Five Things That Happened at the School Board Meeting
From a new hire to a question about the elementary school honor roll, here are five things that went down at the Jan. 7 meeting of the Collingswood school board.
Collingswood’s board of education met Jan. 7 for its annual reorganization meeting. The quiet gathering saw the swearing-in of three board members and a few other goodies. Here’s what you missed:
1. The board voted to hire Sarah Bell as a district accountant at an annual salary of $65,000. Bell will work in the business office, handling financial responsibilities. The move frees up other staff to shift their duties to be more efficient, said Beth Ann Coleman, district business administrator. Coleman will make those shifts after Bell starts her position on March 1.
Bell, who currently works for the district’s auditing firm, was hired as part of the Oaklyn Shared Business Services Agreement. The agreement is the fourth shared services arrangement—following shared services for the superintendent, technology and custodial and maintenance needs—that Collingswood and Oaklyn inked.
The board voted unanimously to approve Bell’s hiring, with an abstention from Heidemarie Wood.
2. The school board agreed on who will represent Collingswood on several state and county education groups. David Routzahn will serve as representative for the New Jersey School Boards Association, with Fiona Henry as alternate. Terry Moody is the new representative for the Camden County School Boards Association, with Kathleen McCarthy as alternate. Lisa Soulos is representative for the Camden County Education Services Commission, and Madalyn Deets is the alternate.
3. The board members all signed a mandatory code of ethics.
4. Terri Lewis, of the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA), gave a brief presentation on the board self-evaluation.
NJSBA compiled information from each board member to compare how the board feels it’s performing against its most pressing issues. Collingswood School Board members self-reported that they’re paying attention to the issues they believe are most important, Lewis said.
“These results show this is a board that cares deeply about what it does,” she noted.
Lewis said she particularly appreciated the Collingswood school district website, which she called informative, especially on the school board section.
“You provide a lot of info, including information on ‘what is a board member.’ I’ve never seen another school board do that,” Lewis said.
Look for more information on the self-evaluation later this week on Collingswood Patch.
5. An elementary school parent, Nicole Powers, questioned why students are kept off of the honor roll for grades they receive in subjects that aren’t reported on the A-to-F scale.
Some subjects instead receive ranks such as "progressing," "meets expectations" or "exceeds expectations." Powers noted that her son received A’s and B’s, but was kept from the honor roll because of those ranked grades.
Superintendent Scott Oswald acknowledged that he doesn’t think the elementary schools should have an honor roll at all and that not a lot of thought went into how the rankings would or wouldn’t affect honor-roll status. He told Powers he’d look into it.
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