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New Madison School Board Members Lajewski, Habib Sworn in

Liz Keill

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 • 10:26pm

MADISON, NJ – The Board of Education started off its Jan. 7 meeting with the swearing in new board members Leslie Lajewski and Johanna Habib by School Business Administrator Gary Lane.

Habib had received 1,904 votes and Lajewski, 2,130. Thomas Piskula also ran, garnering 1,579 votes.

The board elected Lisa Ellis as returning president and Kevin Blair as vice-president. Blair replaces Patrick Rowe, who now serves on the Borough Council. Blair thanked everyone on the board for their support and said, “I will do my best.”

Superintendent of Schools Michael Rossi said new programming will be coming up on the local channel and content will grow. A district newsletter is expected out next week. “We’ll have a slate of presentations over the next several board meetings,” he said.

Board member Thomas Haralampoudis questioned several expense items on the agenda, an auditor cost not to exceed $40,400, with a 2 percent increase of $800 and attorney services of $180 an hour.

Board member David Arthur said it was good to question those fees, but did not make sense to “switch midstream in complicated cases. We need to consider the history and kinds of services.”

Board President Ellis said, “The process can take quite a bit of time,” and should be considered for September. Arthur suggested comparing the fees to the last time they were approved.

Both Arthur and Haralampoudis approved the financial items with reservations.

The board also discussed posting agenda items and attachments on the web and how firm a cutoff date should be. Lane said there are often last minute requests and that he is hesitant to post something that might need to be changed. But board member James Novotny called for firm deadlines. “I don’t like surprises,” he said. The board agreed to study the matter further.

Parent Joseph Kennedy asked about computer science programs and whether there were any plans to offer more than virtual programs.

“That’s a fair observation,” Rossi said. “I’ll talk to the curriculum committee and see if we can make it happen.”

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the Madison High School media center. 

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