CHATHAM – The school board met Tuesday evening, April 17 to adopt a $28-million budget proposal and a $249,660 bus purchase proposition. If approved by district voters next month the budget would mean a tax levy of 2.22%, which is the highest adjusted amount allowed by the state property tax cap law.
The district is making some cuts, but Superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo there would be no loss of services in this budget. “There is program that is being delivered differently,” she said but stressed the district isn’t eliminating any electives in this budget proposal.
The plan does call for cutting teachers’ aides, a business office staff person and a custodian, but many of those cuts are coming through retirements and restructuring. The board plans to hire a second reading teacher in the Elementary School and school officials are currently interviewing candidates for business administrator. That position is currently held by an interim administrator. The reading teacher would be a new position.
The board approved the budget proposal and the proposition for two 66-passerger buses and a 4-passenger bus. The budget and the proposition will be on the May 15 ballot.
There are also three seats up for election on the board. Current board members Mike Clark and David O’Connor are seeking reelection. Board President John Wapner has decided not to run again. Jennifer Lindberg has submitted a petition for a seat on the board. Board of Education officers are chosen by the board members at the annual organizational meeting in July.
Also this week the board reviewed the state school report card, which ranks Chatham as “a school in good standing” except for the Middle School, which was designated a “school in need of improvement” in English for students with disabilities. Many other schools in the county and state have same designation.
Ms. Nuciforo said the district was in discussion with the Chatham Teachers’ Association about teacher evaluations. “We are working toward a positive result here in Chatham,” she said of the state mandated evaluations. “The rules keep changing,” she said about the state requirement, but she added that the administration and the teachers are having a “good conversation” about the issue.
The board was asked to approve the donation of a fence for the Middle School softball field from Daniel Gregg, Allen Gilligan and Peter Palleschi. The school cannot host sectional games without the fence, which is removable and will be taken out at the end of the season.
Mr. O’Connor felt it was the district’s responsibility to buy the fence. “The least we could do as a district is reimburse them,” he said of the people donating the fence. The board voted to accept the donation with the possibility of later rescinding the motion, reimbursing the donation and having the district buy the fence.
Judge finds board member guilty
CHATHAM–Chatham Board of Education member Francis Iaconetti attended the board’s Tuesday, April 17 meeting a short time after having been found guilty of harassing a student. The student was a neighbor of his.
Independent newsman Lance Wheeler, who attended the Village Court trial Tuesday in front of Justice Mark Portin, reports that the judge found Mr. Iaconetti had physical contact with the teen. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month and could face up to 15 days in jail and a $250 fine.
A statement on the school district’s website written by board President John Wapner says the board plans to meet to discuss the actions the board may take concerning Mr. Iaconetti’s position on the board. Dr. Wapner writes, “The board has limited the role of Mr. Iaconetti to participation in board meetings only.”–Emilia Teasdale