LBI School Board Completes Committee Appointments

Feb 21, 2018

When the LBI Consolidated Board of Education met last week, it was the first time in nearly two months they were a full board. A special runoff election, held Jan. 23, to determine the Surf City representation to the school board, left only eight active members when committee assignments were determined in January. That ended last week as John McMenamin, who defeated incumbent Allyn Kain for the Surf City seat, was sworn into office.

McMenamin was appointed as an alternate representative to the board’s ad-hoc committee, which began meeting with local municipal officials in the fall to find common ground after an $18.4 million school expansion referendum was shot down. He will not attend any meetings unless another member cannot attend. There are already four active members on the committee, and a fifth board member in attendance would require the meetings to be held publicly because it would give the board a quorum.

Board member Tom Beatty, a Long Beach Township representative, is the only board member to vote against approving board committees. His issue isn’t with McMenamin or the ad-hoc committee, but with the board’s policy that all alternates attend committee meetings. For instance, an alternate member of the board’s curriculum committee is required to attend all curriculum meetings.

“I object to that. Alternates should only attend when other members can’t,” Beatty said, noting at one time the board president or vice president was able to attend every committee meeting, if they so chose, because there were only three board members required to attend. Now, a sitting committee member would need to recuse themselves in order for the president or vice president to attend a single meeting. “It doesn’t make sense. If I am the only one with a problem, I am ok with it.”

Committee meetings are scheduled in the morning, afternoon or evening, depending on the members’ availability. Changing how the committees are set up, and who can attend, would require a policy change, according to board vice-president Colette Southwick.

“I cut out of work when I need to be here,” she added.  —G.G.S.

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