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School Board Approves Transfer Of Property To Gloucester City | GCN

By Anne Forline

Gloucester City News

During last week’s Gloucester City Board of Education (BOE) meeting, Mayor Bill James addressed the board about acquiring Lot #1 Block Number 285.04.

The Mayor said the City is moving forward with the Organic Diversions project, which will include the construction of a $30 million dollar compost and energy facility.

Not only will this project be a tax ratable for the City, it is also expected to bring jobs, he said.

The project is located on the BP Arco site in the Southport section of the city. However, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has designated this area as wetlands.

In order for the Organic Diversions project to continue, the city has to mitigate (or replace) three acres of wetlands elsewhere in town.

The Mayor requested that the BOE transfer Lot #1 Block Number 285.04 to the City for this purpose.

During the meeting, a motion was made to amend the long range facility plan to remove Lot #1 Block #285.04 and to make application to the Department of Education to dispose of the same lot no longer necessary for educational purposes pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:20-5 et seq. and to transfer it to the City of Gloucester pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:20-6(a).

The motion was passed on a roll call vote that was unanimous.

Also addressing the School Board was High School Principal Dr. Jack Don, who announced the honor recently bestowed on sophomore Lisa Marron from Mrs. Palaia’s art class.

Lisa was the winner of an art contest sponsored by the Camden County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Dr. Don said.

Back in the fall, Lisa entered the contest by designing a poster on the theme,


“We have better things to do than drink alcohol.” Lisa’s winning design will be displayed on two junior billboards in Camden for 10 months.

  Superintendent Paul Spaventa recognized the recent athletic accomplishments of several of the district’s sports teams, and congratulated the new fifth and sixth grade boys’ basketball team at Mary Ethel Costello for winning against Audubon and St. Margaret’s.

  He acknowledged the efforts of the Varsity Girls bowling team for placing fourth in the state in Group 1. The team was also crowned Olympic Conference Freedom Division Champions for their performance during the regular season. The superintendent also praised the Varsity Girls Basketball team, which won the Classic Division.

  In other news, Spaventa thanked the administration and the maintenance departments for doing a great job on the recent water main break February 14, and acknowledged the help received from the City.

  He thanked everyone involved for responding in an expedient fashion.

  Athletic Trainer Bill Mc-Laughlin, addressed the Board about the state-mandated concussion policy.

  He said the concussion policy and return to play for an injured player has been revised to a minimum of seven days as long as the player is asymptomatic for 24-48 hours.

  For information, visit

  Student representatives from all of Gloucester’s schools addressed the Board and gave reports.

  Senior Shawn Connelly is secretary of the senior class and captain of the cross country team. Shawn is proud to be involved with Gloucester City Clean-Up Day and has aspirations to become a special education teacher when he attends Stockton State College after graduation.

  Shawn commented on the progress of the sports team, namely Stefano Okoro’s scoring his 1,000 point against Schalick.

  Shawn said that the guidance department continues to work closely with 11th grade students who will be taking the SAT. To help prepare students for the test, there will be free test prep classes offered for students during March and April.

  Shawn spoke about the “Friends of Rachel Scott” project, which involves bullying prevention. (Rachel was the first person killed during the Columbine High School shootings back in 1999.)  Shawn noted the impact of random acts of kindness.

  Damien Hart represented the Highland Park Program for Success and remarked that the program is “the best thing for me and helped me get back on track.”

  Damien says the smaller class size and individual attention from teachers also help him. He is happy to be part of the school that feels like a big family. He knows the education he is receiving will be a building block for when he enters the Marines.

  Representing Mary Ethel Costello was Corey Gartland, who said that the students recently made character messages designed in the shape of a heart to hang around the auditorium.

  These will serve as visual reminders for everyone to see and know what good character means.

  Corey noted that the students are preparing for the NJ ASK by writing speculative essays, for which they are allotted 45 minutes. He also said the students will be learning about Black History Month.

  From Cold Springs School was third grader, Mary Pearson. Mary enjoys her gifted and talented class and says the students are preparing for the NJ ASK by crafting good openings to their writing prompts with rhetorical questions.

  Mary said that students are participating in “Pennies for Patients,” where pennies are collected and will be donated for cancer research.

  Mary also said that on February 21-22, the Mobile Dentist was to visit Cold Springs School. On February 28 from 6-7:30 pm, the parent workshop “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You” will be held in the Early Childhood Center’s Multi-Purpose Room.

  Other motions that were made and approved during the business portion of the meeting, included:

  Approval of administrative reports, student action items, personnel items (this includes new hires, leaves of absence, substitute teachers and clinical students); workshops, field trips and fundraisers.

  Also, approval of curriculum items; policy revisions (this concerns sports related concussions and head injuries); grant action items; and facilities’ use.

  When a motion was made concerning ten financial action items, Board Member Adam Baker asked a question concerning item #8, which involves the district’s telephone system.

  Baker felt there should be an estimate concerning this matter. This led to a discussion among the board members and business administrator, Margaret McDonnell.  An amended motion was subsequently made and approved.

  The Board then adjourned to Executive Session to discuss personnel matters. Upon returning to the regular meeting, they reinstated Kevin Hagan as basketball coach of the Gloucester City High School boys’ basketball team, and he will be able to coach the Lions in the state playoffs.

  There was also a question of a coach taking two players out of detention, but it was tabled to a later date.