2004-05-05 / Front Page
DeFonzo, Mayes to lead school board once more
DeFonzo, Mayes to lead
school board once more
BY CLARE MARIE CELANO
FREEHOLD — Peter DeFonzo, Stella Mayes and Luis DeLeon took the oath of office and retained their seats on the borough’s K-8 Board of Education when the panel held its annual reorganization meeting on April 26. Newly elected board member Adam Reich was sworn in to complete a one-year unexpired term.
All four residents won election to the board in the April 20 school election, on the same day that voters approved the board’s budget for the 2004-05 school year.
DeFonzo, Mayes and DeLeon won three-year terms.
Once the meeting began, board members unanimously re-elected DeFonzo as the panel’s president and Mayes as vice president. Mayes has been the board’s vice president since 1993.
Next up was a resolution to set the meeting dates for the coming year. The board’s meetings have traditionally been held in the library of the Park Avenue Elementary School. Board members decided to schedule three meetings at the Freehold Learning Center, Dutch Lane Road. The board will meet at the learning center on May 10, 2004, Sept. 13, 2004, and April 11, 2005.
The board appointed Sanford Brown as its attorney to serve on a fee basis, without a retainer, until June 30, 2005, and Dr. Miguel Sison as school physician for the next year. Business Administrator and Board Secretary Anthony Tonzini was appointed as the district’s affirmative action officer, public agency compliance officer, claims auditor, contracting agent and qualified purchasing agent.
Gerard Stankiewicz of Samuel Klein and Company was appointed as the board’s auditor.
During the public portion of the meeting, pre-kindergarten teacher Diane Mansfield asked board members why a position called technology coordinator was being created when the job description appeared to duplicate the position of a job already deleted from the school budget.
Mansfield said the district presently has positions called subject matter leaders. This stipend position, which is filled by six teachers in each of the district’s three schools, has been cut from the budget for the 2004-05 year. Mansfield said there are currently subject matter leaders in math, social studies, reading, science and in visual and performing arts. A technology subject matter leader is currently also on staff.
Mansfield said an item she saw on the meeting’s agenda called for the hiring of a technology coordinator. She said that "covers a lot of what our subject matter leader did."
Superintendent of Schools Philip J. Meara said the technology coordinator will not be the same position as a subject matter leader. He said the technology department has one position that is currently being outsourced.
Administrators have decided to make that an in-house position with a stipend. The stipend will come from the technology account and is not a new expenditure, officials said, noting that the person will do the work before or after school hours.
According to administrators, the technology coordinator will act as a technology coach for the faculty, provide technology support to the faculty, initiate ideas, find resources and implement solutions, serve as a resource for the faculty and perform any other duties as assigned by the director of technology.
In a later conversation, Mansfield said she met with Meara to talk about the elimination of the subject matter leader positions. She said that while she does not want to see the 18 subject matter leaders lose their $1,625 stipend, she understands that the cut needed to be made to help fund teachers’ salaries.
Meara said that in an effort to retain as many staff members as possible the board chose to cut the stipends for the subject matter leaders and apply the funds ($29,250) in the overall budget.
Another issue brought to the board by Mansfield was the "letting go" of a physical education teacher from the Freehold Learning Center.
"It’s hard to believe this position was cut," she said, asking how three physical education teachers will do the work of the four physical education teachers who are presently employed in the district.
Tonzini said schedules will be adjusted in order to allow one physical education teacher at each school to provide the necessary instruction to pupils.