Stafford Township Board of Education Welcomes Return of 'Grateful' Superintendent

By David Biggy | Jun 19, 2019

Stafford Township — Board of Education business typically is lighter in June, as the school year wraps up, and perhaps the biggest news for the Stafford Township school board at its regular monthly meeting on June 13 was the fact Superintendent George Chidiac was sitting among it.

“I want to really thank the board of education for their understanding in my personal matter, and I also want to thank the community of Stafford for all your support through this,” he said as soon as the meeting was called to order by Board President Walter Jauch. “Their understanding allowed me time to be with my family, and made things easier for me to be at home. I’m kind of speechless.”

Chidiac last week returned to action within the district following several months away to help deal with a serious medical condition concerning his son. In February, the board approved Chidiac’s emergency leave and appointed Barbara D’Apuzzo as acting superintendent.

“It’s been hell for our family, but I’m getting back into the swing,” Chidiac said after the meeting. “The support from the board and community has meant a lot to us, and we’re going forward the best we can.”

Following his opening comments, Chidiac and Business Administrator Lourdes LaGuardia presented a certificate of recognition to board member Patricia Formica, who recently received an award as a certified board member through the New Jersey School Boards Association for her completion of 10 credits of in-person training in critical areas of board governance.

“So certified board member just means I’m a huge dork and I went to a bunch of classes, and I went to all the Ocean County meetings and a workshop in Atlantic City,” Formica said afterward. “It took about a year and a half, and I did it to further help the board of education and Stafford Township. I met a lot of great people and made a lot of friends. I just believe that if you’re going to do something, go all in and do it right, so that’s what I did.”

Beyond those two highlights, the regular board business was typical for June, with reappointments of several key personnel and partnerships as the district heads toward the 2019-20 school year – among them the approval to retain Sodexo Management Inc. as the food service provider for the district’s breakfast and lunch program, which will have a minimum breakfast price of $1.75 and minimum lunch price of $2.95.

The board also approved the use of approximately $100,000 to replace aging instructional technology equipment, something the board does once in a while, Chidiac said.

“Every five years, we use surplus funds to replenish some of our equipment,” he said. “With the majority of that money, it’s going to go toward replacing overhead projectors or our one-to-one devices, the Chromebooks. We’re going to do one or the other this year.”

Additionally, the board approved replacing one of the district maintenance trucks, a GMC plow truck, which sustained significant damage after being struck by a driver on Route 9 earlier this year. The price tag for the new truck is $21,826.40 after insurance covered some $8,860.

— David Biggy

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