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Moment of Silence for the Late Austin Gumbs

Also, Lung Cancer Awareness & Heavy Backpack 3/9/17 BOE Meeting

By: Katherine Massopust

Stephanie Márquez-Villafañe

PERTH AMBOY – During the President’s Report, President Ken Puccio wanted to recognize Coach G (PAHS Wrestling Coach Mike Giordano) who recently announced his retirement. “He is an outstanding individual.”

The Board also honored the late Austin Gumbs with a moment of silence.

“He was one of a kind. The City will surely miss his presence,” stated Board President Ken Puccio.

Board Vice-President Milady Tejeda added her thoughts, “I had the honor to take his (Austin Gumbs) place when he retired.”

During the Superintendent’s report, Dr. David Roman spoke about the renovations made to McGinnis School (where this BOE Meeting was held), “I want to compliment the new administration and staff. I see the artwork in the halls and the new TV showing teacher and student work.”

Dr. Roman then spoke about the new High School, “I am in constant contact with the SDA (School Development Authority) about the new High School. We meet biweekly. We talk about the programs to be put in the new High School and which ones we’ll use. We’re being very candid about that.”

Dr. Roman also spoke about the possible use of the 2 remaining unused snow days with tentative days off on 4/6/17 and 4/13/17. “As of now, it depends on the upcoming storms tomorrow (3/10/17) and on Tuesday (3/14/17). We will make this decision by the end of the month.”

During the Public Portion, Resident Stephanie Márquez-Villafañe spoke about the United Messengers of Peace’s Lung Cancer Awareness Walk to take place on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 11 a.m. beginning at the Train Station on Smith Street and continuing to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Rector Street.

“The walk is to honor former Board Member Anthony Bermudez’s mother who is presently in Stage 4 Lung Cancer. We chose to honor her. This is a free event. Lung Cancer affects everyone whether it is you or someone you know. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in New Jersey, the United States and the world. It kills more Americans than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined.”

She thanked Senators Vitale and Singer for passing legislation on 2/24/2004 designating February as Lung Cancer Awareness Month (State Joint Resolution 211th Legislature).

Parent Mary Valente spoke next wearing a backpack with books. “I live on Market Street. My son comes home from school with this heavy backpack filled with books. He walks to school and is developing back problems. He’s a 10 year old child. I do squats with this 14 lb. bag. I called the Vice Principal and explained to the Vice Principal how my son has to carry the book bag. When I went to see the Vice Principal, the Vice Principal was busy and couldn’t see me. I don’t want to wait 2 weeks for a phone call. I want a resolution to this. I’m sure I’m not the only parent with this problem.”

After the public portion was over, Dr. David Roman asked Asst. Superintendent Dr. Vivian Rodriguez to speak with the parent to resolve this issue.

This Board of Education Meeting began with a new format. The Meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m., then went into a closed session until 7 p.m. When the Board returned from the executive session, the Regular Meeting commenced with a public portion on agenda items only, then the main meeting, then the second public portion where anyone can comment on anything. The Meeting was over at 7:45 p.m. The Board then went into another closed session. When they returned no formal action was taken.

Board Members Obi Gonzalez, Anton Massopust and Junior Iglesia were not present at the Meeting.

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