Clark BOE Faces Staff Shortages, Approves New Teacher Contract

By ISAIAH JACOBO
For Union County HAWK

CLARK — With the start of a new school year looming closer by the day, members of the Clark Board of Education said Monday that they would need to continue the search for qualified instructors in order to fill a number of vacancies and round out the teaching staff before September.

The board accepted four resignations (two teachers from Frank K. Hehnly Elementary, one from Valley Road Elementary, and one from Arthur L. Johnson High School) and made five appointments (two english teachers and an art teacher for the high school; a district-wide ESL instructor; and a Special Education teacher for Carl H. Kumpf Middle School) during its regular meeting on Monday. Still, Superintendent Edward Grande said, a number of unoccupied positions will still need to filled in the coming weeks.

A quick search of local job boards indicate that the district is currently hiring bus drivers, classroom teachers, administrators, a librian and numerous atheletic coaches as well as substitute teachers, a cirriculum writer and a musical director.

In other district news, the board voted Monday to approve an agreement between the Union County Arts High School that will continue to allow middle and high school students to engage with skilled individuals in college-level work. This year’s approval process, which would usually occur in the winter was adjusted to align with the county’s new timeline, Mr. Grande explained.

The board also voted to approve a new agreement with the Clark Education Association (CEA) which includes salary increases for both the teaching and support staff. Employees will each receive a 3 percent raise each year for the next four years. Mr. Grande also gave thanks to the Board of Education Negotiating committee, which is headed by Lorraine Aklonis, Vice President Thomas Lewis, and Robert Smorol Jr, along with the rest of the board for their support. Mr. Grande also thanked Joy Donaldson, who is a part of the CEA committee, for her assistance in negotiating the contract.

A total of 25 different course curricula thoughout the district – including those pertaining to science, social studies, philosphy and mathematics classes at the high school and those pertaining to mathematics, social studies and computer science at the middle school – will be updated and re-written by September, Mrs. Aklonis said, adding that K-5 full-year instruction will also be updated to reflect both technological advancements and overall academic achievement.

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