Gloucester City’s teachers have reached an impasse in their contract negotiations, Board Solicitor, Frank Cavallo, Jr., said at the school board meeting on Tuesday night. Cavallo stated that that the Board of Education and the Teachers’ Association met in June. “At the end of that meeting, it was decided that the Board of Education would declare an impasse and file what is called a ‘Notice of Impasse’ with the Public Employment Relations Commission. I received a letter on July 11 informing me that they are investigating our filing and that a mediator would be assigned shortly,” he said.
HIB & EVVRS Reports
Director of the Early Childhood Center, Norell Gurcik, gave the Harassment Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Report and the Electronic Violence and Vandalism Report (EVVR) for report period January 1-June 30, which is report period two.
Gurcik said: “At the Gloucester City Junior-Senior High School, we had eight HIB investigations and six were confirmed HIB. We had two at Mary Ethel, zero confirmed HIB. That makes a total of ten HIB investigations and six were confirmed a HIB.”
She gave a summary of the HIB report and outlined the nature of the HIB incidences: “There were two that were sexual orientation related and four under ‘other distinguishing characteristics.’ For the effects of the HIB incidences, there were six where the offender knew the actions would physically or emotionally cause harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property. We had six insult or demean a student or a group of students. Five interfered with victims’ education and one created a hostile educational environment by severely or basically causing physical or emotional harm to a student.”
For the mode of HIB incidences, Gurcik said: “One was a gesture, one written, four verbal, two physical, and one electronic communication.”
Regarding disciplinary actions, she said: “We had two in-school suspensions, five out-of-school suspensions, and two detentions. For the offender remedial actions, there were seven individual counseling, six student conferences, and six parent conferences. For the victim remedial actions, we had eight counseling and two parent conferences and one out-of-school mental health services.”
For EVVRS, Ms. Gurcik reported: “We had two under violence and they were assault. We had two under substance abuse and they were confirmed use.”
Middle School Update
School superintendent, Joe Rafferty, said that he and several other administrators recently went to Trenton to pick out furniture and different items for the new middle school.
As for the school’s progress, he said: “Right now, things are going well. We have a picture of the field with the turf being put in. We are making an unbelievable amount of progress inside the building and things are moving along.”
Facilities Director, John Kenney, also gave an update: “The field work is progressing. For the goal posts, the supports are about half way in. The track work will probably start in the next two to three weeks.”
He continued: “Painting of the classrooms has started. Most of the concrete around the site is done. Roof work is about 90% done. Fencing work is about half way done on the site. There are about 130 people working down there. Final completion is early December,” he said.”
Kenney also said that because of the issue with the State and the transportation funding, Fifth Street is on hold and that is a major issue for the district.
Agenda Items Approved
On the business side, two items were tabled on the meeting agenda. The BOE tabled the approval of various policy revisions and a professional services contract with Positive Educational Solutions.
There was a discussion among the board about the starting salary for a teacher at the middle school. Jackie Borger asked about the starting salary and said she wasn’t questioning the candidate’s character, but she wondered why he wasn’t started as step 1.
Stephanie Cohan added: “It does seem like a high step.”
School superintendent, Joe Rafferty, responded: “This is a quality individual for the position,” and he asked Bill O’Kane, principal of Mary Ethel Costello, to provide an explanation.
“The position is for a fifth grade teacher. What it came down to is that he is the best candidate for the job for middle school math. He has a coaching background. To me, it’s a smart move. I felt this was smart hire,” O’Kane said.
The Board voted to approve the candidate to be hired.
Other approvals were:
- The bill list grand totaling $4,196,782.06.
- Contracts with Gloucester County Vocational-Technical School for pool rental for the 2016-17 school year in the amount of $7,675 and with Holcomb Bus Co. to lease two buses for the 2016-17 school year in the amount of $1,600 per bus per month to accommodate athletics and possible school trips.
- To authorize the Board Secretary/Business Administrator to award the wall/window system removal reconstruction for the cafeteria at GHS.
Leon Harris Sworn in to the BOE:
Additionally, Leon Harris was sworn in as a board member by the Board Solicitor. Harris replaces Patrick Hagan who resigned his Board position in May. Harris was a former Lions’ football coach. In September, 2014, he retired as the district’s athletic director.
The BOE will meet next on Wednesday, August 3 for its Caucus and its regular meeting will be on Tuesday, August 9, 2016. Both meetings will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the GHS Media Center.