Rundown: Manasquan School Board Meeting, July 24
Muly resigns, district goals discussed, varsity soccer at Atlantic Club set for vote
The Manasquan School Board on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Christine Muly, created an ad-hoc committee to discuss the district's goals for next school year, and decided to turn down Borough Administrator Joe DeIorio's request to split the cost of a $12,000 video scheduler for the borough's public access TV station.
According to a report from the superintendent, the percentage of students at the High School who failed a random drug yest last school year was higher than both the state and national averages.
The board also discussed next year's in-school suspension room at the High School, which officials hope will provide an incentive for students to quit skipping Saturday detentions.
And in school construction news, the roof replacement project at the High School is moving on schedule, officials said.
Here's the rundown:
The board accepted the resignation of Christine Muly, who stepped down Tuesday.
Board President Michelle LaSala only briefly mentioned the resignation while going through the list of absent board members from Tuesday's work session.
Muly, in a letter addressed to LaSala, that she felt the board was heading in the wrong direction. She also cited an "environment of uncalled for accusations" as her deciding factor for resigning.
She is the fourth school board member to resign since last fall.
Board President Michelle LaSala said Tuesday she would appoint a three-member ad-hoc committee to develop the district's goals for next school year.
During the board's work session, members discussed previous goals not yet achieved to focus on going forward.
Superintendent of Schools Geraldine Margin said the district was primarily "on target" but analyzing the district's latest standardized test scores would not be possible until the state released them in early September.
One challenge going forward, however, will be meeting the state Department of Education's (NJDOE) benchmark for elementary schools and their student subgroups to reach language arts and math proficiency rates of 95 percent by 2015, Margin said.
The state's current benchmark is 90 percent, Margin said.
The NJDOE also has instituted annual measurable objectives in which the number of students deemed not proficient in both subjects must be cut in half within six years.
The Elementary School will be expected to chip away at their not proficient student category in equal increments over those six years. The 2010-11 school year test scores were used as the state's starting point for the calculations, Margin said.
The largest achievement gap in the Elementary School is among its third-graders, of which 26.1 percent fell into the not proficient category.
The school's eighth-graders in 2011 achieved 98.7 percent proficiency in language arts and 94.8 percent in math.
The percentage of students at the High School in 2011-12 who randomly tested positive for drugs or alcohol was 7.9 percent, Superintendent Margin said.
The national average is 2.7 percent, while the state average is 6.5 percent.
Margin pointed out that the school reduced its percentage of positive tests from 10.1 percent the previous school year.
The only substances discovered were THC (presumably marijuana) and alcohol, she said.
Margin also said the district's intervention efforts were working, as the number of follow-up test positives fell to 12.9 percent from 16.4 percent the previous school year.
District officials said they plan to implement an in-school suspension room in the High School next year.
Margin said that keeping students on campus to serve out their suspensions has worked in other districts and would help the High School's attendance rate, which will be used by the state beginning next year to award aid funds.
Officials said the majority of students are suspended for skipping Saturday detentions. An in-school suspension room, rather than a "day off" from school, would serve as a meaningful repercussion.
Board Member Mike Shelton said students skipping Saturday detentions was indeed an issue troubling the district.
District Business Administrator Margaret "Peg" Hom said the High School boiler is on its last legs, but finding a way to pay for an upgrade to the school's HVAC system is equally troubling.
With no reserves to spend since the district undertook a roof-replacement project, currently underway, the only way to pay for a new HVAC system anytime soon would be through a public referendum.
But no officials suggested moving in that direction at this time.
Board Member Linda DiPalma, not present at Tuesday's meeting, is expected to be tapped by Board President LaSala to fill Christine Muly's chair on the Policy Committee.
The roofing project at the High School is nearly complete, officials said.
LaSala apologized to the public several reported instances earlier this month in which the roofers were reported working after hours and on weekends.
With that issue hopefully behind everyone, Board Member Thomas Bauer said the new roof construction was coming along well.
Members discussed the pending agreement between the district and The Atlantic Club in Wall, where the boys and girls varsity soccer teams want to play their games.
Last month some members said they were uncomfortable having just one athletic trainer covering fall sports games and practices at the school campus, Sea Girt Army Camp and The Atlantic Club.
Member Julie Barnes, a licensed athletic trainer herself, said the districtshould consider hiring an additional trainer.
Athletic Director Ronald Kornegay said he was confident in The Atlantic Club's staff, which are certified in CPR, being able to handle any injuries.
"I feel vert comfortable that they'll have someone," Kornegay said.
After more discussion, Kornegay added that he wouldn't be opposed to hiring an assistant trainer.
LaSala said the board would take the administration's recommendation and hold an up-or-down vote on the contract at next week's regular meeting.
The board will not enter into an agreement with the borough to split the cost of a video scheduler for the town's public access TV station.
Superintendent Margin said Borough Administrator Joe DeIorio sent her a letter requesting both sides share the expense of a $12,000 video scheduler, but Board President LaSala said the district didn't have the money to spare.
And, she added, a video scheduler would not benefit the district.
And that's the rundown.