Superintendent Steven Engravalle did not attend Monday's Board of Education meeting, prompting parents to call for the Board to remove him from his position immediately. Engravalle's absence was of particular concern in light of the fact that the agenda included the Board's adoption of the preliminary budget for the 2013-2014 school year.
"I believe that the adoption of the preliminary budget should be pulled," Paula Colbath said.
Colbath's concern centered on the fact that the one-page preliminary budget, as attached to the agenda, did not contain any back-up documentation for the figures presented.
"There's no back-up and there's no opportunity to ask [the Superintendent] questions," she remarked.
Despite the concerns of Colbath, echoed in the remarks of George Porto and United Homeowners president Diane Sicheri, the Board voted to adopt the preliminary budget. Prior to their vote, Sicheri told the Board that it is difficult to trust Engravalle with $61.9 million of taxpayers money when "it's hard to trust him with $167,000 (he's paid in salary)."
Sicheri also noted that Board member Charlie Luppino has missed four consecutive meetings. "He's a voted official," she said. "Where is he?"
The Board assured Sicheri that Luppino's absence is something that they are aware of and will deal with.
Colbath also raised concern over the preparation of the agenda.
"At 3 pm today, there was no agenda," Colbath said. "Why? As a Board your hands were tied and couldn't put an agenda up."
When asked by Colbath if he met with Engravalle last Wednesday to set Monday's agenda, Board President Jimmy Park replied that he did not meet with the Superintendent on Wednesday. Park went on to explain that he "made it clear" to Engravalle that they should meet Friday evening to go through the resolutions. However, Park said that they did not meet.
Park clarified that in the language of the resolutions, where stated "upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools," he did not speak directly with Engravalle, but received the recommendation through a text that Engravalle had sent to his secretary who notified Business Administrator and Board Secretary Cheryl Balletto. Balletto offered that regarding the grant application, Engravalle responded directly to her via email.
Howard Pearl reiterated his request from the previous meeting requesting that the Board ask the County Board for Engravalle's removal.
"We cannot function--it's time to make a change," Pearl said. "He is no longer our Superintendent."
Upon the recommendation of Board Member Holly Morell, the Board did not approve the payment for four conferences Engravalle requested to attend. One conference regarding school security, and another dealing with school preparedness and emergency planning, will be attended by Asst. Superintendent, Dr. Sharon Amato.
At the close of the public session, the Board retreated to closed session to discuss personnel matters where they said "action might be taken." Over an hour later they emerged, having taken no action.
When questioned, Park would not confirm that Engravalle was the topic of the closed session discussion.
Tune in for continuing coverage of Monday's Board of Education meeting.