Board Highlights 12.18.18
Posted on 11/29/2018

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, December 18, 2018.  

 

Board President's Report: Members of the board provided tributes to departing Board President Patrick Sullivan, who served for 6 ½ years and departing board member Dafna Kendal, who served for three years. (Read the full resolutions and accomplishments on the board agenda).

 

Superintendent Steve Cochrane commented on Patrick Sullivan’s legacy of listening to student and community voices, and his leadership during the referendum process. He discussed Dafna Kendal’s passionate focus on optimal education for every child, equity, and her student focus of numerous initiatives.

 

President Sullivan provided a recap of significant achievements shared by outgoing board members and administrators. Members of the public provided words of thanks to the departing board members.

 

President Sullivan also thanked the community for their input regarding the recently passed school facilities referendum on December 11.

 

The Board attested that merit goals were achieved by the superintendent.

 

Superintendent's Report: Superintendent Cochrane echoed recent achievements and the passing of the $26.9 million school bond referendum. He thanked the board for its dedication as well as administrators, parents, the community and all who participated and shared their voices during the process.

 

Architect Scott Downie, Speizle Architectural Group, discussed next steps for school facilities following the election, including the start of the engineering design process and expected timeline.

 

The superintendent discussed the process involved in the development of of the 2019-20 school calendar.

 

Board Committee Reports: 

Student board member Sam Harshbarger reported on extracurricular activities findings from a student survey, including participation challenges and club leadership selection. Next month, student representatives will examine homework and topics raised in the student achievement committee.

 

Facilities committee:  The committee thanked the community for its involvement in passing the school facilities referendum. Also discussed were the construction of an amphitheater at Johnson Park, which will be funded by JP PTO, and the courtyard project at Riverside. An update on the energy audit was also provided.

 

Finance committee:  The committee recently met with bond advisers on terms of the bonds, 20 years at about 3.5% interest rate, and determined the sale of the bonds on January 9.

 

Personnel committee: The committee commented on the continued work of student services to schedule residency appointments with charter school families, and the mentoring program for administrators. The committee reported that the first round of interviews for upcoming vacancies to lead Human Resources has begun, and commented on the positions for Business Administrator and High School principal.  

 

Policy committee:  The committee continues to meet to review and consolidate the policy manual.

 

Student achievement committee: The committee reported on upcoming field trips, the first draft of district calendar and changes within PHS program of studies. The Dual Language Immersion program at Community Park was also discussed, as well as YMCA and YWCA programs in elementary schools. 

 

Equity committee:  The committee reviewed equity in the arts and participation, changes in athletics and new initiatives and funding for middle school field trips.

 

Personnel: 

Superintendent Cochrane commented on the achievements of retiring administrators: PHS principal Gary Snyder, who served 15 years and brought significant changes such as the later start to the school day; Stephanie Kennedy, who served 21 years as business administrator, and her stewardship for the benefit of students. The retirements were approved by the Board.

 

- The Board approved the appointment of Thomas M. Venanzi as Interim Business Administrator/Board Secretary. 

 

-The Board consented to the NJEA agreement: Janus Decision.

 

- All other personnel items, including the mentoring program for administrators, passed.

 

Policies:

-No action on the First Reading items.

-The Board approved the Second Reading items (K2) and tabled Policy 3542.

 

Actions:

-The Board approved the Determination of Form & details of $26,928,000 of school bonds.

-All consent items passed.

 

Upcoming Dates: All public meetings are held at the Valley Road Administration Building, unless otherwise noted. The following meetings are open to the public.

January 3 at 7:00 pm, Board organization meeting

January 5 at 8:00 am, Board retreat

January 11 at 11:30 am, Student Achievement Committee meeting