Verona Board Discusses Mold Remediation
Also, school board hears presentation from Heart of Hope parents, students, teacher.
Parents and students involved in the Verona school district’s Heart of Hope program comprised the majority of the audience at Tuesday night’s Verona Board of Education meeting.
The art program, which was honored prior to regular board meeting, has fourth-grade art students from the Brookdale Avenue and F.N. Brown schools making ceramic hearts with notes for cancer patients in local hospitals.
Veteran art teacher Joni Jasterzbski, who has taught art for 25 years, brought the program into the fourth grade curriculum three years ago.
Both students and parents addressed the board about what they have done while in the program. The students also read a few notes from the cancer patients showing how it makes a difference.
“We always say we are small in acreage, but we’re big on hearts,” said parent Ann Joslin.
Verona, so far, has made 2,500 Hearts of Hope said Jasterzbski, who is also a cancer survivor. She had received a heart as part of the program and wanted to bring the program to the school.
The program is part of interregnum.org and funded by the SCA.
After the presentation, the regular meeting took place, where the main issue discussed was mold in the front of the F.M. Brown School.
Buildings and Grounds Board Member Glenn Elliot said his initial estimates on different scenarios for cleanup could range from $40,000 to near $140,000.
“It’s really extensive and expensive work,” Elliot said.
Superintendent Steve Forte explained an estimate he received last this week set the price tag for the first phase of construction at $40,000, which he expected to be half of the cost. They both agreed this would drastically reduce the cost and decided that $75,000 should be allocated for the work.
Cheryl Nardino also reminded the board that the previously hired architect suggested waiting until the spring to see where the leaks come in and if the interim construction fixed the problem before doing any work.
“It doesn’t need to have architect’s plans but it needs to be a line item for March 27,” which is the approval of the budget, said Vice President Joseph Bellino.
“It won’t affect the budget in anyway; it will just take it out of the capital reserve,” he said.
Bellino also said “the budget was not going to change (from the preliminary budget) on any line except from the capital budget that was discussed earlier,” referring to the money for buildings and grounds.
In other business, the board:
• Discussed performance contracts to see if a pending energy audit would benefit the schools. For example, a performance contract would help the school replace boilers at a smaller cost, but the district would be locked into a contract to pay whatever they save on energy to the company. The equipment would be installed and be repaired by the company under contact. The energy audit will cost $40,000, but Elliot said the State Local Government Energy Audit would reimburse the board.
• Forte updated the board on his recent discussions with after school program providers the YMCA and Tiny Treasures. He plans to have official proposals by March 26. Forte explained he is working to organize the programs with the schools and it is possible that one school might be a pilot school, where the board controls the administrative portion of the program.
• Bellino said the 2010-2011 budget is projected to break even because of the offset of ups and down in the budget. For example, the warm weather has only cost the schools $65,000 in heat. Conversely, an example of an overage was the out of districts tuition, which was more than $30,000, and collected tuition was less than $12,000 of what was budgeted last year.
• A resolution for revised curriculum for Math grade 6, Science grades 5 and 6 and Chemistry was tabled because the board did not receive the new curriculum to approve.
The board also approved:
• A change to the of out district student from Washington at Ridgewood School to New Beginnings School in Fairfield for the rest of the school year at a cost of $316.24 per day.
• The appointments of teachers, Danielle Kelly, for 13 hours, Andor Kish, for 14 hours, Debbie Marsano, for 13 hours and Melissa Slavin, for 13 hours, to prepare seventh and eighth-grade students for NJASK at $60 per hour, from March 5 to April 19.
• For the Girls Learn International and Teens for Troops to be a club on a trial basis with no cost to the district for the rest of the school year.
• Jacqueline Iannucci as a volunteer girls track coach for this school year.
• Jessica Jaruzyk to start on or before April 14 as a teacher at Laning Avenue School with a salary of $61,711.
• Vincent Peri as the medical leave replacement for Judy Szybist starting March 14 at Brookdale Avenue School of Music at a rate of $102.36 per diem, ending on June 30, 2012.
• Jackie Miskinis, Melissa Slavin, Lily Szulc and Stacey Perry as home instructors for this school year.
• Adam Ahmad, Joanne Butterly, Nancy Patrick, Elizabeth Smillie and Karell Voelkl as substitute teachers for the rest of the school year.
• Elizabeth Smillie also as substitute secretary and Ellen Conover as substitute lunch aide.
• The retirement of Joe Cerretta as custodian at Forest Avenue Elementary School starting March 30, 2012.