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The Ewing Public Schools Board of Education BOE Briefs: May 18th, 2020

For Immediate Release  

The Ewing Township Board of Education held its monthly meeting this May virtually as a result of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 public health crisis. The virtual Board of Education meeting opened at 7:00PM and the only action the Board took at that time was to move to a closed session where it reviewed a limited number of confidential items.  The public session of the Board of Education meeting was live streamed to the public beginning at 8:00PM. Communication and links to view the virtual meeting were disseminated widely.  

The public had the opportunity to comment twice during the Board meeting.  The first public comment session was prior to voting on agenda items and was dedicated to Agenda items only.  Submitted comments were read live prior to the Board voting.  

The second public comment was prior to adjournment and was open to any item of relevance to the Board and school district. 

Public comments were submitted to the following email: boecomments@ewingboe.org 

Comments could be submitted and were accepted both prior to the meeting and during the live stream.  Submitted comments included the name and address of the public commenter.  

If you have any questions about this process, please contact djn@ewingboe.org. 

Superintendent Michael Nitti began his report to the Board and public by thanking this year’s Ewing High School ambassadors to the Board of Education, Nathalia Davila and Anujin Ariunbold, and commending them for doing an excellent job keeping the Board and public updated on events and happenings this school year. Nathalia will be attending Florida State University in Tallahassee majoring in Communications/Public Relations and is planning a future career in Campaign Management. Anujin will also be heading south to attend the University of Richmond in Virginia, majoring in Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance and plans to pursue a career as a Chief Financial Officer. Superintendent Nitti wished them both success in their future endeavors. He then continued by reading an update prepared by Nathalia and Anujin sharing how Ewing High School is staying unified and together despite the shift to remote learning. 

Mr. Nitti then introduced EHS Principal Edward Chmiel, who highlighted student achievements and accomplishments over the past school year. Following is a link to Principal Chmiel’s presentation:

Ewing High School Achievements 2019-2020 Presentation

Mr. Nitti then talked about how the Ewing School community has come together during this public health crisis, sharing the story of how the Ewing High School staff dropped off celebratory graduation signs and goodie bags to EHS Seniors, detailing the many charitable efforts to help families in need, and sharing the story of how FMS teacher Patrick Jones and the “Ewing’s Helping Hands” group was recognized by the “Ellen Show.” (release below) 

FMS Teacher and Ewing’s “Helping Hands” Recognized by Ellen Show 

As has been emphasized by the district theme this year, even before, but especially during a public health crisis,

the Ewing Schools cares about the community. 

That was again confirmed recently, but this time on a national stage! Fisher Middle School teacher Patrick Jones was one of the recipients of the Ellen Show’s “Box Tops for Education” $250 gift card for the charitable efforts of “Ewing’s Helping Hands.” PJ

“The food drive "Ewing Helping Hands" started with a text I got from a fellow teacher asking if she knew of any resources in the area for a struggling family,” Mr. Jones stated. “A group of Ewing Schools community members started gathering and organizing donations to distribute to families in need. I posted on Facebook later that evening asking for donations from family and friends and the response was overwhelming.  From there the effort has grown to providing boxes, bags of nonperishable food, paper goods, gift cards, canned goods, bread, fruit and other necessities to over 35 families every week. The Ewing community, including both residents and fellow teachers, past Ewing residents and teachers, has been absolutely amazing donating and supporting this effort.”

When Mr. Jones was first notified by the Ellen Show about being the recipient of the award, he first thought it was spam. 

“But my mother got a text that afternoon from a friend showing my name on her screen as Ellen discussed the selections.” Mr. Jones shared. “I put on the television and sure enough, I caught the clip on her show a few moments later. I am humbled and honored to have received this recognition from Ellen, but I have had a lot of support from the school staff, my fellow Ewingites, and others all of whom have made a huge impact on making “Ewing Helping Hands” happen. 

Mr. Jones plans on using the gift card from “The Ellen Show” and Box Tops for Education to purchase supplies to distribute to families in need.  

Superintendent Michael Nitti then brought on School Business Administrator Dennis Nettleton for an overview of Referendum ’18 Phase 2 projects and the impact of the public health crisis. 

Referendum Roundup  

Ewing Schools Announce Referendum ’18 Phase 2 Projects/Schedule 

In October of 2018, the Ewing Township community supported the School District’s Referendum ’18 vote. The referendum consisted of a series of district-wide facility projects designed to create healthier, safer, and more modern schools for future generations of Ewing students. 

Since this landmark vote, the school district has completed its Referendum ’18 Phase 1 projects along with several other facility projects that were previously scheduled and budgeted:

In March the unprecedented COVID 19 Public Health Crisis has caused the district to rethink our project timelines going forward. Details provided below.  

COMPLETED REFERENDUM PROJECTS

    • Roof Replacement at Parkway and O’Brien Academy
    • Roof Replacement at Lore
    • District-Wide Security & Communications Projects
    • Interior Classroom/Bathroom Renovations at Antheil and Lore
    • District Tennis Courts at Antheil
    • Ewing High School Parking Lot Expansion
  • Ewing High School Multipurpose Field Staircase replacement 

COMPLETED NON-REFERENDUM PROJECTS

  • Ewing High School Multipurpose Field Replacement and Storm Water Drainage Repairs 

ONGOING NON-REFERENDUM PROJECTS

  • Targeted office and conference space renovations at the Gusz building, expected completion February of 2020 

With completion of these projects, the school district is set to embark on its schedule for Referendum ’18 Phase 2 projects. Please review the chart below for a district-wide overview:

2020 REFERNDUM ROUNDUP – PHASE 2  

ONGOING PROJECTS CONTINUING

  • The district-wide Fire Alarm Project was already underway and is continuing. It is anticipated that this project will continue and should wrap up by the end of the summer. 
  • Chiller replacements at Fisher Middle School, Antheil Elementary School, and Parkway Elementary School was also underway and will continue. These projects were a bit further along and are expected to wrap up shortly in the next few weeks. 
  • A Ewing High School & Fisher Middle School athletic fields improvement project was also underway. This project will add additional ADA accessibility to our Athletic Stadium at the Multipurpose Field, and renovate the scoreboards and baseball field at the High School. It will also place a permanent surface for the running track at Fisher Middle School.
  • A complete re-roof of the John Gusz Warehouse building will commence at the beginning of May, it is expected to take about a month weather permitting. 

UPCOMING PROJECTS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE

  • Partial re-roof of Fisher Middle School is scheduled for this summer. It is anticipated that this project will start on time and last partially through the summer. 

PROJECTS ON HOLD

  • One of our largest anticipated projects was a massive district-wide HVAC project as well as the complete renovation of our High School and Middle School Gymnasiums and Locker Facilities. Although Governor Murphy allowed school construction to continue, these projects are so complex they would have required a workforce of construction workers that would be too large to allow for any kind of social distancing. In consultation with our professionals, it became clear that the most prudent thing to do was to postpone these projects for now. Throughout the Summer and Fall the schedule of remaining work will be re-evaluated along with the public health conditions at the time. 

“We continue to be appreciative of the support of the community for our Referendum ’18 endeavors,” School Business Administrator Dennis J. Nettleton commented. “The positive impact of our Phase 1 projects is already tangible, and although we recognize the challenges ahead, we are excited to embark on our Phase 2 initiatives and see the benefits for our school community.” 

The Board then moved into the “Superintendent Recommendations” section of the Agenda. Some items of note: 

Finance and Operation 

The Board of Education approved the Required Update to the Public Health-Related School Closure Plan which will be forwarded to the Mercer County Superintendent and posted to the District website. 

Curriculum and Instruction 

The Board of Education approved the 2019-20 Statement of Assurance for High School Voter Registration 

The Board of Education approved Ewing High School enrolling as a member of the Burlington County Scholastic League to participate in the approved interschool athletic programs sponsored by the League for the 2020-21 school year.  

Student Services & Technology 

The Board of Education approved Project Unify – Distance Learning. 

The Board of Education approved the Five Year Renewal ESCNJ Nonpublic Contract. 

Personnel 

The Board approved the Memorandum of Agreement and Salary Guides with the ETASA for 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 School Years. 

The following policies and regulations were approved by the Board as “Second Readings” and are now formal Board policy: 

                  Policy and Regulation 8600 Transportation

                  Policy 86301.6 Bus Driver/Bus Aide Responsibility

                  Regulation 86301.6 Emergency School Bus Procedures

                  Policy 8630 Transportation Safety

                  Policy 8670 Transportation of Disables Pupils 

The following policy was approved by the Board as a “First Reading”. After review and approval by the Board at its next meeting in June, it will become formal Board policy: 

                  Policy 2422 Health and Physical Education 

The next meeting of the Board of Education will take place on Monday, June 24, 2020 and the meeting will be conducted virtually. A Ewing Schools Community Update will be released the week prior to the Board of Education meeting and include the live stream links so the meeting can be viewed by the public.