Toms River Board of Education imposes hiring freeze for remainder of school year

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TOMS RIVER – The Toms River Regional School District Board of Education has passed a resolution imposing a hiring freeze for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year.

During the Dec. 19 meeting, board members voted 8-1 to take the action. Board President Russell Corby, Vice President Joseph Nardini, Janet Bell, Gigi Esparza, Michael Horgan, Daniel Leonard, Ginny Rhine and Michele Williams voted “yes.” Board member Christopher Raimann voted “no.”

The resolution allows Superintendent of Schools David Healy to immediately implement a hiring freeze of new employees across all departments because of a projected reduction in state aid of $70 million over the next five years. The affected positions include administrative, educational, custodial, transportation and consulting.

Healy said that as of now the school district does not have any vacant positions, “unless we get retirements somewhere around Jan. 1.”

No vacant position existing since Dec. 1 will be filled and no new positions will be created, with the exception of limited circumstances for essential and mandated services. Positions that become vacant due to retirement, resignation or termination can be filled if the position will impact essential and mandated services, according to the resolution.

“Let’s say a chemistry teacher retires Jan. 1 and there are 35 students in the class. We still need to have a teacher in front of those students. And, if there is a special education position, we have to fill that position. By law we are required to have a person in there,” Healy said.

Positions in the school district that are created and funded by grants are exempt from the hiring freeze.

“Right now, every vacant position that comes up through retirement at this time of year, we will evaluate the position regarding its absolute need. We will evaluate whether or not the responsibilities of that position can be absorbed by other teachers. If it is a support position, such as a secretary, we will see if the responsibilities of that position can be absorbed by other staff as well,” Healy said.

The hiring freeze will expire on June 30 if it is not extended by the board.

“We will be able to provide better information the closer we get to June 30 on whether an extension of the hiring freeze is needed,” the superintendent said.