Cherry Hill school district announces members of the bond ad-hoc committee

A total of 28 people including residents, board members, school officials and a representative from town council will be on the committee.

The Cherry Hill Board of Education is ready to move forward with its ad-hoc committee on the bond referendum.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, the board announced the community members who will be on the ad-hoc committee. The committee will include numerous residents with and without children in the district, as well as representatives from township council, district staff and administration, and the board of education.

Board vice president Lisa Saidel read the entire list of members, saying all of the members were notified of their selection prior to the board meeting.

The committee will be made up of 28 people. The members include Cherry Hill Township Council vice president Sara Lipsett representing the township, Cherry Hill Education Association president Steve Redfearn representing the teachers and staff, and Carusi Middle School principal John Cafagna representing the administrators.

There was also a small change among the board members on the committee. At the beginning of the meeting, board member David Rossi announced he would be resigning, effective June 12, as his family will be moving out of state.

“After discussions with (board president Eric Goodwin), we agreed, that given the long-term impact of the bond ad-hoc committee, that it would be appropriate to appoint one of the new board members, Laurie Neary, instead of myself,” Rossi said in reading a statement at the meeting. “I am dedicated to working through the date of my departure as I was elected to do, not only by the community members who voted for me, but the community as a whole.”

Neary will join Saidel and Ruth Schultz as the board representatives on the ad-hoc committee. The full list of the ad-hoc committee members will be available at www.chclc.org.

Board member Carol Matlack, chair of the strategic planning committee, also gave an update on the bond referendum survey responses the district received. As of last Tuesday’s meeting, Matlack said the district received 1,342 responses, with 639 coming from parents, 426 from district employees and 277 from other residents. Part of the ad-hoc committee’s job will be to analyze the results of the survey as well as feedback the district received from residents during town hall meetings in February and March.

Matlack added the district’s high school students would also get an opportunity to give their feedback on the bond. Judith Wilson, the moderator for the district’s town hall meetings, was scheduled to meet with students at both Cherry Hill High School East and Cherry Hill High School West the first week of April. Assistant Superintendent Justin Smith was scheduled to meet with students from the Cherry Hill Alternative High School.

Earlier in the meeting, Goodwin made a plea for the community to come together after he said there was a lot of communication in the community and on social media following the passage of the preliminary budget at the March 19 meeting.

Goodwin read a statement to clarify the board’s goals and responsibilities regarding the budget at the meeting. He also reviewed some of the additions in the budget, the district’s security infrastructure, student services and the capital reserve projects.

In wrapping up his statement, Goodwin encouraged the community to come together to have a positive impact on the district moving forward.

“Everyone on this board, I believe, is extremely passionate and focused on doing their best and doing whatever they can to make sure we take care of our students, take care of our staff and…make sure this district is meeting the needs of the community,” Goodwin said. “I know from all of the people that come out, I know that you guys are really passionate. And I see all of the messages online, I know people are really passionate.”

“This is my implore: let’s work together,” Goodwin added. “This is a team effort. If we’re fighting against each other and trying to put each other down, how are we going to do the important task of making sure our students are taken care of and our staff is taken care of?”

The next Cherry Hill Board of Education meeting will be a work session on Tuesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. at the Malberg Administration Building.