By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank Regional High has rescheduled a planned live, in-person budget hearing previously slated for Wednesday night.
In a note posted on the district website late Wednesday morning, Superintendent Lou Moore said the meeting would be rescheduled for May 6, and will be held electronically “to respect everyone’s right to participate.”
The change followed publication of a redbankgreen article Tuesday night questioning whether the meeting was consistent with Governor Phil Murphy’s general shutdown of the state in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
From Moore’s announcement:
Moore did not respond to questions about the meeting sent to him Tuesday night and to follow-up questions late Wednesday morning.
Board member Frank Neary, who heads the finance committee, told redbankgreen that its questions were legal ones he could not answer, and referred us to Moore and board attorney Antony Sciarrillo, who also did not respond to emailed questions.
A Murphy spokeswoman said the administration was looking into whether the planned meeting violated the governor’s “stay home” executive order of March 21, which remains in effect.
It allows residents to leave their homes for specific purposes, such as buying food and performing jobs considered “essential.” But it makes no explicit exception for government or school board meetings, and appears to bar them.
On March 10, RBR became the first school in New Jersey to shut down over concern about the pandemic when Moore closed the school for a “deep cleaning of the building.”
That followed news that the adult brother of a student from Little Silver had tested positive for COVID-19. Like schools statewide, which are shut down under Murphy’s orders, RBR has not reopened since, though construction work on an addition and roof replacement has continued.
As of Tuesday, COVID-19 was associated with the deaths of 6,442 New Jersey residents, according to the Murphy administration.