Schools present ‘Safe Return Plan’
At June 3 board meeting
HAMMONTON—Superintendent Robin Chieco presented the Safe Return Plan during the June 3 Hammonton Board of Education meeting.
Board President Sam Mento III called the meeting to order and all board members were present at the Samuel A. Donio Memorial Library except Linda Byrnes who was absent.
“As part of the American Rescue Plan or ARP, our district is eligible to receive over $5.8 million dollars to help sustain the safe operation of schools and to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our students. In order to apply for this funding, I must submit a Safe Return Plan to the New Jersey Department of Education with specific criteria. The information presented this evening represents the required categories that must be addressed,” Chieco said.
The Safe Return Plan includes the following: universal and correct wearing of masks (staff, students and visitors will be required to wear face masks while on school property and on buses as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Atlantic County Department of Health recommendations.), physical distancing (students and staff within buses, classrooms and cafeterias will maintain a three to six-feet distance where practicable.), handwashing and respiratory etiquette (all classrooms are equipped with hand sanitizing stations and videos and signage are provided to demonstrate correct methods of handwashing and respiratory etiquette.), cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities including improving ventilation, contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, diagnostic and screening testing, efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff and students and appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies.
The entire Safe Return Plan can be found on the district’s website (hammontonschools.org).
After going through health and safety policies, Chieco then talked about ensuring the continuity of services for grades PreK-12, as well as district-wide initiatives.
District-wide initiatives include the following: guidance counselors will provide counseling services for all students PreK-12 with an additional counselor being added to the middle school staff to reduce counselor to student ratios; a mental health assistance counselor is being hired to assist all students with social, emotional and mental health needs; school nurses monitor student health needs and maintain vaccination records as per state requirements; staff will implement trauma-informed instructional practices; mental health professional development will be provided to all staff; all students have access to free meals; lunch schedules are staggered to reduce the number of students in the cafeteria at one time; and in order to accommodate six feet of social distancing, alternative locations within the buildings and additional lunch periods will be utilized for meals.
“For our opening in September of 2021, the Hammonton Schools will return to full-day in-person instruction. The first day of school for all students is September 1, 2021, and I encourage all families to check our district website and Facebook page regularly for updated information,” Chieco said.
During the meeting, the board of education recognized the Hammonton High School’s golf team for its championship season.
Mento said he has a special spot in his heart for the golf team not only because his son is on the team, but also because he’s an alumnus.
“One of my goals as a board member really from the beginning was to bring back the golf team and first couple years I was told it would be impossible … It was really one of my proudest accomplishments bringing back that program and so to see that come to fruition where here we are about five/six years later with the championship team is really fantastic,” Mento said.
Coach Matias Spahn then gave a speech in front of the golf team to recognize everyone’s accomplishments.
“This is the first time in 27 years that we’ve been able to do this as a team since 1994; it’s been a while. And as Mr. Mento said golf has kind of fallen off before and hasn’t gotten the recognition and really hasn’t had the good play. You guys have brought it back and of course Olivia [Strigh], Noah [Petracci] and Ryan [Craig] we are definitely going to miss you next year, but I’m really excited to look to see what we can do next year with the guys and girls that are coming up,” Spahn said.
After the presentations, the meeting then moved to committee reports.
Hammonton Board of Education Vice President Michael Pullia gave the finance report and mentioned Resolution No. 17 approving “the purchase of 300 Chromebooks with White Glove Service from CDW-G in the amount of $88,587 based on ESCNJ Co-Op pricing.
“We have 500 Chromebooks in stock now so we have enough to get started next year, but we’re going to buy an extra 300 with this chip shortage and what’s going on, we want to make sure we have plenty of them in storage for future use,” Pullia said.
For buildings and grounds, Mento said the district will be purchasing an international bus with factory air conditioning this month.
“We weren’t sold on the last brand that we went to take a look at it. I want to thank Mr. Pullia. He wanted to take it for a test ride, but they wouldn’t let him drive it out there, but we were able to take a good look at it,” Mento said.
Over the summer, the district will be purchasing a total of 15 buses, Mento said.
During his report, Mento acknowledged the interior custodial crew for doing a nice job keeping the buildings clean and sanitized.
“I also want to acknowledge Frank LaSasso. Obviously he’s going through a lot with his family and personal stuff with his grandson and obviously we keep him in our thoughts and prayers. I also want to compliment him on the job he’s done here. When you take a look at our facilities, I mean they’re second to none,” Mento said.
He also thanked the food workers for their hard work with providing meals to all students.
“I would like to remind the community while I’m talking about lunches that we will continue that service [providing free meals] throughout the entire summer,” Mento said.
Free lunches will be provided to all Hammonton residents 18 and under.
Next, Mento gave the negotiations report.
“We decided to settle upon a three-year deal where the teachers will be receiving a 3.4 percent raise consecutive over the next three years,” Mento said.
The meeting then moved to the first portion of public comment.
Anthony Angelozzi, president of the Hammonton Education Association, thanked Chieco whose “door was always open” to the association.
“Secondly, I want to thank the board of education for just overall a very positive and productive negotiations process,” Angelozzi said.
The board then moved to the voting portion of the meeting.
When it was time to vote for matters concerning finance, the board most notably resolved to:
• Ratify the purchase order lists for April and May 2021 in the amount of $144,084.49.
• Approve the bill list for June 2021 in the amount of $896,983.77.
• Ratify the check lists for May 2021 in the amount of $266,436.91.
• Ratify the May 2021 payroll in the amount of $3,465,944.40.
• Approve pursuant to PL 2015, Chapter 47 the Hammonton Board of Education intends to renew, award, or permit to expire the following contracts previously awarded by the board of education. These contracts are, and have been, in full compliance with all state and federal statutes and regulation; in particular, New Jersey Title 18A: 18 et.seq, NJAC Chapter 23, and Federal Uniform Administrative Requirements 2CFR, Part200. Compliance with new contracts, not listed here, will be addressed prior to board action.
• Approve an Extraordinary Unspecifiable Contract with RX Alliance and Benecard Services, Inc. for employee prescription insurance benefits with Hardenbergh Insurance Group as Broker of Record effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 and the employee shall contribute to the cost of the plan as required by law.
• Approve to award an annual contract to Linklt for a Data Management and Assessment System in the amount of $65,915, plus $1,500 a day for professional development training on the program and $1 ,800 a day for Intervention Manager professional development as needed. A ward is based on the competitive contracting process.
• Approve Comcast to provide Ethernet, Cybersecurity and Internet for the District as follows: High School: $2,705.63/month; Middle School $2,169.14/month; Bus Lounge $139.85/month; Warren E. Sooy Elementary $2,264.32/month; and Early Childhood Education Center $1,089.63/month.
• Approve the purchase of 30 HP ProOne from CDW-G in the amount of $32,499.30 based on ESCNJ Co-Op pricing.
• Approve the purchase of 300 Chromebooks with White Glove Service from CDW-G in the amount of $88,587 based on ESCNJ Co-Op pricing.
• Approve a contract with RFP Solutions, Inc. for the 2021-2022 school year for telephone maintenance at the high school in the amount of $8,492.52, Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) in the amount $3,020.88 both based on state contract pricing and for the middle school in the amount of $2,083.80 based on Educational Services Commission of New Jersey pricing.
• Establish petty cash funds during the 2021-2022 school year: Darla Salay—Early Childhood Education Center: $200; Kristina Tigro—Elementary School: $200; Mike Nolan—Middle School: $200; and Tom Ramsay—High School: $300.
• Approve to accept and award 2021-2022 athletic supply bid.
• Rescind Resolution 21 05 25 R to Hoover Truck Company and award contract to Wolfington Body Company, Inc. for the purchase of (1) 2023 IC Corp EC 54 Passenger Diesel School Bus in the amount $110,750.10 based on ESCNJ Co-Op Bid 20/21-33.
• Reject the receipt of bids on May 19, 2021 for non-public and choice student transportation services based on the route cost exceeding the allowable per student expenditure in accordance with New Jersey State Statutes. Due to the rejection of bids and confirmation from the CTSA that there are no routes available for the non-public and choice school routes for the 2021-2022 school year, parents/guardians that meet the requirements will be paid the state approved aid in lieu amount.
Next the board voted on matters concerning personnel. Most notably they resolved to:
• Approve the board resolution and contract for Barbara Prettyman, School Business Administrator, for the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approve the board resolution and contract for Tammy Leonard, Assistant Superintendent, for the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approve the re-employment of the district bus drivers for the 2021-2022 school year.
Approve the re-employment of the district bus aides for the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approve the following personnel for the Pre-K/Kindergarten Testers: Gabrielle Attanasi, Gina Giralo and Courtney Thompson; and approve the following ELL Testers for the 2021-2022 school year: Amy Clauhs, Adalgisa Lyons and Andrea Silipena. Thomas Attanasi and John Lyons abstained.
• Approve the following 5th grade personnel to participate in professional development on June 22, 2021 to support the implementation of Wonders: Jennifer Peeke, Jorge Carde, Tracy Rearick, Katie Lutz, Dawn Palermo, Gianna Furgione and Danielle Galletta.
• Approve the summer 2021 hours for the following personnel as a part-time ECEC bilingual entrance monitor: Ingrid Chaney.
• Approve the summer 2021 hours for the following elementary personnel: Barbara Alessandro and Eudocia Rabinger.
• Approve an interim academic fieldwork for Emily Gmyr, a student from Rutgers School of Health Professions, in the elementary school.
• Approve the salary adjustment for the following personnel effective June 4, 2021: Averi Olive - from BA+30 - $57,165 to MA (in field) - $59,205 ($58,830 + $375); Luisa Carvalho - from BA+30 - $56,547 to BA+45 - $57,371; Gabrielle Attanasi - from MA - $91,046 ($88,616 + $1,055 + $375 + $1,000 long) to MA+15 - $92,467 ($90,037 + $1,055 + $375 + $1,000 long); and Jaclyn Judge - from BA+15 - $58,261 to MA (in field) - $59,841 ($59,466 + $375). Attanasi abstained.
• Approve the re-employment of the support staff (clerical, technology, maintenance and grounds) for the 2021-2022 school year. Barbara Berenato abstained.
• Approve the re-employment of the instructional/personal care/bilingual aides for the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approve the personnel for Title I summer 2021 programs (ECEC/WES Achievement Academy, HMS Summer Impact and HHS Credit Recovery which runs from July 6 to August 5, 2021, Monday to Thursday)
• Approve the personnel for the special education summer 2021 programs ESY (Extended School Year which runs from July 6 to August 5, 2021, Monday to Thursday) and related services.
• Approve the summer 2021 hours for the personnel to complete child study team services for students receiving or requesting special education.
• Approve the personnel for attendance at IEP meetings throughout summer 2021.
• Approve the personnel for the high school fall coaching stipends for the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approve the personnel for the high school winter coaching stipends for the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approve the following personnel pending receipt of all necessary paperwork (current substitute pay schedule approved by the Board December 10,2015: Regular County Substitute Certificate - $90.00 per day, Regular Standard State Teaching Certificate - $100.00 per day; substitute nurse pay schedule approved by the Board May 9, 2013: School Nurse - $200.00 per day): Lori Scibilia - district Supervisor of Elementary Education effective July 1, 2021; Amanda Redrow - district (replacement L.T.) English and Social Studies Supervisor effective on or after August 1, 2021; Nicole Spina - elementary school special education teacher for the 2021-2022 school year; Alexandra Love - elementary school (replacement T.R.) special education teacher for the 2021-2022 school year; Katrina Carvalho - middle school (replacement B.F.) LDT-C for the 2021-2022 school year; Sarah Zimmerman - middle school (replacement D.B./L.S.) special education teacher for the 2021-2022 school year; Julia Bouclier - middle school (replacement C.W.) special education teacher for the 2021-2022 school year; Katie Stella - high school (replacement C.S.) English teacher for the 2021-2022 school year; Mary Beth Sieminski - high school (replacement M.A.) Library Media Specialist for the 2021-2022 school year; Barbara Jones - high school (replacement S.F.) clerk typist effective July 1, 2021; Denise Testa - high school (replacement B.J.) 10-month part-time clerk typist effective September 1, 2021; Leisha Lebron - middle school (replacement V.P.) clerk typist effective August 9, 2021. Substitute custodian(s)- $14/hr: Jessica Biasiello.
• Approve a 100-hour principal internship for Tony Burton, a student from Stockton University, in the middle school.
For programs, students and miscellaneous matters, the board most notably resolved to:
• Approve the submission of an amendment of the FY20 CARES application to reallocate public and non-public funding to meet public and non-public school needs in response to COVID-19.
• Approve the acceptance of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER) award in the amount of $5,885,938 and the submission of the ARP ESSER grant application.
• Approve the acceptance of the FY22 ESEA awards and the submission of the FY22 ESEA grant application.
• Approve the acceptance of the award and submission of the FY22 IDEA grant application for both Basic and Pre-School allocations.
• Approve to refuse the FY22 Perkins Secondary Federal Funds in the amount of $9,217. This refusal of funds is due to the additional requirements and additional staff members necessary for compliance. These additional requirements would create a financial hardship on the district.
• Approve additional Ch192/193 funding in the amount of $911 for the 2020-2021 school year.
• Approve a new high school scholarship account in the name of The Randee Smith Memorial Scholarship Award to a senior with accomplishments in the mathematics field starting for 2020-2021 school year.
• Approve the following policy for 1st reading: P-7117 Property & Facilities – Lactation Room.
• Approve the donation of an upright Wurlitzer piano to the middle school.
After programs, students and miscellaneous matters, the board then voted on items from the addendum.
“It’s a little bit larger than normal but essentially this addendum is eliminating our July meeting. We felt there wouldn’t be a need for a July meeting this year being said we had settled the contract and we’ve taken care of most of our hires. We’ll be meeting again in August,” Mento said.
For the addendum, the board most notably resolved to:
• Approve to transfer unspent appropriations and unanticipated revenue up to the amount of $800,000 to Restricted Tuition Reserve in accordance with NJAC 6A:23A-14.4.
• Approve to return unspent appropriation in the amount $320,000 to Restricted Emergency Reserve in accordance with NJAC 6A:23A-14.4.
• Approve the contract for Stephen Minchak, District Technology Coordinator, for the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approve the contract for Marjorie Crawford, Assistant Business Administrator, for the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approve the following personnel pending receipt of all necessary paperwork (current substitute pay schedule approved by the Board December 10, 2015: Regular County Substitute Certificate - $90 per day, Regular Standard State Teaching Certificate - $100 per day; substitute nurse pay schedule approved by the Board May 9, 2013: School Nurse - $200 per day): Sunday Darcangelo – elementary school ESL (English as Second Language) teacher for the 2021-2022 school year.
During the second portion of public comment, new hires from the Hammonton School District introduced themselves and thanked the board of education.
Before closing the meeting, Mento reminded the public July 11 is the deadline to file the petition to run for school board.
“We’re always looking for people who want to run if your heart’s in it for the right reason and you want to come here and help the kids and do what’s right for the children and the taxpayers. I highly encourage you to put your name in there and toss your hat in the ring,” Mento said.
For those interested in running for school board, Mento said to reach out to a board member or himself.
The next school board meeting will be held August 19 at 7 p.m. at the Samuel A. Donio Memorial Library.