Tuckerton School Board Retains President Horner

Jan 08, 2019

The Tuckerton Elementary Board of Education has maintained its leadership for another year by unanimously voting for Trish Horner to retain her role as president. During the reorganization meeting on Jan. 7, Jennifer Quintenz and Renee Gioiello were sworn in for additional three-year terms and former board member Alison Sanford was appointed to fill an unexpired one-year term. Quintenz was unanimously elected as vice president.

Horner then asked for volunteers to fill three committees.

This year the board will be negotiating teacher contracts with the Tuckerton Educational Association. Gioiello volunteered to be on the negotiating committee with Horner. The teachers contracts expire in June. Gioiello will also work with Sanford on personnel issues as part of that committee.

Anna Morey and Deborah McMunn will make up the finance and operations committee with Ryan Short helping on buildings and grounds issues.

Short and Quintenz will make up the policy and legislation committee.

Board auditor Richard Hellenbrecht said he did not have the complete audit for the board’s review because of an issue with the state. The state has been renegotiating rules governing pensions and as such, this has held up school audit reports across the state, said Hellenbrecht, frustrated with the lack of progress on the issue. Usually he has audits ready for school boards by October or November; the delay has put his work routine off kilter. “Pension numbers have nothing to do with budgeting,” he noted.

He could tell the board informally that they had a good audit: “I have no comments or recommendations, and the school is in good shape,” he said. The fund balance for the 2019-20 budget has been drawn down $1,645,056, which is $283,000 more than last year by the same time. The school has $8,632 in excess surplus that must be used for tax relief. “You could put more in as the district is in good shape financially, even with the construction you have done.”

Superintendent Janet Gangemi asked if there was money in the capital budget for additional improvements to security. The school has planned key fobs for the doors. Hellenbrecht thought there was $200,000 earmarked for that project.

Gangemi reported there are just a few issues with the parking lot to be fixed but besides that, now that a heating issue is fixed, the school construction project “for all intents and purposes is done!” she said.

School enrollment is up this year with 295 students. “Enrollment is up the first time in years,” said Gangemi. “That’s good, we have the capacity.”

But the district is in need of adding hours for speech therapist Ev Szczotka to spend with the preschool disabled children. Szczotka will add Wednesdays to her schedule for an additional $525 per week. The board also hired Samantha Mattina as a full-time instructional aide at $14.98 per hour, 5.5 hours a day for a total of $8,980 to assist with the preschool disabled.

Learning consultant and reading specialist Carole Comfort will hold a workshop for special education teachers to impart her knowledge. Cost is $595.

“Our speech needs are exploding,” said Gangemi. “Our preschool disabled are basically non-verbal.” Comfort has much experience in this area and will have some new ideas for the teachers to utilize, she said.

The board was pleased to hear that technology coordinator Kyle Calderwood was invited to attend a British Education Training and Technology conference in London as a Skype master teacher. He will explain how the Tuckerton Elementary District uses Skype in the classroom.

Principal Stephanie Wroniuk and teacher Christina Smith will attend a grant award workshop in Atlantic City on the New Healthy School Edible Garden program as part of a $1,500 grant they received from Atlanticare.

“We just received another $1,500,” said Wroniuk. The “Fuel Up to Play 60” program is a healthy eating choice program combined with recess activity and sponsored by the National Football League and the National Dairy Council.

– Pat Johnson


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