Rose de Vries Answers Our 3 Questions for Board of Ed Candidates

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1)  Do you think that the committee which chose the new principal for  the HS took into consideration the comments and suggestions the  community extended the administration during the superintendent's  Forums?  Were you happy with the process?

The administration and the Board of Education utilized community suggestions in the process.  The advertisement that was placed for the High School Principal position included many of the suggestions raised by the superintendent's forum and the on-line survey.

A portfolio was recommended as part of the interview process.  All of the final three candidates that the Board of Education interviewed presented a portfolio for assessment.
Many of the elements listed in the advertisement were included in the candidate's portfolio.
The portfolios were available for assessment by all three committees that took part in the interview.

The first committee was made up of teachers, school building principals, central office administrators and the Superintendent. The second committee consisted of subject area supervisors, central office administrators along with the Superintendent; and, the third committee was comprised of Board of Education members, the Director of Curriculum as well as the Superintendent. The portfolios of the final three applicants were presented to the Board of Education prior to the candidate interviews. During the Board of Education's interview with the final three candidates, their portfolios were taken into consideration along with the community's suggestions on what it was looking for in a high school principal.

2)  Are there any positions in the district administration where those  
responsibilities could be doubled up in order to save money?

All district administrators oversee two or more departments or programs.  For example: Terri Sinatra is the Superintendent as well as head of Human Resources. Paul Pinero is the Moss School Principal and Director of Curriculum, for the entire school district. Each subject area supervisor, supervises two or more subject areas.

According to the 2009 New Jersey School Report Card, Metuchen's "Total Administration Costs Per Pupil" are $1,203.00.  When this is compared to the state average of $1,387.00, and the administrative costs in the other two Middlesex County I districts, (East Brunswick at $1,397.00 per pupil and South Brunswick at $1,385.00 per pupil), Metuchen appears to be operating efficiently.

These are tough economic times and tough times for school districts in New Jersey. I think that all areas of the system will be open to evaluation for efficiency and economy in the next year. I don't think it is fair to single out any group or area at this time.

3) Where do you think the next batch of capital improvements needs to  
be done in order to accommodate the purported increased  enrollments  
over the next few years in our district?
The enrollment for kindergarten for the 2010-2011 school year stands at approximately 130 students, whereas the 09-10 kindergarten enrollment was in the 170's at this time last year.  The Superintendent is keeping the Board of Education updated on the projected school enrollments for the upcoming school year.  The Board of Education has been proactive in the area of projected enrollment, we voted to purchase an accordion door to divide the Music room at Campbell school into two rooms if warranted.  Enrollment trends are reviewed yearly at the first budget meeting in December.  The administration and the Board use this baseline data to predict future staff and facility needs.

During the Board of Education reorganization one of the committees that may be reinstated is the Facilities committee.  One of the charges of this committee would be to look at town demographics to determine if the large kindergarten class of 09-10 is a "bubble class," a single year with more students than the classes before and after it, or the beginning of a trend towards increased enrollment.

It would not be fiscally prudent to suggest any major capital projects until the need is demonstrated over a longer period of time.  The community has funded two major projects in the last decade and with shrinking dollars, we may need to be creative with space allocations. 

1 Comment

Wow...Pinero is the Principal of a half day kindergarten and the director of curriculum. The Superintendant also handles Human Resources. Do you realize how small our district is?? What else should they be doing??? For 200g's a year Sinatra should also be doing the grounds keeping. Each department head should also be teaching a few classes. Remember how small our district is...they should be able to do both.

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