Monday, May 13, 2013
Update at Monday night's BOE meeting reveals that after less than a month of discussions, the Board and teachers' union are at a standstill.
With the current teachers' contract set to expire on June 30, negotiations between the South Orange - Maplewood Board of Education and the South Orange Maplewood Education Association (SOMEA) teachers' union -- which only began in April -- appear to be at a stalemate. Sandra Karriem, chairperson of the BOE negotiating task force, said Monday night that SOMEA's representative told the board last month that the union did not agree with any of the board's proposals and therefore saw "no reason to move forward or to continue meeting." Karriem said SOMEA has officially filed a declaration of impasse with the State of New Jersey's Public Employment Relations Committee (PERC), which means "that SOMEA is unwilling to negotiate further without …
Friday, February 22, 2013
Administration presented cuts on Wednesday as a way to plug a $2.8 million shortfall.
(Editor's note: figures for the estimated tax impact of proposed budget on residents have been corrected with updated numbers). The South Orange - Maplewood School District has proposed cutting 19 full time positions and slashing the technology "wish list" to plug an estimated $2.8 million gap in the 2013-14 budget year. Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider presented the proposal to the members of the Board of Education in a special workshop Wednesday night. The document is available on the district's website and can be seen here. The proposal would add $475,000 of the district's banked cap -- saved from other years when the board has not used it -- to the operating budget. The resulting tax impact, including debt service, would be 2.…
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education will discuss using banked cap in the face of a 2013-14 budget gap that would require cutting 20 full-time positions.
The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education has agreed to hold an extra meeting in February to discuss the possible impact of using "banked cap" to plug — at least in part — an estimated $2.7 million budget gap in the 2013-14 budget year. (Currently, South Orange-Maplewood has $1.5 million left on its banked cap that it did not use in previous years that it can use to raise the tax levy over the state mandated 2% cap, $960,000 of which will expire if not used.) The BOE decided on the extra meeting after a presentation by School District Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider on Monday night. The special meeting would be a hypothetical exercise in what programs and jobs could be saved by using the additional tax levies that would be …
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
A recap of recent issues and discussions, ahead of next week's BOE meeting.
It's a busy time in the South Orange-Maplewood School District, as the Board of Education (BOE) is in the thick of budget discussions for the 2013-14 school year. The board has been discussing the upcoming budget since the beginning of this school year. The next board meeting is on Monday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. (in the District Meeting Room at 525 Academy St.) If you'd like to get up to speed before then, here is a brief summary of what's going on in the district: State of the District Superintendent Brian Osborne recently gave his annual State of the District address; for more information click here. International Baccalaureate/Middle Years Program The district is currently training teachers and staff in anticipation of launching the IB/…
Monday, June 25, 2012
The district has not yet confirmed the date change
The Donaldson hearing scheduled for Steven Cohen has been postponed until mid-July, according to numerous sources. The district has not yet confirmed or replied to inquiries. It is not clear if Kathleen McCort's hearing has also been rescheduled. Parents and students in the district spread today's news quickly via email, facebook and twitter. According to several parents who are close to the source, Cohen's hearing will take place on July 16, when a regular Board of Education meeting is also scheduled. Patch will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. We regret that we can't yet confirm the time and date of the hearing(s).
Friday, June 15, 2012
A group made up of parents and students showed up in front of the school administration building, hoping to get answers.
For full background on this story, visit our previous coverage detailing the fact that the FNL high school comedy sketch show was cancelled and moved; read the school district's statement; hear FNL parents/students speak out; read about the planning of the protest by FNL members; and hear about how two FNL students previously excluded have now been allowed to attend prom. Columbia High School students and parents gathered outside the South Orange-Maplewood School District offices Friday afternoon to protest punishments handed down to five students after a comedy sketch they performed last week was deemed offensive by the school. The “Funny Five,” as their classmates have come to call them, were notified Tuesday that they were to serve “…
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Three sculptures by Ash Lumpkin, CHS '12, are in the Board room.
Three sculptures by senior Ash Lumpkin are currently on display at the Board of Education building. They stand in the center of the board room, a visible presence even when the room is full. Superintendent Brian Osborne said on Monday night at the Board of Education meeting that Lumpkin has been accepted to The Cooper Union to study art. The three works include a table and chair; a stack of Bibles and salt; and bricks and sandbags. Lumpkin explains in a handout that the first two works consider "preservation." The third work is "an exploration of the interaction between two different, but equally important, materials, one place on the other."
Friday, March 30, 2012
South Orange Trustee Michael Goldberg presents his position that the school tax levy should not be raised above 2%.
Last year, South Orange residents were quite surprised to receive their tax bills, which showed an increase of 4% in the School portion of the bill. With the average homeowner already paying over $15,000 per year in property taxes and the school taxes making up the large majority of our bill, that resulted in a material increase during a year when people were still seeing flat or declining incomes. Last November, I along with other members of the Board of School Estimate made it crystal, crystal clear that the Board of Education should not raise taxes any higher than 2% going forward. While I am well aware that the 2% “CAP” imposed by the State ALLOWS for increase greater than 2% (due to exemptions, cap banking etc), that does not mean …
Thursday, March 15, 2012
The budget now moves on to the Board of School Estimate.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
The Board of Education unanimously approved the preliminary budget for the 2012-2013 school year at its March 12 meeting. The budget now goes to the Board of School Estimate, which is responsible for taking action to levy the 2012-2013 school tax. Budget documents, including a PowerPoint overview, are available on the District Website. For an in-depth discussion of the budget from the March 5 Board of Education meeting, read here. The Board of School Estimate met on March 14 to establish an understanding of the Board of Education’s proposed budget. Action will be taken when the Board of School Estimate reconvenes at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 to levy the 2012-2013 school tax. Both meetings will take place at the Board of …
Sunday, March 11, 2012
The writer is a candidate for the Board of Education.
On March 5, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education voted to adopt the Superintendent’s Middle School Transformation proposal. As part of this plan, middle school Social Studies and Science will be completely deleveled in all grades and Language Arts will be completely deleveled in all grades except for a small cluster of 8th graders (comprising 12-15%) of students who will take 9th grade Language Arts starting in the 2013-14 school year. We will also be adopting the International Baccalaureate with its accompanying curricular, assessment and pedagogical changes. I support an upwards-pushing leveling system with honors classes and thus disagree with the Board of Education majority on complete deleveling. However, as someone who, if …