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District Approves Personnel, Discusses Upcoming Concerns

Candace Braun

Approving descriptions of new personnel, changing the hours of Princeton High School's student parking system, and anticipating the completion of construction were among the topics discussed by the Princeton Regional Board of Education at its meeting last week.

Looking to the upcoming school year, approximately 18 positions will have to be filled due to turnover, and an additional 32 must be addressed due to voter approval of the $1.9 million second ballot question, said Board member Jeffrey Spear.

The Board approved job descriptions for the positions of elementary behavioral specialist ($65,000), early intervention teacher (four, at 65,000 each), elementary science teacher (salary not listed), and elementary guidance counselor (four, at $80,000 each).

The Board decided to wait to approve a job description for a teacher coordinator of student activities, also known as a dean of students, for Princeton High School. The personnel committee had listed the overview of responsibilities as, "to assist the building principal with the logistics of daily events such as testing, assemblies, special programs, and interactions with the family and community."

Both Board members and residents agreed the description wasn't on target with what they had originally perceived the position to be, as it had involved more interaction with students.

"[The description] sounds more like a liaison to the principal," said Tom Hillman, a student representative on the Board.

In addition, 57 people have applied for the district's athletic director position, and the personnel committee will make recommendations at the Board's June 14 meeting as to who the district should hire. Eric Amkraut, who will be leaving the position next month, has an annual salary of $95,000.

On matters of construction, Facilities Chairman Michael Mostoller announced that all work at John Witherspoon Middle School is scheduled to be completed by June 12.

At the high school, the next visual change in construction will be the new auditorium going into place, he said, adding that roofing and installation will be done this summer while students are on break.

"We are in the high construction season at the high school," he said, adding that now that construction is entering its final stages at the majority of the schools, the facilities committee will begin to look at matters concerning the installation of fields at the middle school, following the settlement of the Title IX lawsuit (see story on page 1), as well renovations to the Valley Road Building.

On the subject of high school parking, Board President Anne Burns said that while she feels the student parking plan that was implemented this past school year worked well in some aspects, she would like to ask both the Borough and Township to consider shortening the student parking hours to end on public roads at 3 p.m., rather than the current time of 6 p.m. She said this will give the district and both municipalities two years of differing data to compare, in order to make a final decision on what the final parking plan should entail.

Ms. Burns said she will write a letter to both municipalities asking for the change. While the Borough has a sunset clause that will cause the parking ordinance to expire at the end of the year, the Township must make an amendment to the approved ordinance.

In other news, Board member Joshua Leinsdorf announced that a 20-volume set of the Oxford English Dictionary has been purchased for John Witherspoon Middle School. The set, which is valued at $2,300, was purchased at a reduced cost of $900, and paid for through private donations that Mr. Leinsdorf sought from residents.

"This is a school system that really supports education," he said. "People will spend the money and time to put something in the schools that's not required by the curriculum."

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