Field in Lyndhurst will see major upgrades

The Lyndhurst Board of Education is teaming with the township to rehabilitate a key school athletic complex.

To that end, both parties authorized a shared-services agreement last month outlining their respective obligations for maintaining the high school stadium and track which are described by a board resolution, as being “in poor condition and in need of renovation and upgrading.”

Joseph DeCorso, superintendent of schools, said the 12-year-old turf field is used by the school district for football practice and home games and track meets and by the township for municipal recreation program.

“It’s time to be replaced,” he said.

As per the shared-services pact, the school board will be “the lead agency and will undertake and be responsible for the cost of the project in the amount of $1,139,185” as proposed by the contractor, Athletic Fields of America/Sourcewell Co-op (based in Staples, Minnesota)….”  AAA/Sourcewell is being retained under a cooperative purchasing agreement.

For its part, the township “will issue bonds to finance payment of the amount” and the school board “agrees to reimburse the township … the principal and interest due on the bonds over a period of 10 years ….”

DeCorso said he expects the work to begin by July and to be completed by September, in time for the opening of the high school gridiron and fall track season.

To bolster the condition of the district’s mobile fleet, the school board is acquiring two 54-seat school buses under a lease-purchase financing agreement arranged through the lessee, Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission, and lessor, First Hope Bank, N.A., of Columbia.

The contract vendor, H.A. DeHart & Son, Inc., of Thorofare, will be paid $253,302 to furnish the two vehicles under an equipment lease, with an option to purchase.

One bus will replace a 10-year-old vehicle and the other will be an addition to the fleet which is needed to accommodate more trips and routes, including transportation for an expanded high school sports program that now features a lacrosse travel team, DeCorso said.

The buses aren’t expected to arrive on campus until December or January because of statewide supply chain issues, the superintendent said.

In other school infrastructure projects expected to unfold later this year, the board will be replacing old boilers at Roosevelt Elementary School, for $167,990, and at Columbus Elementary School, for $140,000; installing new digital displays in front of the Middle School and the high school; and renewing leases for temporary instructional spaces for the Community School (pre-K to grade 4) at 862 Valley Brook Ave. and for the Memorial Campus (K-grade 2) at 319 New York Ave.

In personnel moves, the board will be adding a fourth-grade teacher at Roosevelt School and thereby reducing the average class size for that grade from 29 to 23; placing a new guidance counselor and science teacher at the Middle School; and expanding the math curriculum with an additional teacher to reduce the average class size and offer more course selections.

On an administrative level, the board renewed its contracts for 2022-2023 with Assistant Superintendent Alma Morel at an annual salary of $163,770 and with interim business administrator/board secretary Mark Hayes at $550 per day, not to exceed five days a week. The new agreements take effect July 1, pending ratification by the Bergen County Executive Superintendent of Schools.

Morel is finishing her first year as assistant superintendent. Before that, she was an education specialist with the state Department of Education.  DeCorso said the board will be seeking a replacement for Hayes who was hired in 2021. State school law limits the term of an interim B.A. to no more than two years.

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Ron Leir | For The Observer

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc.

He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter.

He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based WHATCo. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, New York