Summit Board of Education Approves Contracts for SEA and SPA, Sets Goals for 2017-18 School Year

After being sworn in, new Board of Education member Peggy Wong is congratulated by Assistant Superintendent Lou Pepe. Credits: Summit Public Schools Photo Services

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Board of Education ratified agreements between itself and the Summit Education Association (SEA) and the Summit Principal Association (SPA) at their July meeting. The agreements solidify contracts for members of the SEA and the SPA. The SEA represents teachers, secretaries and custodians and the SPA represents all of the district’s principals and assistant principals.

“These timely settlements clearly illustrate partnerships between the Summit Board of Education members and the SEA and the SPA,” BOE President Richard Hanley said. “We believe that by working together, we have shown the strength of our district and our willingness to work together to solve conflicts.”

The changes made to contracts include health insurance and salary, according to Hanley.

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“Adjustments were made, however, in employee’s health insurance co-pays and deductibles to reflect the current trends,” he said. “Both the new SEA and SPA contracts include increased employee co-pays for certain prescriptions and doctor’s visits and new co-pay rates to bring down premium costs, which will create savings for both the district and the members of the SEA and SPA. In the new contracts, the overall cost of salaries for members of the SEA increased by 2.8 percent, each of the three years. The overall salary costs for members of the SPA will increase approximately 2.7 percent each year of the contract.”

Additionally the BOE introduced their goals for the upcoming school year:

  • academic growth in English Language Arts and Mathematics for students in transition grades (Grades five, six and eight);
  • an increased school climate informed by a survey sent to students in Third, Sixth and 11th grades;
  • an increased number of 11th- and 12th-grade students that take the SAT, ACT, Accuplacer or ASVAB, and:
  • to recommend community service and leadership as the Summit School District’s “fourth pillar” in addition to academics, athletics and arts.

“We want to focus on how we can grow,” Superintendent June Chang said. “We want to target specific strands.”

Following that presentation, the Board of Education reviewed the district’s Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) self-assessment and Electronic Violence and Vandalism Reporting System (EVVRS) self-assessment.

Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School had 23 HIB cases investigated between January 1 and June 30, 2017, with nine of those cases confirmed. Summit High School followed with four cases investigated and zero confirmed. However, all schools are shown to exceed the requirements set by the state for school safety

“The middle school is kind of a hot zone,” Laura Kaplan, Director of School Counseling, said. “It’s where we put in the most programs. We’ve been investigating different types of programs that we can bring in.”

In its last presentation, the Board reviewed college statistics for seniors from Summit High School. More than 94 percent of students will attend college, with 107 of those students attending colleges ranked as “most competitive” by Barron’s. Six graduating students will attend college internationally, three will take gap years, two will pursue cosmetology education, seven will enter directly into employment, and four will enter the military.  

“Most of our students tend to attend private and out of state schools,” Kaplan said. “New Jersey is known for exporting the most amount of college students.”

Additionally, the Board approved a resolution that confirms an agreement with the Union County Educational Services Commission (UCESC).The UCESC will bill the school district for the Nonpublic School Technology Program administered at private schools.

“It turned out to be about 3 cents per day as far as the tax impact,” Louis J. Pepe, Assistant Superintendent, said.

Lastly, the Board swore in Peggy Wong, who replaced Board member Debbie Chang.

“We welcome you and look forward to all of your contributions,” Hanley said to Wong. “We know you have a passion for education in Summit since you’ve been a resident for quite some time.”

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