South Hunterdon Regional School District board holds first meeting, plans for future restructuring
School board officials from Lambertville, West Amwell and Stockton, N.J., met for the first time Dec. 20 to lay the groundwork for a new South Hunterdon Regional School District, which is planned for July 1.
State Superintendent of Schools Gerald Vernotica kicked the meeting off by swearing in everyone to the board as a group before the members unanimously voted in Dan Seiter of Lambertville and James Gallagher of Stockton as board president and vice president respectively.
“I’m truly, truly honored and speechless,” Seiter said following the vote.
In addition to Seiter and Gallagher, Nicole Claus, Anne Nicolas, Derek Roseman and Laura Weinstein, all of Lambertville, and Peter Gasparro, Celeste Mosby and Viktor Paerg, all of West Amwell, filled out the nine-member board.
Seiter said before the board went into executive session that Vernotica, who was charged with appointing members of the new board, interviewed prospective candidates who were interested in applying for the positions and chose members that he liked from that pool.
The board also appointed Kerry Sevillis to serve as board secretary until June 30 for the total sum of $1.
Seiter said a search for a chief school administrator or superintendent on both a temporary and permanent basis is of upmost importance. An interim administrator is needed to help during the preliminary six-month period before the district is expected to become official and would assist in the process to find a permanent replacement for the new district going forward.
Until then, the board has “powers to make any decisions,” Seiter said.
Seiter also reiterated a mandate that there would be “no substantive change in facilities for the foreseeable future.”
A rotating meeting schedule for the next six months was also set.
Meetings will take place on the fourth Monday of every month except May, which will be the third Monday due to Memorial Day. Meeting places will cycle monthly among South Hunterdon, Lambertville, West Amwell and Stockton, in that order.
“Having a presence in each community is very important,” Seiter said.
Naming the district would also be a part of the community discussion, board officials said.
“We want to have a really good relationship with the community,” Weinstein said.
Board members discussed what subcommittees were needed and are expected to fill them at the next meeting.
The New Jersey School Boards Association will help with the strategic planning needed to get the district off the ground.
In September, residents in the four school districts voted to approve the abolition of the old districts and form a new district.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27.
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