The Cherry Hill Board of Education’s reorganization meeting on Jan. 3 set the tone for a new year.
The board swore in four members: Gina Winters and Joel Mayer, both incumbents; and two new faces, Adam Greenbaum and Kim Gallagher. Except for Gallagher’s one-year term, the newcomers will serve for three years.
Shortly after that, Miriam Stern was nominated as the board’s president in a 7-1 vote, with Gallagher voting no and board member Sally Tong absent. Mayer won a unanimous vote for vice president.
“I’m looking forward to a productive year and really making sure that we not only compliment the work that the administrative team is doing, but also help to enhance it,” said board member Corrien Elmore Stratton after congratulating the nominees.
“We’re excited to work together to help better our students here in Cherry Hill,” said fellow board member Jennifer Fleisher.
- Fleisher was appointed the district’s representative to the CamCo Board Association Executive Committee to serve until the board’s reorganization 2024 meeting.
- Tong was appointed district representative for the New Jersey School Board Association, also until the reorganization meeting in 2024.
- Elmore Stratton was named to the Camden County Educational Services Commission, for the same period of time.
- Lynn Shugars, Public Agency Compliance Officer for bid specifications and procurement, professional.
Following the brief reorganization meeting were four committee sessions: strategic planning, business and facilities, policy and legislation and curriculum and instruction. During the business and facilities committee meeting, members continued discussion on the usefulness of the district’s current grant writer, as well as outstanding grants. In the past, the board has voiced its discontentment with the grant-writing results.
Assistant Superintendent and Business Administrator Lynn Shugars presented a list of outstanding grants being worked on, including a $50,000 grant named for Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber that will go to the township’s two high schools to help pay for equipment, materials and the cost of shows.
A grant is pending for shade structures at Cooper and Johnson elementary schools. Gallagher asked if there had been any outlined expectations and Shugars explained that the district went out for RFPs and Bruno Associates was the only developer that responded.
No decisions were made, but discussions will continue.
The committee also briefly discussed the outstanding meal debt caused by students who are served but don’t pay for lunch. In the beginning of the year, there was a sharp increase in the amount of debt accumulating, attributed to the return of lunch payments. Last year’s meals were free and covered by state programs. Debt has now leveled off and stands at $31,242.
“We’ve had lots of conversations with parents,” Shugars noted. “We ended the ability to purchase a second meal, unless you have funds on your account. That is helping a lot of children who were getting second meals, not understanding that they were getting charged for that.
“We’ve reached out to families and we still encourage (them) to submit a free and reduced lunch application.”
The next board meeting will be on Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m.