BELMAR — Newly elected members of the Belmar Board of Education were sworn into their seats on Thursday virtually, after uncontested elections last November.
During the meeting, Mark Furey, Kimberly Chek, Robert Preston and Rebecca Herbert were sworn in to new terms on the board, having been voted in during the general election on Nov. 3. Ms. Chek, Mr. Preston and Ms. Herbert were sworn into three-year terms while Mr. Furey was sworn into a one-year unexpired term.
Cherie Adams was unanimously voted as the president of the Belmar Board of Education, with Aileen Byrne-Fahy voted to serve as the board’s vice president. The president of the board presides over meetings, and the vice president takes over in the event the president is absent.
The board of education governs the district’s only school, Belmar Elementary School, which educates students in the borough as well as Lake Como.
Michele Cartaya, who serves on the Lake Como Board of Education, will serve as that board’s representative on the Belmar Board of Education. She will also serve as the board’s representative on the Manasquan Board of Education. Belmar Elementary is a sending district for Manasquan High School.
Several other school districts send enough students to Manasquan High School to have a representative on the Manasquan Board of Education. Due to the limited number of seats on that district’s board, the sending districts take turns on a yearly basis to fill the seat. This year, that seat will be filled by Lake Como, having previously been filled by Belmar and Mr. Furey.
On the facilities front, as the borough continues with renovation of the school auditorium, Superintendent David Hallman said he was excited to promote the facility and asked the board if they would be interested in pivoting to a performing arts focus.
“I am really looking forward to promoting the facility and, if the board will be interested, being known as a performing arts academy middle school in the future,” the superintendent said, going on to say that the district already has a talented staff and large community interest. “I just think Belmar is known for its performing arts and music, so I think we should follow the community as a school.”
On HVAC repairs, Mr. Hallman said that the district will start within the next few weeks on installing new ducts and ventilation.
Regarding hiring a residency officer to investigate whether some families sending students to Belmar Elementary School live in the district, Mr. Hallman said that he has spoken with colleagues about the matter to look into best practices.
“I do believe it will save the district money,” Mr. Hallman said. The district pays roughly $15,000 per student attending Manasquan High School or Red Bank Regional. “It comes up a lot that when the students go to Manasquan or Red Bank, there is a good chance that there are a handful of students who want to continue going to those high schools [even though they] have moved.”
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