Education Monthly: MEA settlement, retirements mark June

By MICK WEEKS, Moorestown Board of Education member

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In this column, Moorestown Board of Education Members, Mark Villanueva and Maurice Weeks provide monthly updates on what’s going on in the school district and on the BOE.

The final Moorestown Board of Education meeting for the 2018-2019 school year featured a presentation on a new strategic plan, a farewell to some long-serving employees who were retiring and ratification of a new labor agreement with the Moorestown Education Association. The first presentation featured Bill and Stacey Adams from W.H. Adams & Associates – the firm hired by the board to work on an updated strategic plan for the district. Highlights of the plan include new mission and vision statements along with strategic plans and action goals around three key areas: the world class learner initiative, social and emotional Learning (SEL) and communications.

The Adams felt that enacting this strategic plan would help build on the strong existing foundation and better prepare our students for an evolving world. The documents and more information about the new strategic plan will be available soon on the district’s website (http:// www.mtps.com/board_of_education/strategic_plan).

During the superintendent’s monthly report, Dr. Scott McCartney noted the retirement of five employees. Mary Ellen Heeneke, Patricia Kyser, Linda Carlino, Cynthia Boyce and Ruth Rich were all recognized and thanked for their hard work and dedication to the students of Moorestown. Additionally, student board representative Brenden Swanik, a graduating senior, was also recognized and thanked for his board service.

McCartney also spoke about the current plan to remedy the kindergarten enrollment situation that was discussed at a previous board meeting. At the time, all seats were filled well in advance of the traditional high enrollment period over the summer, and students would potentially need to begin their schooling at a different location than their “home school.” By shifting a teacher into kindergarten and hiring another, all currently registered students will now be moved back to their home school and an additional 25 seats are available across the three schools. Should they be filled, however, moving students or an increase to the class size cap may be the next alternatives. He also noted that he and his team are keeping an eye on enrollment in other elementary grades, which are also approaching capacity.

An agreement was reached between the board labor negotiating committee and the Moorestown Education Association, and it was brought before the full board for consideration. The agreement covers a three-year term from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022. It includes changes to base pay, longevity pay and employee and district healthcare contributions. There was also the addition of a professional development day for employees as well as changes such as an increase in tuition rates for children of employees from out-of-district. A robust discussion was had by board members and various opinions were shared citing pros and cons. Ultimately, the Memorandum of Agreement was approved by a vote of 7 to 1 to 1.

The board also acknowledged the upcoming graduation of the class of 2019 and commended all of the students, staff and community for a successful school year. The board will next meet in August 2019. Until then we wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe summer!

The views and content in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Moorestown Board of Education as a whole or any other individual member.

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