By Anne Forline
Gloucester City News
The Gloucester City Board of Education (BOE) voted to deny three “Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying” (HIB) appeals after returning from Executive Session during last week’s meeting.
This vote upheld the School Board’s original decision regarding the three HIB aggressors – students involved in bullying incidents.
Parents of at least one of the students plan to challenge the determination through the NJ Department of Education.
During the business portion of the meeting, the BOE also voted to deny an “adults only” fundraiser to benefit the senior class trip at Adelphia’s.
In other matters, the Board voted to approve the implementation of the Strauss Esmay Policy and Regulations Manual.
It provides electronic versions of policy and regulation manuals, which are continually updated to ensure that school districts are in compliance.
The initial cost is $13,000 for the policy and regulation set-up, with an online set up charge of $1,995. After the first year, there will be a charge of $3,990.
Superintendent Joseph Rafferty said, “Administratively, it is a very effective tool for the board and administrators. It is an ongoing service, which upgrades all the time.”
School Board members voted to approve the district’s participation in a national co-op for technology purchases for $48,469.
This amount would cover the purchases of five Smart Boards and projectors at Mary Ethel Costello School, two Smart Boards and projectors at Gloucester City High School, and one projector installation at Cold Springs School.
Regarding grant action items, the Board voted to accept the 2013 Perkins Grant in the amount of $26,574, and decided to apply for the IDEA Grant for special education students in the amount of $661,605.
Business Administrator Margaret McDonnell commented on a letter received from the Department of Agriculture in reference to extra funds in a cafeteria account for the 2011-12 school year.
The district was able to upgrade several pieces of kitchen equipment – including the purchase of ovens which enables food to be baked, not fried.
Board Member Adam Baker asked why the after-school program starts so late, often in October.
Director of Curriculum, Dr. Liz Curry said the enrollment forms for the after-school program are distributed during “Back to School Night.”
Once the completed forms are returned, the district will know how many students will be enrolled and also the correct number of teachers to hire, Curry said.
Board President Louisa Llewellyn asked about hosting a “bike rodeo” to teach and encourage bike safety for children.
She said she had spoken with the Gloucester City Mayor William James about holding a “bike rodeo,” which would be a shared services project.
Board member Jackie Borger asked for a cost analysis concerning the busing of the alternative education students. Rafferty said he would provide this information.
Regarding the assistant principal position at the junior high school, Rafferty clarified that the district is not hiring for this position.
Current staff will used to fill this position using stipends, he said.
The BOE will meet again on Thursday, September 6, at 7 p.m. for a caucus meeting and again on Tuesday, September 11 at 7 p.m. for its regular meeting. Both will take place at the High School Media Center.