JACKSON – The school budget hearing was moved to May 8, the last possible date that the budget could be adopted, officials said.
This was to allow the school district more time to develop its budget which is facing a fiscal crisis this year because the state took away a lot of funding. They were looking at a $2.5 million cut in aid before a bill was passed that would return 66% of that cut.
“We are into year six of (the new funding formula) and having to cut year after year as expenses continue to climb has not made it easier and it is a perfect storm situation,” Superintendent Nicole Pormilli said.
“We’ve been working with the County Superintendent and the State Department of Education on getting onto a balanced budget. We are still not there yet and we will present something on May 8,” she said.
Board President Giuseppe Palmeri said “the budget is in the works and we will have a presentation on the budget on May 8. We had JEA (Jackson Education Association) negotiations. I am the chair of that particular committee. It is ongoing and there is nothing further to report on but the next meeting (about negotiations) will be on May 10.”
Palmeri said there were Teamsters negotiations going on as well and Board member Erica Osmond was not present at that meeting to give a report on that.
“There is nothing further to report at this time but they are looking at a meeting date,” he said.
Sylvia Rosenauer Elementary School Principal Ronald Polakowski will transfer to the Crawford-Rodriguez Elementary School in the next school year.
“Mrs. Adriann Jean-Denis, the existing principal is retiring. She is an amazing educator and will be missed tremendously. Mr. Polakowski is a good person to step into those shoes,” Pormilli explained. “He is an educational leader and will be a great fit. We plan to replace him with a new principal. We will post for a principal for the 2023-24 school year.”
Noting numerous programs and activities that go on throughout the school district, the superintendent pointed out a particular program on the middle school level, “that is the program to prevent bullying, inappropriate behavior on cell phones and social media.”
“Both schools have held multiple assemblies, multiple approaches and multiple lessons in these areas. More specifically, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has been working closely with us and has presented to every grade level about these dangers and the importance of staying safe and the importance of what you are posting,” she added.
Pormilli said, “a lot of discussions were followed up by guidance counselors. The Prosecutor’s Office also held a district wide parent night. We had 18 parents attend. It is real and a difficult challenge in schools and in society having phones and social media in the hands of our youth 24/7.”
She noted the school district continues to hold meetings, lessons and activities that stress the consequences of posting inappropriately on social media. “We have to send that message together that words have consequences whether said in person or online and that it creates a digital footprint – one that can last forever for students.”
“Working together we can address this difficult challenge,” she added. “We will continue to present our preventative programs and assemblies and lessons but it has to take all of us and we are asking for some assistance as well.”
Congrats DECA Kids
The superintendent also noted that township high school students who participated in the DECA program won an award during a conference in Atlantic City which led them to participate at the International DECA Conference held in Orlando, Florida. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.
“Congratulations to all those students,” Pormilli said.