In an email to Hopewell Valley School District constituents yesterday, Board of Education President Lisa Wolff assured members of the Hopewell Grant neighborhood in Hopewell Township that they are not currently being considered for redistricting at this time. Wolff emphasized that although the Future Planning Committee made specific recommendations including redistricting, moving to full day Kindergarten and exploring magnet programs at Monday evening’s board of education meeting, that the board is under no obligation to enact the recommendations. The full text of Wolff’s email can be found below.
Additionally, Wolff offered an apology to neighbors for any concern caused by the detail recommended in the report by the Future Planning Committee, convened last year to advise HVRSD Superintendent Tom Smith on options for addressing the issue of declining enrollment in the district.
MercerMe’s live blog of Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting includes a full play-by-play of the Future Planning Committee’s presentation. The full final report of the Future Planning Committee also is available on the HVRSD website.
Members of the public at Monday’s meeting spoke on out on both sides regarding the full day Kindergarten option and magnet programs, but there was noticeable lack of comment on the redistricting issue, especially from Hopewell Grant community members, who did not appear to be present at the meeting.
Wolff invited members of the public present at the meeting to contact Superintendent Tom Smith directly with any concerns or opinions on the Future Planning Committee’s report. Smith can be reached at 609-737-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full text of Ms. Wolff’s email is as follows:
Our entire Board of Education thanks Dr. Thomas Smith, Superintendent of Schools, for heading up the Future Planning Committee (FPC) and guiding it through the eight-month process that culminated in the current recommendations that can be found on our website. Dr. Smith led a team totaling 40 individuals, including parents from every school, district staff members, and members of each municipality with no children in our district. We are grateful to Dr. Smith and the entire team for the laudable effort and very thorough report.
The FPC was a superintendent advisory committee and the Board of Education received their report on Monday. As mentioned numerous times, the Board will carefully consider the FPC recommendations; however, we are under no obligation to enact them.
Our Board of Education will carefully consider FPC recommendations against our three highest future planning priorities.
1. Improve student achievement.
2. Provide a staff and school environment that supports student achievement and collaboration.
3. Ensure that money spent is maximizing value received.
The primary job of our Board of Education is to set policy and direction. We set goals for the District, and we depend upon Dr. Smith and the administration to recommend how best to accomplish those goals. We will review the following FPC recommendations:
· Full Day Kindergarten
· Magnet Program Exploration
Within the next few months we will determine which recommendations are most appropriate. As selected, we may invite key FPC subcommittees to share rationale and research with our Board committees, although district administration is ultimately responsible for advising planning, implementation, and execution.
We therefore believe that it is premature to set expectations with the public regarding neighborhoods appropriate for redistricting, or implementation time-frames for recommendations under consideration but not yet approved, such as full day kindergarten, magnet program expansion or redistricting. Further, the Board of Education would like to assure residents of Hopewell Grant that our Board is not considering your neighborhood for redistricting at this time. It is possible that in the near future our administration may propose redistricting in any number of neighborhoods including Hopewell Grant, should we move forward on that recommendation.
Thank you again to the Superintendent and FPC committee for your dedicated, hard work. We apologize to local neighbors for any concern that may have been caused by the detail recommended in the report. Thanks to the public for your patience while our Board carefully reviews the FPC report in its entirety.
President, Board of Education
Hopewell Valley Regional School District