Board Highlights 10.30.18
Posted on 09/04/2018

In an effort to keep the Princeton Public Schools community informed about the work of the Board of Education, a summary of every Board meeting is sent out following each meeting. The public is invited to attend Board meetings, held at the Valley Road Administration Building, and we hope these updates are helpful if you are unable to attend.  You can watch the full Board meeting  on the district’s YouTube channel.   

The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education met on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.  

Board President's Report: Board President Patrick Sullivan commented on the upcoming special election on the facilities referendum December 11 and significant accomplishments such as the recent refunding of bonds and $524,000 cost savings. On Oct. 18, Moody’s Investors Service affirmed AAA rating of Princeton’s municipal bonds, reflecting the highest rating and valuable work of the district. The Board approved the formalization of the Equity Committee.

Superintendent's Report: Superintendent Steve Cochrane paused to reflect on recent tragic events in Kentucky, Pittsburgh and nationally. He noted that public schools have aimed to prepare young people to be active citizens, and this should be elevated to encourage compassion, courage and standing up to injustice. He also noted that students returned from a successful 8th grade trip to Washington DC and learned these key lessons during visits including the African American Museum and Holocaust Museum.

Eddie Cohen, Supervisor of Science, PreK -12, presented on summer science enrichment camps, afterschool high school and middle school cohorts with STEM focus, school clubs and full year support for all students, including underrepresented groups. He also shared how a pilot program to promote flexible and active learning spaces, from PTO and PEF funding, are better meeting the needs of students. Data is also being gathered during the pilot.

The Board accepted the Superintendent's HIB decision for all cases listed in the September 20 - October 24, 2018 HIB Reports.

Board Committee Reports: 

Student board members Sam Harshbarger and Allie Rounds surveyed 160 students, freshman to senior, on the schedule change. Most responses were positive and the majority of students said it improved their overall wellness.   

Facilities committee:  The committee introduced the district’s consultant, AHERA Consultants, who spoke about recent mold remediation efforts during an especially humid season, including air sampling, follow up testing and cleaning, and ongoing corrective actions. The district is also reviewing protocols that may help improve the situation in the future. Clean up has shown positive outcome overall.  Other discussion included a comprehensive maintenance plan, review of shared services arrangement, and a review of the courtyard at Riverside Elementary School with a spring target date.

Finance committee:  The committee reviewed the auditor’s report of financial systems and cost savings initiatives. The committee noted some confusion in the community with the Dec 6th ballot, which is a statewide referendum. The bond sale refunding represents $524K saved over length of balance of the bonds, with a 2.26 interest rate.

Personnel committee: The committee noted that addresses for children attending Princeton Charter School are still being verified. Discussion included the revised athletic coach evaluation forms and forms for administrators. On Nov. 15, a substitute nurse job fair will be held. Staff recommendations for the school improvement panel was also discussed.

Policy committee:  The committee noted that policies for first and second reading were reviewed at the board meeting.  The group also discussed the transition to a new policy manual and are aiming to review quickly.

Student achievement committee: The committee reported that field trips and overnight trips were approved. Also discussed were Python course enrollment demand and possible solutions. Future enhancements to the cable channels were also noted.

Equity committee:  The committee noted that the change of status from an ad hoc committee to permanent was approved. The parent survey is open until Nov. 2. Also discussed was the role of equity leadership teams.

During the public comment period, four speakers addressed the audience.

 

Personnel: 

The board recognized two significant retirements:

Gwen Kimsal, SAC/Peer Group, after 32 years of service and Lew Goldstein, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Public  Information and Community Relations 
after 19 years of service. 

 

Policies

-No action on the first reading of the policies.

-The second reading of 1312, community complaints and inquiries, was tabled.

-The board had a second reading of the following policies:

 

2000, 2010  Concepts and Roles in Administration: Goals and Objectives

2121            Line of Responsibility

2130            Principal Evaluation

2131            Superintendent

2131.1         Employment of the Superintendent

2131.2         Disclosure of Personnel Decisions

2132            Employment and Duties of the Business Administrator/Board Secretary

2200            Administrative Employment Contracts

2210            Administrative Leeway in Absence of Board Policy

2224            Nondiscrimination/Affirmative Action

2240            Research, Evaluation and Planning

2255            Action Planning for NJQSAC

 

 

Actions

  • The board tabled Evaluation Forms for 2018-2019 Athletics.
  • The board approved staff members to serve on the school improvement panels.
  • The board approved student day field trips and overnight trips.
  • The board approved with recommendations the coach evaluation forms for 2018-2019 athletics
  • All consent items passed.

 

Upcoming Dates:

All public meetings are held at the Valley Road Administration Building, unless otherwise noted.

 

November 12 at 12:00 pm: Equity Committee

November 16 at 8:30 am: Policy Committee

November 16 at 10:15 am: Policy Committee (open to the public)

November 16 at 11:30 am: Student Achievement Committee

November 19 at 8:45 am: Personnel Committee

November 26 at 11:00 am: Facilities Committee

November 26 at 12:30 pm: Facilities Committee (open to the public)

November 27 at 10:30 am: Finance Committee (open to the public)

November 27 at 7:30 pm:  Public Board Meeting

November 30 at 11:30 am: Student Achievement (open to the public)