SUMMIT, NJ - A tentative agreement has been reached between the Summit Public School District and the Summit Education Association (SEA) on a new contract. In announcing the pact at the Summit Board of Education’s June meeting, Summit Board of Education President Richard Hanley noted "While there is a final phase of work to be done, as both sides work through details of the salary guide, we are hoping that work can be done and ratification by the SEA membership can occur in the very near term. While we are still not in position to release details, answer questions or begin to discuss the multiple benefits that may accrue to the district and our students over the next three years, we did want the public to be notified and aware of the significant progress made."

The Board of Education also voted to void its current contract, set to expire on June 30, 2018, with Superintendent of Schools June Chang, and then immediately thereafter approved a new contract with Chang, to extend from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020, as reviewed and approved by the Union County executive superintendent of schools.

Chang's new deal will include a 19% raise in pay -- from $165,000 to $196,584. New state regulations, as articulated by Hanley to TAPinto Summit after the Board’s May reorganization meeting, have raised Superintendent salary caps across New Jersey and Chang was contractually due to move to the old cap on July 1, 2017 for the final year of his existing contract. 

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Hanley had also previously said that the Board planned on discussing the length of the contract in existence at that time -- and the financial terms -- in light of the change to the law and how it would be impacted by the competitive environment.

On another matter, the Board president announced that Peggy Wong was being appointed by Mayor Nora Radest to the school body to replace Debbie Chang, who is moving out of the state. He added that Wong is expected to be sworn in at the education body’s July 20 session.

Wong is the Senior Director, Quantitative Science Therapeutic Area Leader -- Cardiovascular and Metabolism, at Janssen: Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Prior to that, she was a Director at Merck Research Laboratories for 23 years. She has a BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a MS from Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a PhD in Epidemiology with Quantitative Sciences from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Also at its June session, the Board of Education honored a number of retirees, as well as District teachers who last month were named Union County Educators of the Year, and also several community organizations for their support of the Summit Public Schools and the community at large.

Board Vice President Debra McCann then presented a special resolution in honor of Summit Police Detective Matthew Tarentino, who lost his life in an automobile accident May 30, for his contribution to a countless number of organizations and projects in the Summit Public Schools.

Another seasonal event in the Hilltop City’s schools -- presentation of grants from the Summit Educational Foundation (SEF) -- continued with the Foundation’s announcement of $186,279 in grants for the spring of 2017.

Among the grants announced were:

  • $7,250 for a district Physical Education Partnership Plan whereby Michael Hodges, director of the Physical Education K-12 Certification Program at William Paterson University, will provide 14 days of professional development to the HIlltop City schools’ physical education program and the university will provide two student teachers per semester to support instruction for the Summit public school staff during class time.
  • $15,074 for 24 node chairs for a fifth grade classroom at Washington School.
  • $9,173 for 24 interchange Diamond Desks/Chairs that feature a unique shape and enable teachers and students to form collaborative pods in the Brayton fifth grade.
  • $8,309 for the fourth grade at Franklin School for 20 standing desks/stools to be shared across all fourth grade classrooms based on the concept that “movement supports learning.”
  • $4,725 for books for the “Battle of the Books” reading motivation program in the fourth and fifth grades in all elementary schools.
  • $7,250 for “Play and Write with Story Pirates,” which will enable Franklin School second graders to participate in in-class writing workshops, concluding with an assembly featuring a play using students’ stories.
  • $22,067 for the purchase of flexible desks/chairs/tables to support a 21st century collaborative learning environment in the middle school.
  • $11,757 for continuation of the Peer Leadership Program for 11th and 12th graders at the high school to allow up to 40 juniors and seniors to serve as peer leader and role models for elementary, middle and high school students across the district.

Amy D’Andrea, Foundation grants chairwoman, noted that the SEF also had presented $449,616 in grants last fall, for a total of $635,895 for the 2016-17 school year.

On other topics, Hanley announced that the Board’s July 20 session would feature the finalization of the Board’s new goals and a presentation by Alison Grill, college specialist at the high school, on statistics about achievements and college placements for the 2017 graduating class.

He also said the Board's first live broadcast of its meetings is due to begin with the first meeting of the new school year.