[Live Stream] Collingswood Board of Education Meeting 3/18/2019

This meeting for the Collingswood Board of Education was held earlier in the month than usual for approval of Budgetary Items. Highlights included:
A vote to increase the school’s budget for mental health services, a vote to go to bid for the resurfacing/repair of the Collingswood High School Track, dedication for the JV tennis courts, and public comment highlights regarding Transgender Students.

 

Live Stream:

 

 

The Complete Agenda May Be Seen Here: http://www.boarddocs.com/nj/colps/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=B9RTXC5F40FC

Committee of the Whole Highlights

  • Ms. Kaiden and Ms. Saverino both made comments in response to Mr. Stauts’s comment at last month’s meeting.
  • Mr. Stauts is defended his position from last month’s meeting.
  • Ms. Henry spoke on having liaisons from the Board of Education to the Borough of Collingswood
  • Mr. Waugh, Ms. Brooks, and Ms. Saverino expressed an interest in participating as part of a school district – Collingswood Borough liason program

Highlights From The Agenda:

  • A vote to increase the school’s budget for mental health services.

“Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-5 (d)(9), N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-39 and N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-12.1,The
Collingswood Board of Education has determined the need to request additional funds from the voters via a separate proposal to the 2019-2020 budget”

“In addition to the regular advertised budget, The Collingswood Board of Education will seek approval from the district’s legal voters to raise an additional $225,000 for counselors/mental health services. The additional levy will provide funds for professional mental health services and will result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy. These proposed additional expenditures are in addition to those necessary to achieve the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.”

http://www.boarddocs.com/nj/colps/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BADR8B5E56D3

MEANING: There will be a tax increase so that the District will have funds available for mental health services for our students. This is a topic that had come up on a recurring way in the Equity Committee Meetings that are hosted by the Board of Education.

Additionally, there is a bill at the state Legislature, that was introduced in February 2018 for the purpose to: “Establishes certain requirements and conditions concerning changes to DHS
reimbursement system for mental health and substance use disorder treatment services; appropriates $10 million. ” The Bill A4776 may be seen here. 

Also of Note Regarding Mental Health In Schools:

Earlier this month, the NJ State Legislature approved the bill S2861/3081 Scs (SCS) That requires health curriculum for public school students in grades kindergarten through 12 to include instruction on mental health. The act will be effective immediately and will first apply to the 2020-2021 school year. The district will need to amend the PE curriculum map. Currently Suicide Prevention is included at the state level and is also specifically listed in Collingswood Curriculum Map for grades K-2 and 9. Mental Health and/or Stress is covered in some way at all grade levels.

S2861/3081 Scs (SCS) Requires health curriculum for public school students in grades kindergarten through 12 to include instruction on mental health.
From the Senate Education Committee:

“Under the substitute, the instruction in mental health must be adapted to the age and understanding of the students and will be incorporated as part of the school district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education.”

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S3000/2861_U1.PDF

 

Presentations

Budget Presentation

  • Dr. Oswald is brought up some budget issues that the board should be aware of for the vote tonight
  • an additional teacher and case manager at Tatem
  • Chomebooks swap is in full cycle
  • Upgrades were made to the security at the Middle and High Schools
  • The High School TV studio has some additions
  • along with other items like the stadium project as outlined in last month’s presentation from Mr. Hird
  • preschool, Full day has expanded for next school year
  • increasing high school special education position from half-time to full time
  • increasing one member for the child study team
  • Preschool staff will be growing, but there is separate funding for that
  • K-12 language arts is getting curriculum review
  • K-5 resources will also support literacy growth
  • Work to align 6-12 digital resource to support the literacy growth initiatives
  • 165 general education preschool (all seats are filled) and there will be a pre-school program for students with disabilities at Zane North
  • As per last month’s report for grounds, the Science wing on the high school needs to be replaced
  • the mulch needs to be replaced at the elementary level schools
  • there will be money set aside for resurfacing a portion of the road in Knight Park
  • administrative offices and preschool space also has some funds listed in the budget
  • Stadium Improvements For This Year’s Budget:
  • resurface track
  • resurface basketball courts
  • pour concrete pads for bleachers
  • install 250-300 seats (for 900 total)
  • new gate and fencing
  • The Equity Committee will continue into next year.
  • Still to be decided for the Stadium will be Restrooms, Concession/Fundraising Field Space, and
  • Possibilities for the 18-21 year old program

Highlight For Tax Payers:

  • One item stood out as a recommendation from every committee- Increased Mental Health support. Mental health funding is outlined below
  • The BOE decided that there will be a ballot question for an additional $225,000 in November
  • If the November Ballot is approved, an additional $48.38 increase per average household (for mental health services) This question will not cost anything extra per the county clerk as there will already be an election.
  • already $75.63 increase is expected.

The local tax levy

  • 45% of school funding comes from taxes.
  • 29% from State Aid
  • 18% tuition from sending districts
  • 1% Misc
  • Activity Fees
  • SEMI

Spend:

  • 64% Instruction
  • 13% Student Services
  • 8% Administration
  • 15% Facilities

 

Facility Dedication Presentation

The presentation was given by the girls tennis captains are working to have the JV courts named after a coach Jerry Cabnet

From the Collingswood Athletic Hall of Fame website:

Jerry Cabnet, on the basis of his record, was the best boys tennis player ever to wear the Blue and Gold. He was 39-1 in scholastic competition from 1961-63. His only loss came in his sophomore year when he played at #2 singles behind his late brother Lou, also an outstanding player. Moving up to first singles, he was undefeated in his junior and senior years and won every scholastic competition open to him. His steady baseline game was more than a match for every frustrated opponent. In those days, coach Chet Ollinger entered his Colls High team in a Saturday league with the Philadelphia-area country club teams featuring many of the best players in the Delaware Valley. Led by the Cabnets, Collingswood won the league championship in 1961 and Lou and Jerry captained the doubles title. Jerry started at college at Temple, then served in the Army at Okinawa. Then, in his mid-20s, he completed his college degree at Rutgers-Camden and was once again a dominant tennis player at first singles.

 

Policy First Readings

There were No first readings of policies

 

Other Agenda Highlights:

During the report from the Curriculum Committee, Ms. Kaiden reported how there is work being done to make the report cards more consistent across all of the schools

 

Public Comment Highlights:

  • A caregiver made a comment in response to the statements made earlier about the Collingswood district’s Transgender student policy.  This community member is speaking on the record to ask for the Board to speak more carefully on the issues and that Mr. Stauts will do better and learn from the resources that are available from the district. Transgender Student Policy
  • A second community member speaking on the Transgender policy statements made earlier tonight. This community member is referenced notes from the notes from last month’s meeting.   This community member had pointed out that our Board has a responsibility to keep our students safe and that the board has access to education.
  • After Mr. Stauts responded to the second speaker. Ms. Henry calls the meeting to order, reminding the public and the board that public comment is not intended to be a conversation or a way to work out issues with the board.
  • Dr. Oswald clarified his feeling on the Transgender Student policy. Emphasizing that it isn’t because it is required, but that treating our students with respect is the right thing to do.
  • Another community member, one who specializes in the support of transgender children, spoke as well. They advocated for the Board being “beacons of support”.
  • Another caregiver wanted to echo the wonderful work being done by the district. They addressed Mr. Stauts in how he must care for young women, but advised that Mr. Stauts should become educated on this issue. And offered an open invitation to talk on the issue.
  • A resident asked if a PR company will be asked about the ballot question for the increased spending on Mental Health support.
  • A member of the community is asking if 13.02 the retirement of a library specialist meant that this staff member will be replaced for the retirement of a media specialist
  • Also for the better communication method for BOE members like individual email addresses
  • Members of the Collingswood Educational Advocacy Group made public comments on the importance of Libraries in our Elementary Schools and invited the Board of Education, Superintendent and anyone in attendance to join us for the Library Advocacy Event Hosted on 3/19/19 at the Collingswood Public Library.
  • Ms. Henry commented that classroom-based learning is equivalent to learning that could be held with library space. Ms. Henry asked that if anyone has specific questions to reach out to the board via email.

 

The meeting then adjourned at 8:00pm

 

The Next Meeting for the Collingswood Board of Education Will Be Monday, April 29 2019 at 6:30pm at Zane North School’s All Purpose Room.

Jen R

Jen R

Jen Rossi, Vice President Jen Rossi moved to Collingswood with her spouse in 2012. She is a graduate of Georgian Court University with a Bachelor's Degree in Education and Fine Art. She has a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing in Elementary Education (K-5) and as a Teacher of Fine Art (K-12). After a part-time floating position and substitute teaching, Jen returned to the corporate world. Professionally Jen is a Digital Marketing Manager for a privately owned insurance brokerage, providing important information on how to reduce the risks in today's business world: ranging from slip and fall injuries to computer network hacks. Getting the information in the hands of people who need it with the help of guidebooks, webinars, instructional videos, blog posts, social media alerts, and online courses. With this background in education and knowledge of the process for communicating important information to anyone willing to hear it, Jen focuses her energy on making a big impact with small things- making life a little more convenient, helping people get informed, keeping things practical and timely, and encouraging achievable goals for success. In her free time, Jen loves upcycling, improving, and otherwise repurposing materials to the delight of family, neighbors, and Etsy customers. She looks forward to running down questions and getting helpful information into social feeds and inboxes of members of the Collingswood community.