Parents, students and community members continued to speak out against several proposed staff cuts during Wednesday’s Township Board of Education meeting.

The district is expecting to cut several staff positions next year, including numerous teachers and paraprofessionals.

An especially large number of Nishuane parents and PTA members showed up to show support for Assistant Principal Evan Kozak, whose position is among those to be cut. It was originally anticipated that the position would instead be share out among other elementary schools. Several of the parents who spoke at the microphone argued that to cut Kozak’s position would be deleterious to the school and its students.

Walter Springer presented the BOE with a petition, with more than 1,000 signatures, protesting the planned termination of Montclair High School Athletic Director Jeff Gannon and Assistant Principal for English Kimberly Westervelt. The district does not expect to renew either Gannon or Westervelt’s contract.

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The board has indicated that the positions are facing cuts due to the current budget situation, an explanation that some members of the audience have questioned. Other audience members were critical of a perceived lack of transparency on the board’s part regarding the staff cuts.

Members of the Montclair Education Association urged the board to follow through with a recommendation by Interim Superintendent Ronald Bolandi to use money realized from staff retirements to hire new staff. MEA Vice President Petal Robertson said that since March, 11 staff members had announced their retirement, which accounted for $1 million in salaries.

See more in the next edition of the Montclair Local.