By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – Teachers and administrators in the Millstone K-8 School District have welcomed children back to school for the 2016-17 academic year.
During the school year, Board of Education meetings will be broadcast on public access channels that are included with cable television services that are available in the municipality.
Until this year, board meetings were posted in their entirety on YouTube, but according to Vice President McGovern, there was difficulty in uploading the video footage.
Following the receipt of a petition from residents who asked the board to restore the meetings to public viewing, McGovern announced that the meetings would appear on public access.
The meetings will air on channel 77 for Cablevision (Optimum) viewers and channel 43 for FIOS viewers, according to information provided by district administrators. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the meetings will be broadcast at 9 a.m. and on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, the meetings will be broadcast at 9 p.m.
For the 2016-17 school year, the Millstone Township Middle School will partner with the Wakefern Food Corporation and Saker ShopRites Inc. to open a ShopRite supermarket in the middle school and establish a life skills program.
District administrators view the ShopRite program as an opportunity for special education students and regular education students to learn the functions of running a small business, along with job skills and life skills.
The goals of the program are to establish a lab and mini ShopRite where students who have special needs will be trained for entry level supermarket positions, train students in a classroom setting to become productive and successful ShopRite associates, satisfy the needs of the student, the school, the student’s family and the supermarkets of the community and provide the students with “real life work experiences.”
Another new program for 2016-17 is Go Math, a K-5 math program that will replace the previous program, Everyday Math. According to Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder, Go Math was selected as the new program after district representatives assessed and reviewed three math resources.
“I begin my sixth year in Millstone both as a resident and as the superintendent,” Feder said. “It remains an honor to serve this community and even more of an honor to live here among the best townspeople in the state.
“It never stops impressing me just how great our community is and how wonderful our parents and kids are. They make it possible for us to take risks and try new things for our students.
“This year holds the promise of amazing things. When you consider the great families we have, we tie that directly into our amazing staff and have the makings of a top-notch, high-level school district. This year we will continue to expand our abilities to best serve every student who walks through the door,” Feder said.
Because Millstone Township does not have a high school, the district has a send-receive relationship with the Upper Freehold Regional School District in which high school students who reside in Millstone attend Allentown High School in the regional district.
On Aug. 29, the Millstone board voted to approve tuition with Upper Freehold Regional for the 2016-17 school year.
According to district administrators, Millstone will pay $12,681 for each student from Millstone who attends Allentown High School. In the 2015-16 school year, Millstone paid $12,433 for each student.
Board members also voted to approve a tuition contract with Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver, for the 2016-17 school year. Millstone pays tuition for Millstone residents who enroll in specialized programs at Red Bank Regional.
According to district administrators, Millstone will pay $14,200 for each Millstone resident who attends Red Bank Regional. In the 2015-16 school year, Millstone paid $13,900 for each student.
Board President Margaret Gordon, McGovern and board members David DePinho, John Sico, Billy Hanson, Cynthia Bailey and Sal Casale voted to approve the tuition contract with Red Bank Regional. Board member Amy Jacobson voted no. Board member Melissa Riviello was absent.
Administrators said 631 Millstone residents attended Allentown High School and 16 Millstone residents attended Red Bank Regional by the end of the 2015-16 school year.
Millstone’s tuition payments to Red Bank Regional are the basis of current litigation that was filed against the Millstone board by the Upper Freehold Regional Board of Education. Upper Freehold Regional claims the payment of that tuition is unlawful, which Millstone contests.
In April, Upper Freehold Regional submitted a verified petition to the New Jersey Department of Education and a petition for injunctive relief to Commissioner of Education David Hespe concerning the tuition relationship between Millstone and Red Bank Regional.
Millstone filed an answer and a cross petition to the verified petition and opposition papers to the injunctive relief request. Opposition papers to the injunctive relief request were also filed by Red Bank Regional.
Upper Freehold Regional’s request for injunctive relief was denied by Administrative Law Judge Sarah G. Crowley on the grounds that Upper Freehold Regional did not satisfy the state requirements to receive injunctive relief.
The verified petition remains pending.