The won't formally decide whether to move forward with hiring a new principal at until its June 14 meeting; but about 25 parents, teachers and residents showed up at the board's workshop meeting Thursday to let them know, almost unanimously, that the decision was an easy one.
"We're a Blue Ribbon school," parent Ed Barnwell said to the board members. "Why are you guys messing around with something that works?"
While the job opening to replace departing Maple Place Principal Cory Radisch has been posted and advertised, the board is looking at other options, including moving the remaining administrative team members around and doubling up on duties.
"My responsibility is to get a school open next September," said Oceanport Schools Superintendent Andrew Orefice. "I'm going forward with a search."
One option presented was to designate two teachers as building leaders at and task Wolf Hill Principal Melanie Lipinski to oversee them while taking over as Maple Place principal.
Another option is to have Orefice take on the additional role of Maple Place principal, a similar job he said he held for seven months earlier in his career and found frustrating because "you can't get to everything."
Board member Kelly McGowan said that when the district first began the process of its recent feasibility study, the "feasibility gurus" wouldn't even consider sharing a building prinicpal. "You don't touch the principals," she said the consultants told her. "You don't count principals as something you can share."
For about 45 minutes, members in the audience gave passionate testimony as to why the middle school should maintain a building principal.
"Services would be less and the savings would be small," said parent Karen Josselyn.
Trish Witschel, who has four children, disputed the use of the term "shared services" to describe having the district's superintendent also wear the Maple Place principal hat. "This is not the same thing as sharing garbage trucks with your neighbors. This is a job," she said.
"That is not a shared service," Witschel continued, "it's a disservice to our children."
Board members seemed please with the dialogue and appreciated hearing the public's opinion on the issue.
"It's incumbent upon us to think about every possible scenario to make an intelligent decision," said board member Dr. Madeline Badalaty.