Paid 'Council' OK'd to Meet With Schools Chief
Regional board members split on vote based on budgetary issues.
A total of 10 teachers from the West Morris Regional High School District–five from each building–will become part of a Superintendent’s Council for the remainder of the school year to help top administrator Mackey Pendergrast better communicate with faculty and receive feedback.
That piece of business from the Monday reorganization meeting hit the table with a thud as board members were split on approving the council, which comes at a cost of $40.09 per teacher per hour it is in session.
The proposed council would be in session for up to six hours for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year.
Prior to taking a vote on the new council, some board members showed concern about spending the money before pursuing alternative methods.
“Who says an all-volunteer group wouldn’t be successful?” questioned Chester Township representative Marcia Asdal. “I’m having a hard time understanding why you can’t just talk (directly) with the teachers.”
Mendham Township representative James Button echoed those sentiments and questioned the use of budget funds to support the council.
“Is this the best use of the limited resources in our budget?” Button asked Pendergrast. “What about a good old suggestion box? Or making yourself available to the teachers? At the end of the day, this comes down to ‘is this the best use of our limited resources?’”
Pendergrast explained his theory behind the council, saying a consistent, ongoing conversation with teachers would be most effective.
“We’ve tried those activities in the past (suggestion box, volunteer groups),” Pendergrast said, “and no one shows up. We’ll communicate and discuss initiatives in the district. A consistent conversation works best and I think this is critical in understanding the district.”
Teachers in both schools will have the opportunity to apply for a seat on the council, and all 10 members will be chosen by Pendergrast.
Board members Asdal, Button, Don Storms and Vice President Joseph Galayda all opposed the vote, but the remaining five members of the group approved, making the council official.
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