Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

BOE discusses parking at Hills, Wi-Fi at Valley

On Monday night, the Pascack Valley Regional High School District Board of Education discussed various agenda items and addressed comments from the public. 
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Kaitlyn Verde
The BOE at the start of the meeting in the Pascack Hills library.

On Monday night, the Pascack Valley Regional High School District Board of Education discussed various agenda items and addressed comments from the public. 

At the start of the meeting, BOE member Michael Weaver was administered the Oath of Office by Board Secretary Yas Usami. 

The BOE also opened to take comments from the public regarding agenda items. A Woodcliff Lake resident stressed the importance of the Jewish Student Union for all students at Pascack Hills.  

“I think Jewish students should be united, they shouldn’t be separated from other students…the idea is to bring values and traditions to all other students, teaching them about it. I hope you will positively consider the importance of this [club] and I would appreciate it very much if we would start the gathering of Jewish students in the high school,” he said.  

Several Board members made comments while discussing co-curricular clubs and appointments under human resources.

“These are teachable moments, these are great ideas for cultural awareness and I think it’s fantastic that they have these organizations where it’s a teachable moment,” said BOE member James Stankus.

“What I find amazing about the district is that, like this example, a lot of these are student-driven clubs. I’m proud of the students for getting that traction and showing the interest and actually making these things happen in our district,” said BOE member Kristin Martin.

Under policy, BOE member Michael Weaver asked about the federal holiday expectations for Juneteenth. Superintendent Biolotti said that no other school districts in the area are closed on June 10, but “if [she] hears anything or we get a directive, we certainly can adjust.”

In December, the district was in the process of purchasing two properties, one of which has since been purchased. The plot of land is adjacent to Pascack Hills. Under finance, Superintendent Sarah Bilotti discussed short-term and long-term usage. She said there would be a traffic study conducted to determine if the land could be used to change the traffic patterns at Hills. 

Martin asked for updates regarding Pascack Valley Wi-Fi and the district dance team, which was discussed at previous meetings. Superintendent Bilotti said additional funding for the dance and swim teams is under consideration with the new budget. She also said that another company will be checking the cellular signal to see if a commercial booster can be placed on the top of the building at Valley.

Possibly is not a good enough answer for me…the liability I feel we have is enormous

— BOE member Michael Weaver

The Board received a call from Congressman Gottheimer’s office two weeks ago regarding the limited cellular access in the region. The mayor of Hillsdale was planning to coordinate with the congressman’s office to see if there were any funds to help increase the signal, said Bilotti.

Several Board members commented on this lack of cell service. 

“My concern is not during school hours. It’s the athlete or band member that’s there at 9 o’clock at night. Do the coaches always stay until the last person? I would, but I know not everybody does,” said BOE member Pat Luisi.

“I think this is more of an urgent matter. This should be our forefront right now because I’m really concerned. Believe me, this is serious. I don’t like this at all, that they’re not able to get access to the outside world. So this is very concerning to me,” said BOE member Debra Stephans.

When Weaver asked if 911 could be dialed on a cell phone in the building, Superintendent Bilotti said, “Possibly. You can definitely call 911 from a phone in the building.”

“Possibly is not a good enough answer for me…the liability I feel we have is enormous,” Weaver responded.

“I think this is the first time we’re having such an in-depth conversation about this, and I appreciate that a lot. I do think that we need to put a little bit of emphasis behind this,” said BOE President Gini Varghese.

While discussing old business, Stephans asked about the girls locker room at Hills. Superintendent Bliotti said the school is funneling capital towards saving up for a project. Another alternative is a bond that comes due in 2028.

After discussing the auditorium budgets for both schools, Weaver addressed his concerns regarding the pricing and a lack of updates. Weaver and Martin also asked questions regarding sports and club budgeting allocations, such as the booster budget.

I’d like all of us this year to make as many meetings as we can so that we can be a more effective Board

— BOE President Gini Varghese

The BOE members were asked if they had anything to say under new business. Weaver thanked the custodians and security at morning drop-off at Hills. Martin wished the PVRHSD dance team luck at their national competition. 

Towards the end of the meeting, Varghese thanked the BOE members for their attendance. 

“I am super happy to see the entire Board here today. I think this is a really, really great meeting. I think each and every one of us, including our student representatives, are very important to this running as a Board. I really hope we can continue to have more meetings where everybody is in attendance because each person’s voice matters so much…I’d like all of us this year to make as many meetings as we can so that we can be a more effective Board,” said Varghese.

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Verde, Editor-in-Chief
Kaitlyn Verde is a senior at Hills. She joined the publication her freshman year as a staff writer and edited for the Arts & Entertainment and School News sections her sophomore and junior years, respectively. This year, Verde is excited to be the Trailblazer's Editor-in-Chief alongside Olivia Ge and report for the community with Hills Pride. Fun fact: Verde enjoys reading in her free time, and her favorite book is "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue."

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