VENTNOR – City Police Chief Doug Biagi Thursday, May 16 was unanimously elected to serve as president of the Ventnor City Board of Education, with board member Kim Bassford supporting him as vice-president.
Biagi takes over for former school board President James Pacanowski, who is also a city employee. Pacanowski, who served on the board for nine years, many of them as president, declined accepting another term.
The Ventnor board is a Type I district with the mayor appointing board members to three-year staggered terms.
Biagi thanked his fellow board members for having confidence in his leadership abilities.
“I plan to continue on the path of my predecessors to provide the administration with guidance when needed, provide the teachers with a voice to ensure they have everything they need to provide the best education possible to our students, and to see the fiscal needs of our citizens are met,” he said Friday morning.
During the reorganization portion of Thursday’s meeting, the board approved Terri Nowotny as business administrator through June 30, 2020, along with several professional appointments.
The board appointed Remington and Vernick engineers for an hourly fee, attorney Andrew Brown on a $6,000 retainer and $160 an hour fee schedule, and Siracusa-Kaufmann Insurance Agency for a three-year term. The board reappointed Dr. Gong as school physician for $7,000, Nightlinger, Colavita & Volpa accountants for $19,900 and Brown and Brown Benefits Advisors as health insurance broker on a commission basis.
The board also adopted a school board code of ethics, with portions of the pledge read aloud by members.
During the regular meeting that followed, the board accepted the retirements of two employees and appointed two others.
Supervisor of Special Services Gina Scharff and teacher Sharon Salomon-Lowden will retire at the end of the school year.
Scharff said she has so many things she wants to do after retirement, but she didn’t rule out some type of employment.
Superintendent Eileen Johnson said Salomon-Lowden was the “epitome” of special education instructors and an “icon” in Ventnor. She wished Scharff well in her retirement.
The board appointed Abigail Moul as Child Study Team secretary at a salary of $39,516. She will replace Ruby Eberson, who is also retiring.
Johnson said Moul, who has a master’s degree in elementary education and has served as an aide in the district’s self-contained classroom since September last year, would “help the department move forward.”
The board also appointed Patricia Pettigrosso, who has worked in the district’s food service department for 14 years, to the full-time food service director post at a salary of $41,300.
Facilities Director Ron Fenton announced that the district received no bids for restoration of 10 bathrooms at the Ventnor Educational Community Complex that the district planned to complete this summer. The project will be re-bid in the fall and the work completed in summer 2020.
According to Fenton, engineers at Remington and Vernick reported that contractors interested in bidding on the project could not guarantee the work would be completed by the deadline on Aug. 30, because of all the other construction projects being done in the building this summer, including work on the fire suppression system.
“So many contractors will be on site that it could be a problem,” he said.
Bassford said R&V “dropped the ball” on planning the bidding process.
Biagi said that rather than “rush” a project with a two-month window for completion, “the better thing to do would to do it next summer. Let’s hope the other projects come in on time,” he said.