BOE Reports & Notes

  • BOE President's Report March 19, 2014

    Posted by Donald Webster, Jr. at 3/19/2014 9:00:00 PM

    State/Federal Issues
    We continue to monitor education related bills that may affect Manchester.  Recently, both houses of the state legislature approved a bill requiring participation in the school breakfast program for districts with at least 5% or more student eligibility.   This bill will not adversely affect us, given that we already participate in this program and we also significantly exceed the student eligibility requirements proposed under the pending legislation.

    Activities in Our Schools
    Mrs. Walter and I participated in another meeting of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee on 3/11.  The purpose of the meeting was to come up with survey questions for parents, students, staff and community members based on our assigned sub-committees.  Also, we started to work on developing the major goals for our school district over the next three (3) years.  The committee is made up of teachers, administrators, parents, BOE, PTA and community members.  Mrs. Walter and I are representing the BOE. 

    NJ School Boards Association Activities (NJSBA)
    I attended the Executive Committee Meeting on March 4th in Trenton where personnel, budget and administrative matters of the association were discussed and approved as needed.  I also attended a Facilities Committee Meeting for Trustees of the NJ Schools Insurance Group (NJSIG) in Burlington City, NJ on 3/13.  The purpose of this meeting was to interview and select an Architect of Record for the insurance group.  During the weekend of 3/14-3/16, Mrs. Walter and I attended a new board member orientation program in Princeton, NJ.  New board members are required by law to attend an orientation program conducted by NJSBA.  Mrs. Walter served as a group leader for the breakout sessions of the program and I represented the State Officers.

    Next Meeting
    The next regular meeting of the board will be on April 24 with the public portion of the meeting beginning at 7:30 PM at the Ridgeway elementary School.

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  • BOE President's Report February 19, 2014

    Posted by Donald Webster, Jr. at 2/19/2014 8:00:00 PM

    State/Federal Issues
    We continue to monitor education related bills as they develop.  Since the new legislative cycle has just begun in NJ it is anticipated that bills that did not get approved in the last session will be re-introduced shortly in the new legislative session.  Charter school reform, State Aid funding and local control related bills are still on the agenda of the legislature.

    Activities in Our Schools
    I participated, along with Mrs. Walter, in a meeting of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee on 2/6.  The purpose of this committee is to help come up with overarching goals for our school district over the next three years.  The committee is made up of teachers, administrators, parents, and BOE, PTA and community members.  Mrs. Walter and I are representing the BOE.  I also participated in the Teacher of the Year Committee to select a “District Teacher of the Year” for Manchester. Mrs. Caroline DeFino of the Middle School was selected by the committee to represent Manchester.  Manchester’s representative goes on to compete at the county level for “County Teacher of the Year.”

    NJ School Boards Association Activities (NJSBA)
    I attended the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Leadership Conference for State Association Officers on 1/30-2/2 and the Advocacy Institute Program on 2/2-2/4 in Washington, DC.  On 2/4, I met on Capitol Hill with our State’s Senators (Booker & Menendez) and their staff along with various members of the NJ Congressional Delegation including our own Congressman Chris Smith and his staff.  The issues that I raised with the Congressman included funding concerns for the Federally mandated Title 1 and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs, local board of education governance and control issues (HR Bill 1386), and the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, AKA No Child Left Behind).  There was cautious optimism expressed to us in most of our meetings that Congress would be able to make some meaningful progress on these issues in the current legislative cycle.  It should be noted that Federal education funding cuts this past year totaled $3.2 billion dollars nationally.  Since the Federal laws and mandates related to these programs have not been waived, modified or eliminated, ultimately funding needed to support them will need to be made up by local taxpayers.

    Next Meeting
    The next regular meeting of the board will be on March 19 with the public portion of the meeting beginning at 7:30 PM at the Ridgeway elementary School.

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  • BOE President's Report January 29, 2014

    Posted by Donald Webster, Jr. at 1/30/2014

    State/Federal Issues
    The legislature passed and the Governor has signed into law legislation moving the filing date for school elections for school board candidates to the end of July.  Previously, the filing date was the primary date in early June.  This was an action that NJSBA supported in order to move the filing date closer to the actual election date as is done with municipal elections.  The bill also clarifies issues involving board members who resign their seats just prior to the election in November.  In addition, the bill requires municipalities to notify boards of education and the public if they plan to take formal action on moving the school election date.  The Governor has also signed into law a bill that prohibits Superintendents from receiving a salary bonus for reducing the number of out-of-district special needs student placements.  This was also a bill that was supported by NJSBA.   Superintendent bonuses should not influence where a special needs student is placed.  Rather, the placements should be based on the specific needs of the student.  Finally, the Governor signed a bill that requires additional training of staff and testing of students who exhibit signs of dyslexia.  We will continue to monitor the progress of these and other education related bills as they develop in the new legislative year.

    Activities in Our Schools
    I had the opportunity to attend some high school athletic events over the holidays.  Our athletes performed well and displayed good sportsmanship.  The boy’s basketball team won the WOBM Holiday Basketball Tournament over Jackson Memorial HS.   This was a terrific achievement by our student- athletes.

    I attended the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at the high school on 1/17.  This was a terrific program that honored the memory and principles that Dr. King espoused during his lifetime.  The event was very well attended by students, parents, staff and the public.  Our combined middle school and high school gospel choir had another memorable performance that included a number of classic gospel hymns.  Clay Bogan, III a former graduate of Manchester HS who is a seasoned and internationally known musical director, producer, and songwriter spoke about his growing up in Manchester and the influences that affected him and his decisions in life.  Clay serves as Musical Director of Christ Church in Montclair, NJ.   He spoke extensively about Queen L. Cannon, former Middle School Guidance teacher, who founded the MLK celebration along with our gospel choir 45 years ago now.  Our celebration is now the largest and longest running MLK event in Ocean County.  It is nice to have former students who have been successful in life return to the district and speak about where they came from and what they are doing now in their adult lives.  Overall, this was a very moving and great event that featured our very talented students!

    NJ School Boards Association Activities (NJSBA)
     I attended the association’s Executive Committee Meeting (EC) in Trenton on 1/07/14.  At this meeting we discussed administrative, personnel, financial matters affecting the association, and plans for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the association.  We also prepared for the upcoming Board of Directors Meeting on 1/24/14 and our trip to Washington, DC 1/30-2/5/14 for a State Leadership Conference and meetings with the NJ Federal Legislative Delegation.   The leadership conference and legislative meetings are sponsored by the National School Boards Association (NSBA), which is based in Alexandria, VA.  NJ is a member of the national association.

    On 1/10-1/12/14, Mary Walter & I attended and participated in a New School Board Member Weekend Orientation Program in Princeton, NJ.  Mrs. Walter served as a Group Leader for the training of new school board members.  All newly elected school board members in NJ are required by law to attend and complete an orientation program provided by NJSBA within the first year of their election.  Failure to do so can result in their removal from their local board.

    On 1/16, I attended the Education Leadership Foundation of NJ (ELF NJ) Board of Trustees Meeting in Trenton.  At this meeting we adopted changes to the foundation’s bylaws, received reports on the foundation’s finances and fundraising efforts, and we discussed plans for future meetings and foundation events.

    On 1/22, I attended the NJ School Insurance Group (NJSIG) Board of Trustees Meeting in Jamesburg, NJ.   At this meeting we completed the annual performance evaluation for the Executive Director, reviewed and approved the December Claims and Bills Lists and discussed relevant personnel, administrative and financial matters affecting the Joint Insurance Fund (JIF). Manchester is a member of the JIF and reaps the benefits of this insurance fund that was created by the legislature specifically for the benefit of NJ school districts.  The group provides cost effective insurance coverage for member school districts at group rates.

    On 1/8 I attended the Ocean County School Boards Association meeting in Lakewood, NJ and on 1/16 I attended the Mercer County School Boards Association meeting in Robbinsville, NJ.  The theme for both of these meetings was “County Meet-Ups.”  Staff from the various NJSBA service departments was in attendance along with representatives from our corporate sponsors of these events.  Attendees had an opportunity to hear a brief presentation on the resources and services provided by the various NJSBA departments and the corporate sponsors.  Then they had the opportunity to ask specific questions of our staff or the corporate representatives.  Both meetings were well attended and well received by the membership.

    Next Meeting
    The next regular meeting of the board will be on February 19 with the public portion of the meeting beginning at 7:30 PM.

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  • BOE President's Report Dec. 18, 2013

    Posted by Donald Webster, Jr. at 12/19/2013

    State/Federal Issues
    There are still several bills outstanding involving charter schools, board of education elections, asthma & allergies in school children, school budget due dates and the superintendent evaluation due dates still being considered at the state level.  It is not clear what legislation may ultimately be considered by the full legislature during the “lame duck” portion of the legislative calendar (post-November election until January 2014 when the new legislative session begins).  It does appear that the bill to change the election filing date for school board candidates is moving forward.  We will continue to monitor the progress of these and other education related bills as they develop.

    Activities in Our Schools
    I had the opportunity to attend several of the winter concerts and shows at our schools.  All of the shows and concerts were very well received and well attended by parents and community members.  I also participated in the Kevin’s Kids gift-wrapping day event along with Mr. Pate and that also went very well.    

    NJ School Boards Association Activities (NJSBA)
    I, along with association Immediate Past President Raymond Wiss, co-presented the School Security Task Force Findings at a special meeting of the Englewood Cliffs Board of Education on December 11 in North Jersey. I also completed work on my written portion of the final report of the School Security Task Force.  The final report is now expected to be issued in early January 2014.

    Next Meeting
    The annual reorganization meeting of the Board of Education will be held on January 8, 2014 at the Ridgeway School at 7 PM.  The regular meeting schedule for 2014 will be set at that meeting.  The next regular meeting of the board will occur later in the month of January.
     
    I hope everyone has a very Happy Holiday Season and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year. 
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