On April 7, the Warren County School Boards Association held the first-ever virtual county association meeting. The meeting drew more than 40 participants.

Mike McClure, NJSBA president, and Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, addressed the digitally-assembled group at the start of the meeting.

“Welcome to a historic event for New Jersey’s local school boards,” said Feinsod, “I want to convey my thanks and commendations to the leadership of the Warren County School Boards Association and the NJSBA staff for their foresight and hard work in bringing about tonight’s meeting.  This meeting is representative of NJSBA’s goal to enable board members to stay connected during the current public health emergency.” He referenced NJSBA’s extensive schedule of online programming.

Feinsod also welcomed the meeting’s special guest, Sen. Steven V. Oroho, who represents Legislative District 24. “I thank him for his continued support of public education,” said Feinsod.

Oroho discussed some of the emergency measures the Legislature has taken to alleviate financial and procedural hardships being endured by boards of education and municipalities during the crisis, and praised the bipartisan efforts in Trenton.

“We are trying to provide some flexibility to school boards, municipalities and counties during the crisis,” he said. Oroho also noted that he had been in contact with New Jersey’s federal Congressional representatives, who were lobbying for increased federal funding to the state.

He thanked board of education members for their hard work and service, and talked about how he was moved by how educators, community service groups, and ordinary citizens were all meeting the challenges that have arisen.  “The human spirit is unbelievable,” he said, recounting how his office spoke with someone who wanted to donate the $1,200 they would soon be receiving from the federal government.

Dr. Rosalie Lamonte, Warren County interim executive county superintendent, also addressed the school board members, reminding them that the state’s budget and the superintendent evaluation deadlines have not been changed.  In answer to a question from a member on how best to support district superintendents during this time, she noted, “They are under stress, so I would urge you to give them as much support as possible.  If they ask for information or something, try to help as quickly as possible.”

Lamonte also reminded board members that, if they have not done so, they need to fill out their Personal/Relative and Financial Disclosure Statements with the New Jersey Department of Education by April 30.

The WCSBA meeting also featured remarks by Bethany Summers, county association president; Kathy Helewa, NJSBA field service representative; and Christopher Jones, NJSBA legislative advocate.