Preliminary Budget Report II…

Dear HTS Community:

As was mentioned earlier this fall in a blog post, the 2014-2015 HTS budget is in the process of being completed. Over the next two months, we will finalize the development of an efficient budget that funds all programs and services and fosters educational excellence. Our administrative team reviews appropriations weekly and uses this review process to assist in the development of next year’s budget. Expenditures are reviewed line by line and zero-based accounting techniques are utilized. Though our annual costs (health care, salaries, etc.) rise every year, our state aid has been reduced drastically compared to the 2009-2010 school year. Moreover, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) fully takes effect on January 1, 2015. For our district, the ACA has huge financial implications and these ramifications will be fully realized in the 2014-2015 budget. Additional annual expenditures are connected to unfunded mandates from the New Jersey Department of Education. These mandates include, but are not limited to, writing new curricula, purchasing new computer hardware and software to prepare for new state assessments, training costs associated with new teacher and principal evaluations, and ongoing Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) training. Please see the Preliminary Budget Report II Powerpoint that was presented at the January 20th Board of Education meeting for more a more detailed analysis. It can be found in the left hand column of our homepage.

Lastly, the Board of Education applied for and accepted a ROD (Regular Operating District) Grant from the New Jersey Department of Education for a capital project that involves replacing the windows and unit-ventilators in the elementary school. These new windows and unit-ventilators are more energy efficient than the 1969-installed originals. By accepting this ROD Grant, Harding taxpayers will save money and only be responsible for 60% of the total cost of this endeavor.  It will “go out to bid” later this winter.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

Guest Bloggers – Culture and Climate…

Dear HTS Community,

Last spring, Harding Township School, in cooperation with the United Way of Northern New Jersey and the College of St. Elizabeth, kicked off a 3-year, school-wide Climate and Culture Initiative. Climate refers to the shared perceptions of those directly involved in the school setting.  It is the feeling, tone, or ambiance of the school. Culture refers to a deeper, long-lasting view of the school. It includes traditions, ceremonies, and physical attributes.

In May 2013, students, staff, and parents were invited to participate in a comprehensive survey to identify perceptions surrounding Climate and Culture.  The results have been calculated and shared with the Board of Education, faculty, and the students.

On January 16th, Barbara Thomas and Emily Thony, Climate and Culture co-facilitators, will present the results of the parent survey at the PTO meeting.  Please join us in the Library Media Center at 7:00pm to learn more about the Initiative and our long-term goals.  We look forward to seeing you then.

Sincerely,

Emily Thony and Barbara Thomas, on behalf of the Climate and Culture Team

 

Intervention and Referral Services…

Dear HTS Community:

For many of our students, reaching advanced proficient levels in math and English language arts is an undemanding task. For others, there are obstacles to overcome. At HTS, we believe that all students can achieve at high levels. To further that end, there is a group of educators that meets monthly to discuss strategies to help struggling students. The Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) team consists of teachers, administrators and specialists. This team meets with classroom teachers and education specialists to develop a plan of action to help struggling students (as identified by the parents or classroom teacher) reach their fullest potential. The team meet regularly and works with the classroom teacher to monitor progress of these general education interventions. If the strategies are not successful, they can be changed based upon needs. The individual attention provided is furthered by the assignment of a “case coordinator” from the team. This person maintains contact with the teacher and will help evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies.

If you would like to learn more about this endeavor, please contact our I&RS Co-Chairs Allison Hunter ahunter@hardingtwp.org or Jenn Baldassari jbaldassari@hardingtwp.org or simply discuss with your child’s teacher(s).

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone