Once-a-Month Meetings in Store for Pinelands Regional Board of Education

Jun 20, 2018


The Pinelands Regional Board of Education is changing its meeting schedule to once a month instead of having, as it had in the past, two meetings per month, one a “working session” and the other a “regular meeting.”

Actually the new one-meeting format isn’t yet etched in stone. The July 18 meeting, which will be opened to the public at 7 p.m., will be a “trial run.” In the meantime, anyone expecting a previously scheduled 6 p.m. working session meeting on July 9 should be advised it has been canceled.

During her superintendent’s report, new Pinelands Superintendent Melissa McCooley said she would spend much of the coming summer reviewing the district’s drug policy. She also noted that she and the rest of the administrative team would review the district’s attendance policy. It currently allows students to miss 20 days of class before losing credit while the state has an 18-day limit so the district policy will have to be changed.

McCooley also reported that she had set up a meeting with Stockton University professors to brainstorm what sort of programs/partnerships the university could offer to Pinelands students. The next step, she said, would be to survey students about what they would like to see Stockton offer and then put the pieces together.

Her construction update was short. She said Epic, the district’s construction management firm for the next and largest phase of the $53.6 million worth of construction projects that had been approved by district voters in January 2017, had discovered that a time capsule had been installed in the soon-to-be replaced walls of the high school building and had requested board advice on what to do with it.

She reported that the installation of the temporary classroom units, known to much of the public as trailers, which will help alleviate crowding in the junior high school building in the 2018-19 school year while the high school building is being renovated, would start soon.

The board formally approved the acceptance of a donation of painted portraits of 42 U.S. presidents (Presidents Obama and Trump were not included) from John Ceresani. The estimated value is $35,000.

Board member Stephen Kubricki, a representative from Little Egg Harbor Township, reported that in the last month, there had been 266 disciplinary infractions at the high school and 108 of them were for students being late, 68 of whom were so late they had to serve after-school detention. But only 13 percent of the junior high school’s disciplinary infractions were for being late. A possible explanation for the difference is that the high school day started at 7:25 a.m. while the junior high school day didn’t start until 8:15.

Kubricki therefore asked that a discussion of school starting times be put on July’s agenda. He said he was concerned that early starting times could be detrimental to “learning, discipline and a variety of things.”  —R.M.



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