Freehold Township school board hires staff for 2017-18

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By Matthew Sockol
Staff Writer

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Non-tenured staff members in the Freehold Township K-8 School District have been issued contracts for the 2017-18 school year.

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The contracts were approved by the Board of Education during a meeting on May 9.

Prior to the board taking action, concerns that the Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) had about a non-tenured staff member who was listed on the agenda were raised by resident Len Nachbar.

Members of the board and SEPAG held a meeting on May 5, according to Nachbar.

“At the end of the meeting, (school board member) Michelle Lambert lamented the fact that the district’s special needs program had a good reputation for many years and asked what caused it to change,” Nachbar said. “The parents I speak with perceive the change to be caused by a change in personnel within the district.”

Nachbar, whose adult daughter has dystonia, said he became involved with SEPAG because he understood what the parents of special needs students were facing. He said the parents of children who have special needs know what is best for their children. He asked the board not to renew the staff member.

Nachbar and Lambert acknowledged that the concerns regarding the staff member were not discussed during the May 5 meeting.

“I thought the outcome of the meeting was positive,” Lambert said. “What we discovered was that there were certain parents who felt there were some communication breakdowns in helping them understand individualized educational programs (IEP). We … developed a plan to rectify that.

“We did discuss that, overall, there was the belief that the children were being served well and that our program was a phenomenal program,” Lambert said. “There are over 600 students in this district with an IEP. They are doing very well and the parents are generally happy.”

Following the public comment, board members voted to table the agenda item approving contracts for the non-tenured employees, including the staff member Nachbar discussed, and went into executive (closed) session to discuss the matter.

Following the executive session, the board members voted on the item.

On a roll call, Kay Poklemba-Holtz and Edward Hudak voted to approve a contract for every staff member listed on the agenda.

Michael Amoroso, Daniel DiBlasio, Elena O’Sullivan, Jennifer Patten and Lambert abstained on the staff member in question and approved a contract for the remaining staff members listed.

Before Board President Christopher Marion and Vice President Jason Levy voted, the roll call was reset after Lambert made a motion to reconsider the question.

On the re-vote roll call, Poklemba-Holtz, Hudak, Marion and Levy voted to approve a contract for every staff member listed on the agenda. Lambert changed her vote and voted to approve all of the contracts.

Amoroso, DiBlasio, O’Sullivan and Patten again abstained on issuing a contract to the staff member in question and voted to approve the remaining contracts.

The end result was that a 2017-18 contract was approved for every staff member whose name was listed on the agenda.

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