Tuesday, April 12, 2011
O'Neill's retirement unanimously approved, board eyes replacement.
Superintendent Jim O'Neill's retirement became official Monday night when the board unanimously approved his resignation, effective July 1. The board has a list of names of people willing to serve as interim superintendent from the New Jersey School Board Association and the New Jersey Principals And Supervisors Association and narrowed the list down to a few names. "We talked to four [people], we interviewed three, we have two finalists," Board Vice President Tom Belding said. Belding said the board wants to have one more year to prepare for the position to be permanently filled. "We think we have a very good internal candidate for the long term," Belding said. The internal candidate is Michael LaSusa, a former co-principal at Chatham …
Thursday, March 31, 2011
District still considering options for O'Neill's replacement.
The Board of Education has met with candidates for the position of interim superintendent, Board President Steve Barna said Thursday. "We've met with several candidates for the interim position, but we're still exploring our options," Barna said. Superintendent Jim O'Neill announced on March 24 that he would retire from his position once his current contract expires on June 30. He first indicated that he would retire at the Feb. 28 meeting, at which point the board did not take action. Once the board addresses O'Neill's retirement, they will have three options on how to proceed. "We can either conduct a superintendent search, or we could appoint or look for an interim superintendent to help us on a per diem basis, or we could even consider…
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Board approves budget to be sent to voters.
Discussions of proposed expansion to the parking lot at the Chatham High School dominated the conversation during the final budget hearing, held during Monday’s meeting of the Board of Education. Proposed as part of the capital projects portion of the $60 million budget, the parking lot would allow for an additional 40 to 80 parking spaces, according to board president Steve Barna. However, as board members stated several times throughout the discussion, the extent of parking lot construction depends on how much funding is left over after the top capital budget priority, the addition of four classrooms at the high school, is completed. Of the $2 million allocated to capital projects, funded by money accrued over time and only usable on …
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Policy's restrictiveness and lawfulness a concern for some.
The Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to approve changes to the district’s communication devices policy, requiring permission from all students, teachers and parents before any recording devices are used on school property. Board president Steve Barna explained after the meeting that the policy change was enacted as a result of the suicide of Ridgewood teen and Rutgers student Tyler Clementi in September 2010. He said it is designed to insert privacy protections for students and prevent similar situations from occurring in Chatham. Despite the unanimous vote for changes to the policy, there was still some concern raised as to its restrictiveness and lawfulness. Board member Alan Routh, who had expressed concerns about the …
Monday, January 3, 2011
In a poll of 50 residents, opinions nearly split on O'Neill's deal.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that this was not intended to be a scientific study, rather a sampling of how some Chatham residents feel on the issue. About half of 50 Chatham residents approached by Patch and asked about the proposed salary increase for schools Superintendent Jim O'Neill said they object to the raise. Patch approached residents in December at the Chatham Train Station, in the CVS shopping center, downtown on Main Street and at the Reasoner Park gazebo. The inquiry was not a scientific poll, and there is no formally calculated margin of error. Of the 50 residents who responded, 20 people—40 percent of respondents—said they believed the contract should be approved as it is currently outlined while …
Monday, December 20, 2010
The Chatham superintendent responds to governor's comments.
Superintendent Jim O'Neill said Gov. Chris Christie had "gone too far" in recent attacks on Chatham. "I have no intention of being silent when he makes outlandish, untrue statements about the school district or me personally," O'Neill told Chatham Patch. Christie, in a press conference at the Statehouse Thursday, said Chatham Board of Education's support for "this Jim O'Neill character" would make baseball agent Scott Boras blush and that school boards need "to start representing the people who vote for them and who pay the bills and stop looking for ways to circumvent the superintendent pay cap." O'Neill said that the "well-educated and insightful" people of Chatham were better suited to make decisions for the school district than the …
Friday, December 17, 2010
The governor tore into the board Thursday night during a press conference.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Gov. Chris Christie tore into the Chatham Board of Education during a press conference Thursday night, according to the Daily Record. According to the article, Christie said school boards "need to start representing the taxpayers and stop being agents for school superintendents." Read the full article at the Daily Record here: Christie Rips Into Chatham School Board, Superintendent.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Members of the public can address the board before the vote.
The Board of Education will vote Monday night on whether to approve Superintendent Jim O'Neill's proposed three-year contract extension. The proposed extension exceeds the salary caps proposed by Gov. Chris Christie by about $45,000. O'Neill's annual raises for each year would be kept under the 2 percent cap. Board of Education President Steve Barna said he hopes the contract gets approved by the board and by Morris County Executive Superintendent Kathleen Serafino before the caps go into effect on Feb. 7, 2011. "I am anxiously waiting for a reply from the county superintendent's office based on our submittal of James' contract for review," Barna said in an interview Monday. "We in Chatham have not received anything directly from the …
Monday, December 6, 2010
Residents pay 91% of per-pupil expense through property taxes.
According to the 2009 New Jersey Department of Education School Report Card, Chatham residents fund a much larger percentage of school costs than their neighbors, but, with a per-pupil cost more than $1,000 below the state average, they also get a lot of bang for their buck. According to the Chatham Township website, 63 cents out of every dollar that township residents pay in their property taxes goes to the schools. In the borough, 62 cents out of each property tax dollar went to schools, according to a 2008 statement from Council Member Bruce Harris. These funds comprise 91 percent of the school district budget. Per-Pupil Costs Per-pupil costs in the district were $1,266 below the state average during the 2008-09 academic year, as the …
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Chatinover 'mortified' by his portrayal in the media following town hall meeting.
Board of Education member Jonathan Chatinover admitted "my excitement may have gotten the better of me" when he addressed Gov. Chris Christie at a town hall meeting on Friday in Parsippany. "I would not disagree with the characterization that I was antagonistic," Chatinover said Saturday. "Not to defend myself, but … Gov. Christie's approach is extremely antagonistic, and sometimes I think you need to not back down from that kind of antagonistic treatment." Chatinover attended the meeting expecting a straightforward question-and-answer session. "Maybe I'm just a little naïve. I thought … he'd be there to answer questions," he said. "He did answer questions, but after a 45-minute speech. To me, it was more like a pep rally than a town hall …