SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The third and final hearing on the budget was presented by Superintendent Michael Davino. Overall, the proposed budget called for an increase of 1.89 percent. The total budget amount is $42,067,375.
School budgets are capped by law at a 2 percent increase. Most of the increase is driven by personnel costs including salary increases and healthcare. Three capital projects were mentioned. They include a classroom being retrofitted for culinary arts, the High School auditorium is to be upgraded for sound and lighting, and the balcony will be repaired to help accommodate more seating. At the Middle School the Woodshop will be updated as a robotics laboratory. Middle students will have exposure to advanced robotics activities before heading to the high school.
The school population growth in the baseline year of 1997-1998 had a population of 1,678. The 2016-2017 year has 2,236 students in the district's five schools. The district is instituting a new advance placement (AP) course named 'Computer Science Principles'. The superintendent reminded the audience that all students are encouraged to take AP classes. There is no entrance requirement. He stated, “You just have be willing to put the time in. We honor those students that push themselves to a higher level of rigor.”
Mr. Davino discussed the PARCC scores. He said, "...two years of scores don’t tell us everything. In July, we will have three years worth of numbers to analyze."
The Superintendent’s report included many students to congratulate. Jonathan Dayton junior Scott Maran has been entered into the 2018 National Merit Scholar program. This gives him the opportunity to be selected as a finalist. The Arts Department had much to celebrate. The High School fall drama production of "The Nerd" received two Foxy nominations at Montclair State University’s Theater Night Awards ceremony. Sophomore Harrison Reiher was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Comedy. Sophomore Gabriela Zambrano-Ortegon was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy. JDHS student Xiaoyu “Rain” Liu was selected to represent Union County at the New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival at Ocean County Community College in June. Four additional students were chosen to have their art work travel with the Union County Teen Arts touring exhibit.
School Board member Marc Miller asked the superintendent if the art works would be on display. He said he would make that happen on the website or in a public location.
At the end of the meeting Jannett Pacheco was asked to approach the Board. She has just been named Director of Human Resources and Professional Development. A new Director of Technology was named.