Updated: Oct 18, 2022
The Board of Education met this evening, September 27, 2022, for a regular business meeting.
First, congratulations to Joan Petronico, the school nurse at Laning and Forest elementary schools on her retirement. She helped generations of students and will be missed.
Also, on the agenda was a resolution regarding the process to name schools and facilities. This resolution was debated at the previous BOE meeting where the language requiring the person the building was to be named after was deceased was removed from the proposed resolution. This language was reinserted into the resolution and presented to the BOE. The Board voted 4-1 to reject the resolution in part because of the requirement that the person being honored was deceased.
In addition, the Superintendent reported that the new Harassment, Bullying, and Intimidation (HIB) procedures have been implemented. They are on the Verona School District website under Parents. The changes were in response to the report by Grand River Solutions as well as changes in the NJ law regarding HIB.
There is a need for bus drivers. The state requirements regarding knowledge of fixing the bus have been removed so if you are looking for a new job or career check it out.
The BOE voted to approve an outside vendor to conduct residency reviews which will help identify if students attending Verona schools are actual residents of Verona. It is not a fun situation for anyone, the students, staff, and administration when a student is found to not be a resident of the school district they are attending. However, it can cost the taxpayers a lot of money to educate the students that are not residents and not paying tuition. It can also lead to larger class sizes for resident students. So, while it is not a fun task, it is a necessary one.
I was one of two members of the public that attended tonight. I asked three questions. The first was related to Addendum Agenda Item #3 - Emergency Virtual and Remote Instruction. This is the plan for remote instruction should the state mandate another closure of schools due to a public health emergency. Hopefully, this will never be implemented but if it is we have a plan. This plan will not go into effect for weather emergencies. So if we run out of snow days, we will still lose some other days off in the calendar.
My second question was more of a comment. I had inquired about the County Vo-Tech Schools to a middle school guidance counselor. It took two weeks for her to find out the information. She did keep me apprised and informed, but this is information that should be readily available for all parents and students. Vo-Tech provides incredible options for all our students, whether they wish to attend college or not.
The third question was about Governor Murphy's recent signing of a law to increase the eligibility for free lunch from 185% of the federal poverty level to 200% of the federal poverty level. The new law goes into effect next school year, and there is state funding to offset the additional cost. However, because Verona does not participate in the national school lunch program, it is uncertain how this would impact our budget. I would advocate for joining the national school lunch program and taking advantage of the available reimbursements and ensuring that all children in the Verona schools are provided with lunch should they need it.
Here is a link to the BOE meeting.