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New Providence School Board to Shorten February 2014 Vacation; Responds to Auditor Recommendations

Mike Neavill

Friday, December 14, 2012 • 12:03pm

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – In order to extend the number of weather-related emergency days, the New Providence Board of Education is poised to reduce the length of its traditional February Presidents’ Day recess.

For years the winter break for students and teachers consisted of five days, but come February 2014 that number will be reduced to three.  The Schools Superintendent Dr. David Miceli said the two saved days will be used to expand the number of emergency closing days from two to four.

“If we don’t use all the days, up to two will be added to the Memorial Day (2014) weekend,” Dr. Miceli said.

The changes were prompted by the School District’s recent experience with Hurricane Sandy when schools were closed for five days.  Officials implemented plans to recover those lost days without extending the school year thanks, in large part, to the cancellation of the NJEA convention.

As things stand now, the winter break for February 18 – 23, 2013 is still intact but one or more days could be in jeopardy if schools have to close for weather related reasons.

At last night’s meeting (Thursday, Dec. 13), there seemed to be a unanimous consensus to implement the 2013 – 14 proposed changes at the Board’s next meeting in January.

Also at last night’s meeting, the Board was presented with a 130 page audit report by school auditors Matthew Donohue and Jason Gironda.

“As a result of running an efficient operation, you have a $25,000 surplus in your food service budget,” Mr. Donohue told the Board.

He added that cash balances should be at a level of approximately three months of average expenditures and the excess should be spent in the food service fund.

Accordingly, school officials said they would explore using the surplus to update food service equipment at all schools.

The auditors also made recommendations on how to improve monthly bank reconciliations.

Hurricane Sandy not only caused havoc with the School District’s schedule but also cancelled one of the borough’s major fundraisers to support educational goals.

As a result, the New Providence Education Foundation has re-scheduled Casino Royale to January 12, 2013.  The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Senior Citizen Center, 15 East Fourth Street.

Organizers said it will be a fun-filled evening with games of chance, tricky tray baskets, silent and live auctions and food and drink.  All the proceeds benefit the children of New Providence schools.

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