Minutes for December 7, 2015History icon Archived Minutes

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A regular business meeting of the Board of Education was held this day in the Warren Middle School, 100 Old Stirling Road. The following is a record of that meeting.

I. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by President Jim Sena.

Open Public Meeting Statement – Mr. Sena read the following Statement:

Re: Chapter 231 P.L. 1975: “The adequate notice of this regular meeting as required by the open public meetings act was provided by the posting, mailing/delivery, and filing of this notice on December 4, 2015. This notice was on that date posted on the bulletin board in the Township Office, mailed to the Courier News and the Echoes Sentinel, and filed with the Township Clerk of the Township of Warren, all in accordance with the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act.”

II. Pledge of Allegiance – Mr. Sena led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

III. Roll Call

Present: Tia Allocco, Celeste Campos, Len deMontagnac, Desiree DeNourie,

Lisa DiMaggio, Kathy Helewa, Joan Schiller, Greg Steier and Jim Sena


Also Present: Dr. Elizabeth Nastus, Interim Superintendent, Patricia Leonhardt, Board Secretary, and members of the public and press.

IV. Minutes

A motion was made by Mrs. Helewa and seconded by Mr. deMontagnac to approve the minutes from November 23, 2015. Prior to a vote by the board, the minutes for the public session were amended.

Mrs. Helewa moved the following:

  • RESOLVED, that the Board of Education approves the amended public and private session minutes of the November 23, 2015 Board Meeting, as amended.

The motion was seconded by Mrs. Allocco and approved by 8-0-1 roll-call vote. (Mrs. DiMaggio abstained.)

V.Correspondence and Information

Dr. Nastus referenced the letter received regarding the Elementary School libraries.

· HIB Information

Total # of Investigations:


Total # of Determined Bullying Incidents:


· Fire Drills

ALT Central Mt. Horeb Woodland Middle

November 13 November 9 November 23 November 13 November 16

· Security Drills

ALT Central Mt. Horeb Woodland Middle

November 23 November 25 November 10 November 23 November 24

Bomb Bomb Threat Bomb Threat Bomb Threat Bomb Threat

VI. President's Remarks - Jim Sena

Mr. Sena hoped all enjoyed Thanksgiving.

Mr. Sena discussed the article in NJSBA’s Reflections which noted the artwork by Warren Township students regarding Peace for Paris, in light of the recent attacks.

VII. Superintendent’s Remarks - Elizabeth Nastus

Dr. Nastus reported on Woodland School’s outreach to a former student who is currently ill.

VIII. Committee Reports

STEEP - Educational Committee

Mrs. DiMaggio reported on the kick off of the committee. Members have begun to meet with administration.

STEEP Facilities Committee

Mr. deMontagnac reported on the committee's visitations to the schools held on December 3rd.

STEEP Finance Committee

Ms. Campos reported on that committee’s start.

Finance Committee

Mr. Steier reported on the recent Finance Committee meeting which discussed potential end of year purchases, a projection for year end 2015-2016 balances, the preliminary 2016-2017 budget and the Summer Fun program. Additionally, the committee met earlier this evening with the auditor regarding the audit.

Policy Committee

Mrs. Helewa reported on the work of the committee and detailed the process for policy modification. Mrs. Helewa then distributed an updated version of the proposed Local Wellness/Nutrition Food policy.

IX. Discussion


X. Public Commentary (including opportunity to speak about items for Board


Note on public input at BOE meetings: Board Policy #9322, adopted on April 14, 2008, provides for and encourages public participation in Board of Education meetings. Such participation is governed by the following rules:

1. A participant must be recognized by the presiding officer and must preface comments by an announcement of his/her name and place of residence;

2. Each statement made by a participant shall be limited to three minutes’ duration (limit may be adjusted at the discretion of the presiding officer as circumstances dictate);

3. No participant may speak more than once on the same topic until all others who wish to speak on that topic have been heard; and

4. All statements shall be directed to the presiding officer—no participant may address or question Board members individually.

The portion of the meeting during which participation of the public is invited shall be limited to fifteen minutes (limit may be adjusted at the discretion of the presiding officer as circumstances dictate).

Members of the public addressed the proposed Local Wellness/Nutrition/Food policy modifications as follows:

  • Heather Silver, Quail Run, stated her disagreement with the changes, referring to a community petition.
  • Jackie Traister, Woods Road, spoke in support of the changes and her experience with alternate means of celebration.
  • Melissa Hughes, Mt. Horeb Road, spoke against the policy change.
  • Rachel Singleton, Deerwood Trail, spoke against the policy change.
  • Nelly Pucci, Washington Valley Road, asked questions regarding the impetus for the proposed change.
  • Patricia Zohn, Mountainview Road spoke in support of the change, noting the opportunity for students to be empathetic.
  • Jane Cerwinski, Round Top Road, discussed the larger food issue of vendor provided lunches.
  • David Brezee, Berkshire Drive, also questioned the impetus for the proposed changes.
  • Marc Pucci, Washington Valley Road, also questioned the drivers for the proposed policy modification.

XI. Items for Board Consideration/Action

On motion by Mrs. Helewa seconded by Mrs. Allocco the consent items A.1., B.1. and B.2., and C.1. through C.3., were approved by a 9-0 roll-call vote.


A.1. HIB Report

RESOLVED, that the Board of Education approves the HIB Report submitted by the Superintendent for the period ending on December 3, 2015.

B. Finance/Operations/Transportation

B.1. Travel Approval

Whereas, in accordance with State of New Jersey School District Accountability Act (A-5) and the Warren Township Schools’ policy number 4133-Travel and Work Related Expense Reimbursement, travel by school district employees and Board of Education members must be approved in advance.

Now Therefore Be It RESOLVED, the Warren Township Schools Board of Education approves the following expenses for faculty, staff, administrators, and board members for seminars, conferences and workshops. The expense includes travel costs, if applicable:




Workshop/ Conference




Shannon Sharkey


Strategies to Integrate SLP Interventions


Feb 2016


Michele Stora de Cruz


FLENJ Annual Conference

New Brunswick

Feb 2016


P. Andrea Gower


FLENJ Annual Conference

New Brunswick

Feb 2016


Mary Pat Forenza


FLENJ Annual Conference

New Brunswick

Feb 2016


Laurie Donovan


Practical Sensory Motor Strategies


Feb 2016



All of the above travel has been approved by the Superintendent. The School Business Administrator shall track and record these costs to insure that the maximum amount is not exceeded.

B.2. Acceptance of Audit for the 2014-2015 School Year

WHEREAS, the Board of Education has engaged Suplee Clooney & Company of Westfield, NJ, to audit the district's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, in compliance with N.J.S.A.18A:23-1 et seq, and,

WHEREAS, this audit has been completed and the CAFR filed with the State Department of Education and submitted to the Warren Township Board of Education along with a synopsis of the audit report and recommendations, which synopsis and recommendations are available for public review, and,

WHEREAS, pertinent results of operations during the 2014-2015 school year are:

AUDIT 2014 - 2015


Final Budget


Local Sources



State Sources



Federal Sources








Regular Instruction



Special Education



Other Instruction



Undistributed Expenditures



Total General Expenses



Capital Outlay



Special Schools








Transfer in from Capital Projects



Transfer to Capital Projects



Excess (Deficiency)



Fund Balance July 1, 2014



Fund Balance June 30, 2015




Analysis of Fund Balance Reserved


Excess Surplus- subsequent year's expenditures (15-16)



Excess Surplus (16-17)



Emergency Reserve Account



Maintenance Reserve Account



Capital Reserve Account










Now therefore be it,

RESOLVED, that the Board of Education hereby accepts the report, notes the following recommendations, and directs that appropriate corrective action be taken:

Recommendation: None

Corrective Action: None

C. Personnel/Student Services

C.1. Employment for the 2015-2016 School Year

  1. RESOLVED, upon recommendation from the Superintendent that the Board of Education approve the following Personnel items including the emergent employment of the following employees (indicated by *) conditional upon the final approval by the New Jersey Department of Education, for the 2015-2016 school year and the Board further authorizes the submission of an application for emergency hiring pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1, et. Seq., N.J.S.A. 18A:6.14.12, et. Seq.”
  1. Cheryl Hall, Transportation Driver, District, increase to 7 hours per day at an annual salary of $22,680 (prorated), effective December 8, 2015 through June 30, 2016.
  2. Iberca Jimenez, Bus Driver, increase to 7 hours per day at an annual salary of $24,255 (prorated), effective October 14, 2015. (She is a replacement for Employee #1596. This motion supersedes previous motion from November 9, 2015.)

C.2. Substitute Teachers

RESOLVED, that the Board of Education approves the following to be appointed as substitute teachers for the 2015-2016 school year: (Updates are reflected in bold.)

a. Angela Austin

b. Amalia Kanaras

c. Althea Orrico

d. Dorian Papianni

e. Erica Spinelli

C.3. Approval of Title I - Extended Day Tutor

RESOLVED, that the Board of Education approves the additional appointment of the following staff members as Title I - Extended Day Tutor, to be paid the contractual rate of $40 per hour. Total cost dependent upon needs of identified students in the district’s two Title I schools, which are Angelo L. Tomaso School and Central School, for a total program cost not to exceed $39,400:

  • Chelsea Christophel


XII. Old Business

Local Wellness/Nutrition/Food

Mr. Steier suggested that the board continue its discussion regarding the proposed changes. This discussion will be held at the end of Old Business.

Library/Media Centers

Mr. deMontagnac asked that the changes regarding this area be addressed via a future board presentation.

Board Committees

The board discussed a review of the status of committees.

Local Wellness/Nutrition/Food proposed changes

Mr. Steier opened the discussion by expressing his support of allowing food at birthday celebrations. Mrs. Helewa discussed the need for minimizing risk for the district, wich she feels the proposed changes help to do. Mrs. Helewa expanded the conversation to include all items which affect school culture.

Mrs. Allocco spoke in favor of limiting the risk by implementing the policy change. However, she emphasized the need for a listing of substitute methods of celebration. Lastly, she suggested that the resolution of adoption list a delayed effective date. Mrs. Allocco also mentioned board support of field trips.

Mr. deMontagnac expressed support of the proposed changes, which he feels is for student safety, citing an example.

Mrs. Campos expressed her gratitude for community feedback, and her need to consider the topic further.

Mr. Sena discussed the proliferation of allergies and his thoughts that the current policy may need to be modified accordingly.

Mr. Steier reiterated the point made earlier regarding vendor lunch food.

Mr. deMontagnac felt student safety is clearly the purview of the board.

Dr. Schiller discussed her concern for student safety which leads her to support the modification.

Ms. DeNourie shared that every 3 minutes someone in America is rushed to the hospital for anaphylactic shock.

In closing the discussion, Mr. Sena suggested that the proposed policy changes be discussed at the board's December 21st meeting.

XIII. Public Commentary

Heather Silver, Quail Run, followed up on the policy changes conversation, noting risks in other areas of school operations.

Mildred Spiller, Quill Pen Way, spoke of the board’s important role in policy making. Mrs. Spiller spoke in support of the district’s communication efforts. Mrs. Spiller spoke with gratitude for Ms. DeNourie’s and Mr. Steier’s years of board service.

The public asked some follow up questions regarding the nurses’ time commitment and prior incidents.

XIV. New Business

NJSBA Delegate Assembly - Mrs. DiMaggio asked the board to let her know if they have any suggestions for resolutions for the assembly.

Committees - Mr. Sena suggested that the board might want to begin a discussion regarding 2016 committees.

XV. Executive Session - BOE to Interview Superintendent Candidate

At 8:38 p.m. Mrs. Helewa moved the following:

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A.10:4-11, permits the Board of Education to meet in closed session to discuss certain matters, now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, the Board of Education adjourns to closed session to discuss: a matter rendered confidential by federal or state law

specific prospective or current employees unless all who could be adversely affected request an open session

Action will not be taken upon return to public session;

the length of the meeting is anticipated to be approximately 15 minutes; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, the minutes of this closed session be made public when the need for confidentiality no longer exists.

The motion was seconded by Mrs. Allocco and approved by unanimous voice vote.

On motion by Mrs. Helewa, seconded by Mr. deMontagnac, the Board reconvened in open session at 9:41 p.m.

XVI. Adjourn

On motion by Mrs. Helewa, seconded by Mrs. Allocco, the meeting adjourned at 9:42 p.m.

Minutes recorded by

Patricia Leonhardt

Board Secretary