NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — By a unanimous vote, the members of the West Essex Regional Board of Education voted to ratify a four-year successor collective negotiations contract with the West Essex Administrators’ Association. The board announce during its meeting on Monday that the four-year contract will cover the next four school years, beginning in fall of 2019 and ending in spring of 2023.

Each year, the administrators will see a 3-percent increase to their current salaries, according to the board. District employees who contribute to their health plans will also be incurring an increase this year of 18 percent to their premiums.

Chapter 78 has been retained in full force so that administrators will continue to pay the maximum contribution that was established by law in 2011 mandating employee contributions from the public sector towards health benefits. During public comment, it was disclosed that the board did not seek a new Broker of Record but did “shop other plans” and determined that the state health plan would have been more expensive than the current health plan.

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Updating the public on the superintendent search, the board stated that it will be conducting the interview and search process internally rather than retaining a search firm. Board president Cynthia Egan noted that resumes are in and the board will begin conducting the first rounds of interviews on May 6.

In other news, due to the lack of sidewalks on the heavily travelled West Greenbrook Road, the board approved a hazardous route for busing purposes for the 2019-2020 school year. The board will be required to approve this annually, as it is not a new area designated as hazardous.

West Essex High School Principal Caesar Diliberto was also in attendance at the meeting to thank the various benefactors of the well-attended Intergenerational Prom held on April 11. (See full story HERE.)

Among those recognized for their donations were the Caldwell/West Essex Kiwanis Club ($700; Legacy Studious (photos/photo booth valued at $300); Pomptonian (food and paper products valued at $300); Stop & Shop of West Caldwell ($40 worth of food); Applegate (food valued at $250); and Hollywood Pizza ($400 worth of refreshments).

Additionally, Diliberto apprised the board that the high school’s approximately 276 advanced placement (AP) students will be taking approximately 720 AP exams in total this year.

On the subject of testing, Ryan Gupta, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, stated that the month of May is a particularly busy time due to testing as well as master scheduling for next year and staff member evaluations.

“The entire administrative teams pulls together during this time,” said Gupta.

Egan concluded the being by inviting the public to observe a professional development seminar as members of the board continue their quest for Board Certification from the New Jersey School Boards Association. Board members recently began a training and professional development course in finance that was being presented by Kida.