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Resident Asks Gloucester BOE To Provide Agenda

A Gloucester City resident addressed the BOE about the lack of availability of the monthly meeting agenda, and said it is difficult to hear what is being said during the meeting.

“In accordance with the Sunshine Law, a copy of the agenda must be provided,” the resident stated to the BOE.

She further complained: “I can’t hear what is being said, so I don’t know what is being approved. I can’t follow along in writing.”

Board member Jackie Borger responded: “Thank you for bringing it to our attention.”

Board President Ed Hubbs added: “I will see that the agenda is put on the seats.”

(Note: This reporter also made a statement to the BOE during the public portion to say that it is difficult to hear what is being discussed during the meetings.)

Also addressing the BOE was the AFSCME union representative for the district’s custodians. He asked about creating a sick bank and wanted to know the district’s policy concerning withholding pay.
Business administrator, Peg McDonnell, responded by saying “By law, we can’t withhold people’s pay.”

School superintendent, Joe Rafferty, said those employees with questions about their pay should come into the board office so a search can be done on a case-by-case basis.

Rafferty was also asked about a rumor that the district may be looking into hiring an outside company to plow the schools’ lots during snowstorms.

Rafferty said that because buses had been cut from Cold Springs School, there are many more parents on the property than had been in previous years.

There is also a liability issue, Rafferty said, adding that the district is looking into a shared services agreement for snow removal with Gloucester City.

“We are trying to find the best way to remove the large amounts of snow because it is a liability with more people at the Cold Springs campus,” Rafferty said.

He also stated: “There is no intention to privatize and this is not to diminish the custodians’ jobs because they will still be removing snow from the walkways.”

During the meeting, there was a first reading of the district’s revised lice policy.

At the March BOE meeting, a parent had addressed the BOE concerning the lice policy and asked why the district does not follow a “no nit” policy.

In response to that concern, board member Bill Johnson questioned if there should be a policy change concerning lice.

The policy #8454 has been revised to read as follows:

“A student who is found to have active head lice will not be permitted to attend school until there are no active lice in the student’s hair and until all live head lice are removed as confirmed by an examination by the school nurse.”

During the business portion of the meeting, all motions brought before the BOE passed.
The BOE voted to approve the 2015-16 fall athletic contract with HA DeHart and Sons in the amount of $24,035.

A motion was approved for the 2015-16 non-public textbook purchase for Gloucester Catholic for Houghton Mifflin in the amount of $8,587.51, McGraw’s in the amount of $1,276.00 and Apple textbooks in the amount of $490.

The board accepted non-public entitlements from the State of New Jersey for 2015-16 for non-public security for Gloucester Catholic in the amount of $15,125.

The board also approved the following contracts for the 2015-16 school year: Positive Educational Solutions, LLC to provide autism classroom support in the amount of $180 an hour, not to exceed $32,000 and with P&N Grant Consultants, LLC to provide Perkins Grant Management Services for the 2015-16 school year at $58 per hour, not to exceed $773, to be funded through Perkins 2016 administration funds.

There was also a public hearing on the Refunding Bund Ordinance for School Refund Bund Series 2005. Board Secretary, Margaret McDonnell, previously explained that the district is refinancing (or refunding) a previously issued bond for interest savings.

The BOE will meet next on November 10 for a combined caucus and regular meeting at 7:00 pm in the GHS Media Center.

*Article originally appeared in the October 22, 2015 edition of the Gloucester City News.