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Caldwell-West Caldwell Board Honors Outgoing President McNish

Carolyne Volpe Curley

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 • 2:57am

WEST CALDWELL, NJ -  On Monday, December 10th, Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education President, Maureen McNish, opened her final meeting before a room filled with former colleagues and current school staff.

The first half of the meeting dealt with business of the Board.

Board Member, Mary Davidson,  raised an issue regarding the enrollment report from James Caldwell High School which was off by 17 students from the earlier report the Board had received. The Superintendent, Dr. James Heinegg, clarified that there was a “computer issue.”   When Mary Davidson pressed the Superintendent further asking, “did you correct the problem?” Dr Heinig responded:  “Yes.”

Earlier this Fall, school districts throughout the state presented to the New Jersey Department of Education their analyses of their district’s financial position.  The Department then reports on that information which was received in their annual financial report.   Mary Davidson shared with the Board and public that the 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) had “no corrective action” necessary in regards to the state’s assessment of the Caldwell-West Caldwell District.  She thanked former Board Secretary and Administrator, Ronald Skopak, and Finance Secretary, Kerry Keane, for their efforts.

Dr. Heinegg, in his Superintendent’s Report, read a proclamation from the Board to Maureen McNish for her 9 years of service to the Caldwell-West Caldwell School Board.  Maureen McNish then thanked the Board, the Administrators, and the public for their support.  McNish reported that her crowning achievement while serving on the Board was handling the tough task of replacing Ron Skopak and former Superintendent Dr. Daniel Gerardi, both of whom were present.

McNish was handed the Proclamation along with a bouquet of flowers.  Dr. Heinegg then introduced Dr. Gerardi and Ron Skopak to make a presentation to the Caldwell-West Caldwell Education Foundation. Dr. Gerardi presented a $4,007.45 check, from the proceeds of the Retirement Gala, to Marie Lanfrank, President of the Caldwell-West Caldwell Education Foundation.   

Board President McNish reported on the district school’s ongoing Can-Can competition.  Currently, Lincoln School has donated the most non-perishables food items, per student, to the Caldwell Food Pantry.  A total of 5000 items have so far been donated.  The competition ends December 21st.   

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, each school has adopted a school that was hit hard by the storm. McNish also commended James Caldwell Principal, Dr. Kevin Barnes,  for his help operating the forklift for the West Caldwell Police Hurricane Drive.  

During the open public portion of the meeting,  Maureen McNish was again honored, this time by current and former Board Members.  Board Member,  Rosanne Hansen, said that McNish, “has shown great patience and grace as a member and leader on the board.”  Mary Davidson added to McNish, “You have served our school district with the highest regard.  You have been steadfast in your leadership as Board President.”

Regarding McNish’s leadership, Board Member, John King, commented regarding the outgoing Board President, “there were no cuts to any of the district’s programs, the property tax rate actually went down, and the year before there was no increase in the rate. She had no personal agenda, and only great accomplishments.”

Board Member, Paula Getty, expressed: “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with you, Maureen.  When I came on to the Board,  I had no idea what to expect.  But you helped me and guided me through.”

Dr. Gerardi described that McNish, “always had a balanced view of the District.”

Skopak simply said to McNish:  “Thank you.  You always came to meetings with an open mind and your main concern was always in regards to how would each issue affect the children.  That is priceless.”

Former Board Member, Kay Slattery, commented:  “thank you for your service and all of your hard work.”

Former Board Member, Jay McCann, commented regarding McNish:  “She always showed mutual respect to other Board Members.”  To McNish, McCann stated, “I want to thank you as a parent,  and as a taxpayer,  for your service.”

After all the good wishes, Board President Maureen McNish adjourned her final meeting.

Last week, at the December 3rd conference meeting, Superintendent Dr. James G. Heinegg reported that,  due to Hurricane Sandy,  the school district will be adding 2 school days to the Calendar.  The district lost 6 full days of school during the storm and  picked up 2 days with the cancellation of the New Jersey Education Association Teachers Conference.

The new calendar changes are as follows:
* Monday, January 21, 2013 - Martin Luther King Day - Early Dismissal
* Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - FULL DAY

The Finance Secretary, Kerry Keane, reported that there was no corrective action required in the independent audit which shows the sound fiscal plan from the board.  Board Member Mary Davidson responded, “that is good news” and then questioned specific items on the Bills and Claims list. Davidson then asked if there was an opportunity to refinance bonds with interest rates still at historic lows.  Keane stated that she would investigate the inquiry.  Board Member John King wanted to know the debt capacity of the Board of Education.

Board Member Rosanne Hansen attended a conference of the State Board of Education
and reported that there are services that are available for local boards, particularly legal services.  

Maureen McNish then closed the meeting to go into executive session.

For further information:
Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education
104 Gray Street
West Caldwell, NJ 07006
973-228-6979
Website: http://www.cwcboe.org

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