Howell’s two representatives on the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education – Peter Bruno and Marc Parisi – have been re-elected to the positions of president and vice president, respectively, for 2022.
The board held its annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 6 at Freehold Township High School.
As the first order of business that evening, Sean Boyce, the district’s business administrator and board secretary, read the results of the November 2021 school board election.
In the election, Heshy Moses was re-elected as the board’s representative from Freehold Borough, Peter Bruno was re-elected as one of the board’s two representatives from Howell, and Jamie Bruno was elected as the board’s representative from Manalapan.
Peter Bruno was sworn in to begin serving a new three-year term and Jamie Bruno was sworn in to begin serving her first three-year term.
Moses was absent from the meeting and Boyce said he would be sworn in to begin serving his new three-year term at a later date.
Peter Bruno, Jamie Bruno, Moses and Parisi are joined on the board by Freehold Township representative Elizabeth Higley, Marlboro representative Michael Messinger, Farmingdale representative Kathie Lavin, Colts Neck representative Debra Fanelli and Englishtown representative Diana Cappiello.
The nine board members oversee the operation of the district’s six high schools.
Upon being re-elected president, Peter Bruno thanked his fellow board members for their support and said to the public, “I am going to work real hard again this year for you.”
Parisi said, “I thank my fellow board members for electing me vice president for the second year in a row.”
Superintendent of Schools Charles Sampson updated the board on several items and during the superintendent’s report Messinger noted the federal government is providing aid to school districts during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Messinger asked Sampson how much federal aid Freehold Regional is receiving.
Sampson said the district will receive $9.9 million in COVID related federal assistance over a three-year period. He said the infusion of federal aid combined with the public’s recent passage of a $15 million capital improvements referendum has improved the district’s financial outlook.
The superintendent said that in looking at the situation from a financial standpoint, “COVID has saved this district.”
Sampson reminded the public and board members the district has been dealing with the impact of a 3-year-old state law known as S-2 which reallocated state aid and will cause the FRHSD to lose approximately $30 million in state aid over seven years.
“We still don’t break even (combined) with what we are losing from the state, but we will not have to lay off dozens of staff members,” he said.
Sampson said $1 million in emergency funding that was received from the state was applied to last year’s finances.
The $9.9 million in anticipated federal funding “allows us to tread water over the next few years. When those federal funds go away, Freehold Regional will still face a fiscal cliff from S-2. We will continue to advocate for changes” in New Jersey’s state aid law, the superintendent said.