The Ongoing Discord

August 29, 2023

The August 28 Board of Education meeting featured much of the ongoing discord evidenced throughout the past academic year, as well as a few new points of interest. Contentious topics voiced by residents and board members alike include the rejected sociology texts, the new health curriculum, as well as class sizes at Liberty Corner School. 

There was also renewed focus on board ethics, policies, and procedures. One resident shared an email that she wrote to the board regarding rising class sizes at LCS. She also shared incumbent school board candidate Larry Rascio’s response to her. Another resident suggested Rascio violated communication protocols by personally and directly responding to that parent’s class size concerns. In the cited email, Rascio implied there are in fact funds for more teachers and urged the concerned writer to pressure Superintendent Nick Markarian about the issue.

On the same topic of adhering to various conduct rules, a resident suggested that five sitting board members may have violated the NJ Open Public Meeting Act in communications dating back to March 2023. Community members continue to question why members of the board appear to disregard protocols despite their training in board of education policy as well as NJ state law.

Additional topics that appear to concern residents include the reported sewage problem in the Ridge football locker room, an outbreak of Coxsackie virus among two athletic teams, ongoing dysfunction among the current board, allegations of political parties’ involvement in board of education business, and the sharing of residents’ emails for board of ed campaigning efforts. 

The meeting concluded with a plea from incumbent school board candidate Jennifer White to begin focusing on the students and the teachers – how they’re doing, what they’re doing, what they might need to achieve excellence – as a new school year begins. Most board members concurred with her appeal.

All Board of Education meetings can be viewed on the BOE YouTube Channel

By Jennifer Aaron, BTDC Vice Chair

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