Search Results for: Laura Morana

RED BANK: SCHOOLS HEAD MORANA TO RETIRE

laura morana 111709Superintendent Laura Morana in her office in 2009. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank schools Superintendent Laura Morana is leaving the district at the end of the month, according to a measure approved at a school board meeting Wednesday night.

According to a late addition to the meeting agenda, the board accepted her resignation “for the purpose of retirement,” effective September 30.

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MORANA: SCHOOL TAX COULD’VE BEEN WORSE

By WIL FULTON

Red Bank’s school board unanimously approved the borough’s 2013-2014 school budget at the Thursday night before a small group of residents and school officials at the primary school.

The spending plan weighed in at $13.2 million, up $522,503, or 4.1 percent, from last year. The increase might have topped 8 percent, had the district chosen to employ “banked cap,” a method that allows districts to exceed the state-mandated limits on budget growth, said Superintendent Laura Morana.

But “when we thought about the impact [the tax levy] would have on households, and families for community members in Red Bank, we decided it was too high,” Morana said. “We wanted to be responsive to the needs of our children – meeting their educational needs, having the appropriate personnel, supplies and technology – but at the same time, we needed to think about the members of our community, and really think about the impact on the community.”

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MORANA: “WE’RE NOT GETTING ANYTHING”

IMG_6290While dedicated funding will pay for an expansion of the pre-K program, nearly all of the remaining state aid would be passed through to the Red Bank Charter School, Morana says.

The news from Trenton had Red Bank school officials elated, disappointed and “confused” all at once yesterday.

Elated because the state allotment of funds to schools under Governor Chris Christie’s austerity plan will put enough money into the district for an expansion of its highly regarded pilot pre-kindergarten program.

But baffled and deeply let down because, as it stands, the borough will net just $24,000 for all other needs, after deducting funds the two-school district is obligated to pass-through to the Red Bank Charter School.

Against a proposed $19.9 million spending plan, the state’s contribution is barely perceptible, says Superintendent Laura Morana.

“We’re not getting anything at all,” she told redbankgreen yesterday. It’s so perplexing to local officials that they are pressing the Christie administration for an explanation.

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MORANA TO CHRISTIE: LOOK BEFORE YOU CUT

img_9861072309Superintendent Laura Morana in her office in July.

Red Bank schools Superintendent Laura Morana is urging Governor-elect Chris Christie get a up-close look at the district’s pre-kindergarten program before taking a scalpel to the state budget, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

The district is one of only five statewide participating in a pilot program to establish early education curricula outside of the 31 economically troubled so-called ‘Abbott‘ districts. Red Bank got $2 million from the state Department of Education for an expansion of its program to 165 students this year, from 15 three-year-olds last year, and Morana had hoped to increase enrollment to 225 next September, the Press reports.

During his campaign to replace Gov. Jon Corzine as the state’s chief executive, Christie derided pre-k programs as state-funded babysitting, the Press says. But Red Bank’s program has been won positive reviews from researchers at Harvard, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities for its benefits in boosting academic achievements in early school years, Morana says.

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MORANA SEEDS PRESERVATION EFFORT

morana-lauraSuperintendent Laura Morana will give up half her pay raise this year to fund the effort at the Red Bank Primary School.

A push to transform the 17-acre Red Bank Primary School property alongside the upper Navesink River into a nature preserve and learning center is getting financial help from the borough schools superintendent.

Laura Morana has informed the board of education that she’ll to donate half of her scheduled raise in the coming year to the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation, a charitable organization created last fall to pursue the wetland project, according to a foundation press release issued Thursday.

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MORANA AIMS FOR NO-INCREASE BUDGET

IMG_629872 The spending plan funds a primary and and a middle school, and kicks in support for the Red Bank Charter School.

By JUDY DeHAVEN

Though the final funding amounts are not yet in from the state, Red Bank Schools Superintendent Laura Morana says she’s hopeful she can deliver a budget that contains no tax increase.

“The goal is always not to have an increase in the tax levy,” Morana said during a monthly meeting with the local media last week. “Hopefully we will be able to reach that goal.”

Last year’s $15.82 million spending plan included a penny increase per $100 of assessed property value – about $40 more for the owner of a home assessed at the borough-average $406,627.

The tax levy has increased for each of the last four school years.

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MORANA: STATE DATA ‘DISAPPOINTING’

IMG_6290The state says the middle school missed proficiency targets in language arts.

Red Bank Superintendent Laura Morana says school performance data released this week by the state Department of Education obscures genuine academic progress being made at the borough’s middle school.

In its annual report cards issued under the federal No Child Left Behind law, the DOE classifies the middle school as not having made adequate yearly progress in 2007. That classification sets the school back a step in its efforts to get off a path toward state intervention.

But Morana says the outcome was not unexpected, as the DOE “raised the bar” last August over the objections by administrators statewide that the change was too much, too soon.

“New Jersey is setting the bar a little higher,” a move that she applauds, Morana tells redbankgreen. “I just wish we had better advance notification. It’s disappointing.”

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MORANA: SAMARITANS WERE IN NO DANGER

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Details about the roles of Primary School Principal Rick Cohen and guidance counselor Karl Parker in subduing a man as he stabbed his former girlfriend at the school entrance Wednesday morning emerged a day after Superintendent Laura Morana told reporters that no faculty or staff members at the school were “involved in” the incident.

The school also sent students home that afternoon with a letter informing parents that the incident “did not affect any of our faculty/staff or students.”

Both statements were made after Morana spoke to Cohen about his actions and those of guidance counselor Karl Parker in subduing the assailant, Morana told redbankgreen last night.

She defended the statements as accurate and not misleading, and added that “at no point were [Cohen and Parker] in any danger.

“They wanted to help and take some action, but no, they were not in any danger, not at all,” she said. “No one was in danger of any kind at all — no, no.

“Mr. Parker and Mr. Cohen clearly felt that this was the most appropriate action that they needed to take at that moment until the police officers arrived, and that happened very quickly, from what I understand.”

“They themselves did not view themselves to be in any danger at all,” Morana said.

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MORANA LOCKS UP JOB FOR FIVE YEARS

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The Red Bank Board of Education last night ratified a five-year employment contract with Superintendent Laura Morana that will pay her $155,000 this year, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

The pact includes annual four-percent raises. It replaces a three-year contract that was to have expired in 2009, and carried a base salary of $143,000, the newspaper reports.

From the article:

Board members cited Morana’s fiscal management and improving the district’s academic reputation as some of the reasons for signing her to a new contract.

“When I first came on the board, I said with the size of the district, this should be a model district,” said Janet Jones, former board president. “I believe that under Laura Morana’s leadership, we’re on our way.”

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PRE-K LOTTERY HELD

Prek lotterySuperintendent Laura Morana, left, records results as school board members Janet Jones and Peter Noble draw lots.

Red Bank School officials today drew lots to fill next school year’s expanded pre-K program for three-year olds.

The lottery was needed because 63 applications for the program were received but only 60 slots are available, says Superintendent Laura Morana.

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RED BANK SCHOOL TAX SET TO DECLINE

Rbboe031709Schools Superintendent Laura Morana, far right, watches a student learning demonstration last night with, from left, board members Marjorie Lowe and Rosemarie Kopka and business administrator Annie Darrow.

Looks like Red Bank taxpayers will get some relief this year. Enough, in fact, to buy a celebratory round at the Dublin House.

Using what schools Superintendent Laura Morana says is a "data driven" approach to all aspects of curriculum and staffing demands, the borough board of eduction last night unveiled a 2009-2010 budget that would shave $7 off the yearly tax bill for a Red Bank homeowner with a house assessed at the average $407,000.

Actually, that's only the portion of the budget dedicated to general operating expenses, which voters will get to weigh in on next month. Factor in savings from reduced debt service, and the drop from the current year's bill comes  to $21.

"Our approach to the budget is pretty strategic," Morana tells redbankgreen. "It's our use of data make the most important decisions. If we maximize its use, the whole community will benefit."

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SCHOOL EMPLOYEES DISARMED ASSAILANT

Cohenmorana_2Primary school Principal Rick Cohen and Superintendent Laura Morana at a 2007 event.

The Asbury Park Press has a dramatic account today of the previously unreported role of the principal and a guidance counselor at the Red Bank Primary School in subduing a knife-wielding man as he stabbed a woman at the school entrance Wednesday.

Shortly before 9a that morning, Principal Rick Cohen “heard one of his staffers screaming that someone needed to call the police” and ran outside, the Press reports. There, about 25 feet from the entrance to the school courtyard…

“This man was on top of this woman, stabbing her,” 34-year-old Cohen told the Press. “I really felt, at that moment, if I didn’t do something, she was going to die.”

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UPDATE: ‘EVERYTHING IS FINE’ AT SCHOOL

Red Bank Schools Superintendent Laura Morana tells redbankgreen that the primary school is functioning normally this morning following a domestic dispute on the school grounds but outside the building.

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No staff members or children were involved in the incident, which Morana said involved at least one parent of a student and another adult. One of them was injured, but Morana said she did not know the extent of the victim’s injuries.

[11:45a update: The Asbury Park Press reports that the victim, a woman, was stabbed shortly before 9a and taken to Riverview Medical Center for treatment. No word on her condition. The man suspected of assaulting her is in custody, the Press reports, citing Police Chief Mark Fitzgerald as the source of its information.]

“We’re fine,” Morana said. “Everything is fine.”

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PRESS: REB BANK SCHOOLS TO ‘MAINTAIN’

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The proposed 2008-2009 budget for Red Bank’s primary and middle schools hasn’t been set, but Superintendent Laura Morana hints the spending plan will be little changed from last year’s, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

From the article, by reporter Larry Higgs:

The best word officials are using to describe the Board of Education budget for the coming school year is maintenance.

While the total budget figure hasn’t been finalized, the district seems to be on track to spend what’s needed and keep taxes down for a second year, said Laura C. Morana, superintendent of schools.

The budget is scheduled to be presented to the school board next Tuesday.

“Our goal is to do what’s in the best interest of the school system, but to (also) do a self-assessment and look at what we need verses just increasing,” said Morana, who briefed the board Tuesday.

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SUPER EXPECTS BOOST UNDER NEW PLAN

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By TIM HATHAWAY

The extra $368,000 in state funding that Red Bank schools received last year may have been a windfall, but schools Superintendent Laura Morana says there should be even more in the kitty this year.

According to Morana, the state will put more funding towards full-time preschool for three to four-years-olds, at-risk youth and limited English proficiency (LEP) students under the widely anticipated new school funding formula. The Corzine administration is expected to announce the specifics of the plan as early as next week.

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TALKING MONEY WITH THE SUPER

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Need a walk-through on the Red Bank schools’ $13.35 million budget, which is up for public approval next Tuesday?

Schools Superintendent Laura Morana will host a “conversation” on the spending plan the night before at the Middle School.

The budget is to be supported by a tax $11.3 million, up 2.45 percent from the present spending plan. The owner of a home assessed at $404,980, the borough average, would see an increase of $40.50 for the year.

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RED BANK: RUMAGE REFLECTS ON FIVE YEARS

JARED RUMAGE, red bankSuperintendent Jared Rumage wished middle schoolers a nice holiday weekend on the Friday before Memorial Day in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s school district still faces stiff financial challenges, but is “without question” in all-around better shape than it was when he arrived five years ago, says Superintendent Jared Rumage.

And as he did at a presentation last week, Rumage is hoping to leverage the narrative of that improvement to win voter approval of a $6.75 million referendum in November.

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RED BANK: TRIO CHARGED IN MELTON MURDER

MCPO 111915 3Middle School Principal Maria Iozzi, left, and teachers Wendy Turnock and Mary Wynan speak with former Superintendent Laura Morana, back to camera, following the prosecutor’s announcement Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Three Asbury Park men have been indicted in the “heinous” murder of Jonelle Melton, a Red Bank Middle School teacher they killed after breaking into her Neptune apartment six years ago, Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Thursday.

The three, who were already in custody on unrelated charges when they were indicted Wednesday, are alleged to have broken into Melton’s apartment by mistake after planning to burglarize another one in the Brighton Arms apartment complex, Gramiccioni said at a press conference in Freehold Thursday morning.

The news brought relief to school administrators and teachers who knew Melton.

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FAIR HAVEN MAN TO HEAD RED BANK SCHOOLS

rbps 022813Jared Rumage, below, was named to head the two-school district, including the primary school, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a seven-month search, Red Bank has found a new schools superintendent, and he lives one town over.

Jared Rumage, 42, of Fair Haven, was named to head the two-school district at a meeting of the board of education Tuesday night. He replaces Laura Morana, who retired in September after seven years at the helm.

Rumage, the principal at the Iselin Middle School in Woodbridge Township, will face some heavy lifting when he starts work on July 1. Amid rapidly rising enrollment in a district in which some 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches, the board of education this week approved a budget that will sock borough taxpayers with a 10-percent tax increase, or an average $231 more per household this year.

“This is the situation he’s walking into,” board President Ben Forest tells redbankgreen. “The number one challenge is going to be resources, how to do a lot with a little.”

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SCHOOL ARTS TO GET INSTRUCTOR BOOST

Count Basie CEO Adam Philipson and director of education Yvonne Lamb Scudiery meet the press on Tuesday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Red Bank’s youngest students can expect an extra-dose of performance-art based teaching in their upcoming curriculum, thanks in part to the hometown Count Basie Theatre and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

Borough schools Superintendent Laura Morana was joined by new Basie CEO Adam Philipson and director of education Yvonne Lamb Scudiery during her monthly press meeting at middle school Tuesday to help detail the Kennedy Center’s upcoming workshops for teachers, designed to help them understand the importance of performing arts as a part of overall education.

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RED BANK: SCHOOL REOPENS, WITH GOODIES

Greg Martin of Michigan-based Disaster Relief at Work delivered pencil cases for kindergartners, above and below, as well as all other Red Bank Primary School students Monday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One month to the day after it was inundated by the Swimming River in Hurricane Sandy, the Red Bank Primary School reopened Monday morning.

The event was accompanied by the arrival of a truckload of school supplies donated by residents of Clarkston, Michigan.

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RED BANK: PRIMARY SCHOOL STILL UP IN AIR

A dumpster loaded with discarded carpeting and other material sits outside the Red Bank Primary School, which remained closed Monday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After two weeks, Red Bank Primary School students were able to finally make their return to school Monday – just not their own school.

Displaced students attended a morning session at the middle school, before the middle school students arrived for an afternoon session.

The primary school, adjoining the Swimming River, was built on marshland, and suffered major flood damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy two weeks ago. According to Superintendent Laura Morana, over two-thirds of the school’s flooring and carpeting were rendered unusable in Sandy’s wake.

“The school has been in existence for over 40 years,” Morana told redbankgreen, “and this by far the worst damage we’ve faced as a result of weather.”

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RED BANK PRE-K: ALL IN, IF NOT ALL IN TOWN

Teacher Kelly Hogan greets a returning four-year-old in her new classroom at RBR Thursday. Below, students gets ready to draw their own portraits.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank crossed an educational milestone Thursday when, for the first time, it opened its doors to 345 three- and four-year-olds, leaving out no children eligible for its pre-K program, officials said.

The fact that only 11 of the  23 classrooms to house the newly-expanded program are actually in Red Bank appears not to be much of an issue to parents, a “really excited” district Superintendent Laura Morana told reporters on a tour of four classes at Red Bank Regional High, in Little Silver, on opening day.

“Parents are simply delighted” that the program, funded with $4.1 million from the state Department of Education, is available to all kids in the three-and-four-year-old cohort, Morana said. “If any are upset, I haven’t heard it.”

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NEW PRINCIPAL NAMED AT RED BANK PRIMARY

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Primary School will have a new principal in September, and she’s a tweeter.

The district board of ed approved the selection of Erin Mulligan-Pierre, right, Tuesday night to replace Rick Cohen, said Superintendent Laura Morana.

The two-school district will also have a new business administrator, replacing Annie Darrow, who recently took a job with the Howell school district.

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PRIMARY SCHOOL BIDS PRINCIPAL FAREWELL

The Red Bank Primary School PTO threw a sendoff dinner in the school cafeteria Monday night for principal Rick Cohen, who is leaving this week to become director of curriculum in the Metuchen district.

“The parent involvement in this school has just been amazing,” said Cohen, 38, who’s been principal for the past six years. “That gives the kids a real sense of belonging and pride.”

Superintendent Laura Morana tells redbankgreen that an interim principal is expected to be named tonight, and that a search committee will commence interviews for a replacement next week. (Click to enlarge)