Hardyston schools look at expanding student services next year

Hardyston. School officials want to increase the hours per week devoted to intervention and reading services. Committees are also at work doing business and building assessments.

| 18 Mar 2021 | 03:27

Intervention and reading services may be expanded in the Hardyston Township School District in the next academic year.

At the March 9 school board meeting, board member Nick Demsak the increased hours will save the district from having to pay additional costs.

Demsak said he met with the personnel committee, which includes school board member Jennifer Cenatiempo, school board president Ron Hoffman, and chief school administrator Mike Ryder. They discussed increasing intervention services by two and three-quarter hours a day at the middle school and 80 minutes a day at the elementary school.

Ryder told the personnel committee he was looking at ways to increase reading special services from 26 to 36 hours a week. Hoffman said school administrators “have been working very diligently” doing business assessments, building assessments (including roofing projects, boiler replacements, and air conditioning checks), curriculum reviews, state aid adjustments on budgets, and district subscription reviews. They have been meeting with engineers, contractors, and Department of Public Works officials, while verifying warranties on building areas and addressing the many questions asked by various committees.

“Our committees are doing an excellent job to assure that we have a great building facility, to be able to teach our children in a safe, comfortable, and clean environment, so we can provide the best education possible,” Hoffman said.

State aid reductions

The district stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual state aid for the next few years, Hoffman said, but added that “through creative planning, we are still able to fund many projects without affecting the town budget and taxes.” Compared with other local schools, he said, Hardyston “walks away proud that we will outshine any other districts.”

Ryder said Hardyston state aid was reduced by $270,000 for next year, a 14.93% loss. “We have made a priority to not reduce staffing next year in order to have more teachers for our students. We also have doubled the original amount that is budgeted for the Summer Academy to help prevent learning loss. The school has budgeted to increase reading specialist support for the district in both elementary and middle school, and the budget will also allow an increase in intervention support hours for both schools for the following school year.”