Leslie Winograd and Ron Spring, who were were warmly welcomed at Wednesday's reorganization meeting. Bonnie Granitir was also named the board's new president at the meeting and Antonio Calcado will serve as the new vice-president.
"I think they bring two different views and talents. I think they will help mightily," said board member Chuck Granata about Winograd and Spring. Granata was the board's previous president.
Steven Robinson, the district's Business Administrator, swore in Winograd and Spring in front of a large audience that gathered in Livingston High School's media center. Jonathan Wickner, the student representative on the board, was also sworn in.
In last Tuesday's school election, Winograd and Spring defeated board incumbents Sheri Goldberg and Stan Graboski for the two vacant seats (3 year term) on the Board. Goldberg and Graboski, who were in attendence, were bid good-bye.
"I want to thank Sheri and Sam for all the good work over the years," said Granatir.
While much of the night was celebratory — there was also a reception prior to the meeting — the board did get down to business.
One area that Granatir would like to see the new board work on is repairing some of the damage caused by the internal disputes of the previous board.
In March, four members — Granata, Granatir, Calcado and Graboski — filed an ethics complaint with the state School Board Ethics Commission against fellow member Sheri Goldberg, alleging that she overstepped her authority as a school board member in various ways. For example, the complaint asserts that Goldberg revealed information she obtained in confidential private sessions of the board and that she personally contacted School Superintendent Dr. Brad Draeger on policy matters, which is against board rules.
"I think we need to roll up our sleeves and mend some of those wounds," said Granatir at Wednesday's meeting.
Granitir also added that she'd like the new board to reach out to parents and teachers.
"We're trying to build relationships," said Granatir, who noted that she'd like to reinstate the board holding meetings with parent groups, for example, along with the Livingston Teacher Association and Livingston Education Association.
Another area that the board will need to address — and soon, as the school year is almost over — is the budget. Although voters approved the 2010-2011 budget last week, the board and Superintendent Dr. Brad Draeger must now work on fine-tuning the cuts. Members of the board thanked, again, the public for approving the budget.
"We have come through a tough time," said board vice president Calcado, who pointed to several districts throughout the state who are having harder times with the budget than Livingston. "While it is not perfect here, it is a manageable chaos."
Dr. Draeger gave an update on one area that the district is considering scaling back: busing. According to Dr. Draeger, the district is close to completing a survey on subscription busing and on the implementation of fees for eliminated or reduced programs. Dr. Draeger indicated there has been a 51 percent return of the survey so far. The deadline for people to complete the survey is April 30.
The board's next meeting is May 10.