Busing and Extracurriculars Top Discussion Items at Madison's First Board of Education Meeting for 2010-2011
Monday, September 20, 2010 • 1:26am
MADISON, NJ - The quality and efficiency of the transportation provided to Torey J. Sabatini Elementary School students was called into question at the Madison Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, September 14.
"I have a big problem with the way the current situation is now," Karin Szotak, of Madison, told the Board. She, along with other parents, have observed their children's home and school arrival times, and claim that there are a number of inconsistencies. Among them, the bus is arriving too early and too late for morning pick up. There are also significant differences in the times the children arrive home in the afternoon. Szotak additionally informed the Board that the bus was 20 minutes late to school one morning because the driver brought a student back home for a forgotten instrument.
Business Administrator and Board Secretary Gary Lane stated that the issue had already been brought to the Board's attention, and he has spoken with the service about the problem. He was told that the driver, who is new this year, has been instructed to follow the routes exactly. Lane suggested adding a temporary supervisor to ride this route, but no conclusion has been made.
The high school route has been experiencing similar problems, and a new driver has been requested.
With the exception of Board member Linda Gilbert, new extracurricular appointments were approved. "I really think the choreographer should not have been hired, and that's why I voted no," Gilbert stated.
Athletic Director Shawn Dowling was asked to speak about recent adjustments made to the sports program because of budget cuts. (The Madison School District lost 100% of its state aid this year.) Dowling explained that in an effort to reduce expenses in the most effective way, cuts were made to services, such as extra busing, rather than staffing, where possible. All staff cuts made affected sub-varsity sports only; when eliminating coaching positions became impossible to avoid, he said his policy was, "last hired, first fired."
"It wasn't the most strategic thing to do, but I felt it was fair considering [the coaches'] experience and their years on the job," he said.
Interim Superintendent Dr. James Dwyer reported that an additional first grade section will be added to Kings Road School because of high enrollment, and that the position has been filled. Board President Lisa Ellis thanked him for the quick decision and action.
The next meeting of the Madison Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, September 21, at 7:30 pm in the Alice Perlaw Media Center at Madison High School.