While retiring district employees were honored at the June 10 board of education meeting, it was a former student who dominated discussion that evening.
David Bachner, a star baseball player who graduated from High School North in 2009, died suddenly from a heart problem that summer. Beginning in 2011 with a request from resident Pete Weale, a movement has been mounted to rename North’s baseball field after Bachner. In response, the school board developed a naming rights policy, which it adopted in October, 2012. Among the policy’s provisions is one stating that the district must wait five years after a person is deceased. It has been five years since Bachner’s death, so the issue has resurfaced.
Several residents spoke at the June 10 meeting including resident Tim Hitchings; Ryan Phelan, a former teammate of Bachner; former Board of Education member Michele Epstein; Community Middle School eighth grader Jake Rona; and Andrea and Mitchell Rona, who read a letter written by David Bachner’s parents. All expressed their support of the renaming of the field in Bachner’s honor.
Board member Taylor Zhong also publicly expressed his support of the renaming.
Board member Michele Kaish, chair of the board committee responsible for district policy, noted “with regard to renaming the baseball field, the Board would follow the procedures set forth in policy 7250, which relates to naming rights of district buildings and facilities. Should the (Administration & Facilities) committee think the naming request has merit, then it will go to the full board of education for a vote.”
According to policy 7250, should the Administration & Facilities committee decide the request has merit, it will set up an ad hoc committee to which residents can submit their name-change request, along with written materials, letters, and other supporting documentation. The ad hoc committee will review the request using the criteria set forth in the policy, which includes consideration of the history and traditions of West Windsor and Plainsboro; the history or significance of the person or group being recognized; and any notable contributions or achievements they may have made.
The ad hoc committee will review all naming and renaming requests, and submit up to three such requests to the board, along with an explanation for their recommendations. The board will then make a decision on the recommendations.
The full policy can be found on the district website at www.west-windsor-plainsboro.k12.nj.us.
The board also approved the appointment of Patricia Buell, the current assistant principal at Maurice Hawk, to replace Denise Mengani, who is retiring). She will earn $145,658. In addition, Laura Bruce was appointed as assistant principal at Dutch Neck School, at a salary of $106,505. Jeanine Bride, who was serving as the acting assistant principal at High School South, will become a business teacher at South.
The board also approved 2014-’15 salaries for several district administrators:
Larry Shanok, assistant superintendent for finance, $181,289.
Gerard Dalton, assistant superintendent for pupil services, $160,684.
Martin Smith, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, $159,961.
Alicia Boyko, director of human resources/community education, $136,814.
Geraldine Hutner, director of communications, $105,538.
Lawrence LoCastro, comptroller, $128,500.
Russell Schumacher, special assistant, labor relations, $116,763.
In other news, the board awarded the bid for the spray fireproofing restoration at High School North to Ricasoli & Santin for a total amount of $115,950. Other bids received were from Kohl Construction, for $188,250; and Daskal LLC for $135,000.
The board also awarded the bid for the pavement restoration at High School South to Meco, Inc., for a total amount $433,275. The district received one other bid for the project, from All Surface Asphalt, for $493,318.
The 2014-’15 and 2015-’16 revised school calendars were also approved. The 2014-’15 school year will begin on Wednesday, September 3, and the year will end on Thursday, June 18, 2015. Potential emergency closing days, in order, will be: May 27, May 26, (the two days following Memorial Day); February 16 (President’s Day); and April 2 (the first day of spring break, a Thursday). There are no planned emergency closing days during the full week of spring break, which runs from Friday, April 3, through Friday, April 10. In a change from previous years, there will be only one day off for Presidents’ Day — Monday, February 16.
The 2015-’16 school year will begin on Wednesday, September 2, and will end on Friday, June 17. The emergency closing days, in order, will be: Monday, June 13; Tuesday, May 31 (the day after Memorial Day); Monday, February 15 (President’s Day); and Thursday, March 24 (the start of spring break). Again, there are no planned emergency closing days scheduled for the full week of spring break, which runs from Friday, March 25, through Friday, April 1. In addition, there will be no days off in February surrounding the Presidents’ Day weekend.
The next Board of Education meeting, which will include the semi-annual harassment, intimidation, and bullying report, will be held Tuesday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Grover Middle School.
More cheerful chatter preceded the board meeting at the annual district recognition dinner in honor of the 64 district employees who are retiring. Specially recognized was Denise Mengani, the principal of Maurice Hawk who has been with the district for 36 years. The retirees include:
Robert Banks, assistant principal, High School South, 20 years of service.
Roseann Bonora, math teacher, High School South, 11 years.
Mary Katherine Caldwell, instructional assistant, High School North, 16 years.
Olga Choquette, language arts teacher, High School South, 24.5 years.
Marilyn Cloer, kindergarten teacher, Town Center, 23 years.
Ina Colella, Spanish teacher, High School North, 22 years.
Alyce Doehner, A&E math teacher, Community and Grover, 23 years.
Elena Dougherty, secretary, High School North, 14 years.
JoAnn Ficca, speech language, Wicoff, 9 years.
Mary Geaney, cafeteria aide, Village, 10 years.
Donna Gibbs-Nini, assistant principal, High School South, 24 years.
Donna Gil, ESL/Spanish teacher, Grover, 24 years.
Donald Gilpin, language arts teacher, High School South, 25 years.
Mary Gonsiorowski, third grade teacher, Dutch Neck, 21 years.
Diane Gorfinkle, computer teacher, Dutch Neck and Wicoff, 41 years.
Janice Grover, second grade teacher, Dutch Neck, 21 years.
Elizabeth Hammock, occupational therapist, Wicoff and Town Center, 20 years.
Judith Hanna, learning disabilities teacher consultant, Community and Millstone River, 13 years.
Joyce Haut, art teacher, High School North, 17 years.
Michelle Horowitz, social studies teacher, Community, 15 years.
Chuen-Chin Hsuchen, science teacher, High School North, 26 years.
Mary Hull, learning disabilities teacher consultant, Millstone River, 16 years.
Karalene Husinko, bus driver, 30 years.
Patricia Kahlenberg, secretary, Grover, 12.5 years.
Glenn Kaufmann, music teacher, Grover, 30 years.
Nancy Kasior, physical education teacher, Grover, 16 years.
Kathleen Kempf, math teacher, Grover, 18 years.
Nancy Koricki, Spanish teacher, High School North, 26 years.
Robert Krech, math specialist, 24 years.
Eileen Kwis, social studies teacher, High School South, 33 years.
Alexandra Lawrence, child study team, High School South, 25 years.
Shari Lukas, secretary, High School North, 25 years.
Lynne Maisel, second grade teacher, Dutch Neck, 16 years.
Marcey Mandell, ESL teacher, Town Center, 20 years.
John McNamara, supervisor of social studies, 14 years.
William Mealey, physical education teacher, High School North, 26 years.
Denise Mengani, principal, Maurice Hawk, 36 years.
Sharon Merritt, computer teacher, Grover, 16 years.
Diane Miness, first grade teacher, Dutch Neck, 25 years.
Kathy Mora, science teacher, Grover, 36 years.
Zetta Newell, science teacher, High School South, 21 years.
Judith Novack, secretary, Grover, 25 years.
Janet Nugent, instructional assistant, Grover, 20 years.
Patrick O’Donnell, Latin and language arts teacher, High Schools North and South, 14 years.
Dorothy Powell, instructional assistant, High School North, 13 years.
Joyce Ragucci, guidance counselor, Grover, 20 years.
Debra Resch, computer facilitator, Millstone River, 14.6 years.
Diane Richer, reading discovery, Dutch Neck, 18 years.
Karen Rosnick, A&E/Prism, Community, 26 years.
Toni Russo, integrated reading and language arts, Grover, 17 years.
Mary Santiago, ESL/Spanish teacher, Grover, 22 years.
Shirley Sked, secretary, Community, 13 years.
James Stives, director of buildings and grounds, 27 years.
Sharon Strachan, science teacher, Community, 26 years.
Edna Tiberi, nurse, Millstone River, 24 years.
Joyce Trotman, guidance counselor, Town Center, 25 years.
Keith Van Doren, fourth grade teacher, Millstone River, 14 years.
Mina White, language arts teacher, High School North, 9 years.
MaryKay Widmann, math teacher, Community, 26 years.
Judy Wiley, supervisor of accounts payable, 15 years.
Renee Williams, special education, Millstone River, 26 years.
Carol Willie, media specialist, Dutch Neck, 27 years.
Lisa Witt-Pinaire, special education, Grover, 17 years.
Teresa Aakus, 14 years.