent Michael Rossi on June 27, 2019, “Please be advised that NJQSAC regulations require your board of education to report these placement results at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.”

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That letter is signed by Robert Bumpus, then Assistant Commissioner, Division of Field Services at New Jersey Department of Education.

The letter states the district did not receive enough points in the review of Instruction and Program to pass.  QSAC requires 80 of 100 points in each category for the district to be deemed “High Performing.”

Sparta only received 59 points for Instruction and Program.  According to the same letter, “NJQSAC regulations require you to complete a district improvement plan or DIP to address all noncompliant indicators.”

There is no DIP on the July 22 meeting agenda either.  Bumpus’s letter said, “The deadline for submission of the board-approved DIP is August 12, 2019.”

In an interview, Rossi told TAPinto Sparta he did not agree with the score Sparta received. He said he planned to contest the results and attend the next New Jersey State Board of Education meeting in Trenton.

Every three years New Jersey School districts must undergo a QSAC review that takes a close look at Instruction and Program, Finance, Operations, Personnel and Governance. QSAC is the mechanism for the New Jersey Department of Education to ensure school districts are compliant with the standards, statutes and mandates required by the state. It is used to ensure all New Jersey students receive a Thorough and Efficient Education, meeting academic achievement and growth levels with adequate graduation rates. 

“It is a single comprehensive accountability system that consolidates and incorporates the monitoring requirements of applicable state laws and programs and complements federally required improvements,” New Jersey Department of Education spokesman Michael Yaple said. “Districts do not prepare new reports or implement new processes for the NJQSAC process.”

Other items on the agenda:

  • Jamie Barker is listed for appointment to the position of vice principal at Sparta High School.  Barker was previously an English teacher in Sparta.  Last year she left Sparta to become the vice principal at Butler High School.  Former Sparta Assistant Superintendent and high school principal Dan Johnson is currently the superintendent in Butler. Barker will fill the position vacated by Rory Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald resigned from Sparta High School to become the Butler High School Principal July 1.
  • If approved, Sparta High School will have two new clubs; Mock Trial and Gymnastics.  Celia Brennan is listed at the volunteer advisor for Mock Trail and Suzanne Smith as volunteer advisor for Gymnastics Club.
  • The Food Services Contract awarded to Sodexo in May 2019 for the 2019-2020 school year is on the agenda to be rescinded.  Mashio’s Food Service is also on the agenda to be approved as the district’s food service management.
  • Resolution FIN 05-20 calls for the district to pay the Sparta Independent $5000 to publish 10 monthly articles. The Sparta school district has had a free column available for their use on TAPinto Sparta called Sparta School District Spotlight since June 26, 2015.  Rossi had his monthly “Superintendent’s Corner” video published in that free column.  The last one was March 16, 2019.

The July 22, 2019 meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Mohawk Avenue School.