Sunday, January 11, 2009

New member on Hardyston School Board Brings New Hope To Area

It’s been a rough and tumble time for many involved with the Hardyston Elementary School, which faced a string of complaints from parents after beloved former Principal, Dominic Festante, lost an appeal for reinstatement after a 5-4 vote, but things seem to be getting back on track now.

“I’m pleased that the whole process went as it did,” says, Christine Clavin, an integral member of the Hardyston recall committee.

The whole process that Clavin is referring to is the ousting of former Hardyston Board of Education President, Marbeth Boffa, who would not return calls for this article.

Mrs. Boffa, had 1,137 signatures against her from registered voters to remove her from her seat after many complained that Festante’s lost appeal was a personal matter that was never explained fully to the community.

In a statement written by Sue Murdock, a parent who lives in Hardyston, she writes, “This recall, though an arduous process, serves to remind all elected officials that the will of their constituency must be a prime consideration in their decision making.”

Mrs. Boffa is only the second successful recall in the history of New Jersey, the first being in 2003 in the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District, encompassing five communities in Salem County.

Still, it’s not all animosity for Mrs. Boffa, as Murdock writes, “We would like to thank Mrs. Boffa for all the positive contributions she has made to our school district, as both a teacher and School Board Member.”

Filling in for Mrs. Boffa is Anita Collins, who has two children in the Hardyston Elementary School.

Collins, whose first meeting with the board takes place on April 29th, says that “everyone’s been very supportive,” and feels that she has a lot of plans she would like to implement once she gets fully started in her position.

“[My main goals as President are to have] open communication with the community…and new and innovative approaches to solving money issues,” says Collins.

Also on her agenda is a wish to finish the playground at the school.

“It’s my intention to help,” says Collins.

And as for former Principal, Dominic Festante, he’s currently taking on the role of Principal yet again in Hampton.

Looking back on the whole incident altogether, he feels that the parents who petitioned for him showed “pride and determination,” in their education system, and believes that everything that was done was in the students’ best interest.

“Everybody has to take part to initiate a high quality education system,” Fesante says, “That goal cannot be self-serving. It’s we who have to work, not I.”

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