Outgoing Official Describes Needed School Upgrades

Jackson School Board members listen to School District Facilities Director Edward Ostroff discuss his department’s budget during a recent school board meeting held at Jackson Memorial High School. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  JACKSON – As Board of Education members prepare to fill a board seat this month, they will also need to turn their attention in the months ahead to filling another vacancy.

  The Board voted to approve the retirement of Edward Ostroff who has served as the district’s facilities/capital projects director for many years.

  Ostroff’s retirement will take effect in August. He presented a report in relation to the status of capital projects which are a priority this year.

  “I tried to deny and not take the letter from Mr. Ostroff but he wouldn’t have it,” Superintendent Nicole Pormilli said, noting that he would be missed and his hard work over the years was appreciated.

  “He is an incredible asset to this district and the Board recognizes all the work he has done here to help us keep up our facilities,” Pormilli said. She noted that Ostroff had overseen the construction of the school district’s satellite transportation facility that was completed last year.

  “These are big shoes to fill and I wanted to say thank you,” she added.

  Ostroff was among staff members who spoke during a recent school board meeting about what their respective office was planning to do and the limitations they were facing due to the drastic state aid funding cut that the district is facing this year.

   In discussing his 2021-22 building and grounds budget, Ostroff said regarding cleaning, repairs and maintenance “we have a slight increase because we added another building for our transportation center near Liberty High School. In general supplies we have a slight increase for the addition of that new building.”

  Miscellaneous expenditures stayed flat and non-instructional equipment was actually reduced by below $10,000 and professional services is flat. The energy budget reflects a $25,000 decrease. That is not related to the ESIP (Energy Savings Improvement Program), he said. That is related to other energy savings.

Photo by Bob Vosseller

  Ostroff noted “we are currently proposing $263,000 in capital improvements throughout the district.”

  “Those are what we consider to be tier one projects which are things that are absolutely necessary. Normally that has to do with health and safety throughout the district,” Ostroff added. “Anyone who has been to Memorial High School knows the current condition of our tennis courts. It has been 20 years or more since those courts were resurfaced.”

  “We were able to fit into the budget two years ago Liberty’s (tennis courts) but Memorial’s are long overdue,” he added.

  Ostroff also mentioned that the district was under a mandate the Ocean County Department of Education that “we continue to upgrade our trailers. We have 60 trailers throughout the district. We are continuing that program.”

  He said such work involved vinyl siding and roof repairs and window replacements. “We desperately need to replace the 4th grade exit stairs at Switlik (Elementary School).”

  “Looking ahead there was another $1,400,000 worth of capital improvements that I had included in tier one that I excluded obviously for budgetary reasons,” Ostroff said.

  Ostroff noted a main entrance roadway at Memorial High School that had been “continuously patched. It almost looks like a quilt it has been patched so many times.”

  He also noted water storage tanks at the (Carl W.) Goetz Middle School “that we are hoping to try and figure out a way to replace the boilers in that boiler room.”

  He also mentioned work that needed to be done at the Crawford (Rodriguez Elementary) School.

  Ostroff also said $600,000 was earmarked for tier two projects while tier three projects which include all other projects throughout the district totals about $20 million.

  Noting some good news, Ostroff said that the district had applied for a grant as part of a $10 billion settlement case which $39 million was allocated to New Jersey for grant funding.

  The grants were for the replacement of outdated vehicles. “I am happy to report that we were successful and were awarded a grant to replace all our garbage trucks and the grant will furnish us with two fully electric garbage trucks,” Ostroff said.

  “Our estimated cost for replacing these trucks was $280,000 each. The grant that we received is $1.5 million which includes four charging stations and money allocated for the infrastructure improvements for us to be able to operate those two trucks. This is probably six months out from when we will receive them. It is very difficult to budget the kind of money to replace that kind of vehicle,” Ostroff said.

  Ostroff noted that the district’s recycling vehicle that he showed a picture of during his PowerPoint presentation to the board was one he had driven 25 years ago. “That is how long it has been on the road so we were just thrilled to be able to get this grant.”