Rome Board of Ed to hold reorganization meeting Monday

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Selection of a new Board of Education president, and the scheduling of meetings for the 2020-21 school year, will be part of the topics when the board holds its annual reorganization meeting Monday night.

The board meets at 6 p.m. Monday at the school district office, 409 Bell Road.

Board members will attend the session in person, but there will not be attendance by the public because the meeting room is not sufficient for social distancing requirements relating to COVID-19, school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake said Wednesday. The meeting will be available for viewing online through a Zoom link at https://E2CCB-GST.zoom.us/j/92671325221 and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8BoYZyGLUorkU1Ec_YP20w

Among the meeting items:

• Set to join their first board meeting at the start of three-year terms following last month’s election will be Karen Fontana and John Nash.

Fontana is returning to the board after previously serving two board terms and not seeking re-election in 2018. Nash is a new member. In addition, starting his second term will be board member Joseph Mellace, who was re-elected last month.

• The board is in line for a new president after Stephen P. Hampe, who had been president for the 2019-20 year, was unsuccessful last month in his bid for re-election to another overall term on the board.

The president position is considered the leader and spokesperson for the board, which has nine members in all. The president presides over meetings, and works with the school district superintendent to review topics to be addressed by the board.

Also departing from the board after the 2019-20 year concluded Tuesday was John Leonard, who did not seek re-election.

• The board will determine whether to continue a schedule that includes having meetings every three weeks on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the school district office unless otherwise indicated, or to set a different schedule.

The matter was discussed at the end of the board’s meeting last week. Member Leigh Loughan said she was in favor of keeping the schedule as is. However, Fontana, who attended the meeting, said she feels having the sessions every three weeks is not often enough.

In agreement was member Tanya Davis, who prefers the board’s prior schedule which included meeting twice a month. The board changed to its current schedule two years ago.

Using the previous schedule, said Davis, she would feel “less overwhelmed by documentation” and “able to prepare” prior to votes, plus the board would be better able to table voting on matters if needed. She referred to current situations that can include “vote right now...a deadline...let’s go.”

Member Jonathon Matwijec-Walda said he would be “happy to have the conversation” about the meeting schedule. The schedule is to be determined at the reorganization meeting, said Blake, and member Paul Hagerty said it is “a good place to do it.” Loughran noted it would be “courteous to give the new members who are onboarding the opportunity to express when they would like to meet.”

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