South Orange - Maplewood Board of Ed Faces Opposition to Proposed Cuts
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 • 6:59am
MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Despite substantial snowfall, the South Orange and Maplewood Board of Education held its regularly-scheduled meeting last evening. Numerous residents from the school district braved the inclement weather to attend and offer commentary on the budget and the potential elimination of Student Assistance Counselors.
The procedures began with a reading of recent honors for Columbia High School students. Members of the triumphant CHS men’s fencing team were present to hear their accomplishments celebrated, as were many members of the State Championship-winning CHS robotics team.
After offering “one more round of applause” for these high-achieving students, Superintendent Brian Osborne provided a monthly update on the district’s academic goals. Extracurricular activities are thriving at the middle school and high school levels, and a new pre-kindergarten ABA class was opened on March 7. In addition, on March 21, State Report Cards that follow new performance metrics will be released.
The meeting’s larger agenda included ongoing discussion of the 2013-2014 Budget, along with consideration of a new resolution involving the Board’s ability to work with subcontractors. But first, the Board heard testimonies from members of the community. Two members of the South Orange/Maplewood Coalition on Race distributed an information packet and detailed the Coalition’s recent activities. Ethnic achievement gaps have been of special interest to the Coalition, which will be holding workshops throughout the year.
However, the issue that inspired the most charged testimonies was the possible elimination of Student Assistance Counselor positions. One CHS senior defended the SACs as sources of invaluable guidance for troubled students. And a local resident noted that “the human costs of the cuts are real” and speculated that “most people in the towns” would accept a slightly higher financial burden to keep alive positions that benefit the community.
On Thursday, March 21, the Board will re-convene for a public hearing on the 2013-2014 Budget. The next Board of Education meeting will take place on April 22. For more information, please visit www.somsd.k12.nj.us.