The Vernon Township School District Board of Education on Oct. 14 abolished the Director of Student Counseling Services position and approved laying off the director.
Director of Student Counseling Services Susan Matteson’s last day will be Dec. 5.
The measure passed 7-1 with Board of Education member Theresa Scura Coughlin
“I understand that difficult decisions need to be made,” Board of Education member Jennifer Pellet said. “I’m concerned about the amount of work that our counseling staff already has on their plate with the existing number of staff members, and that a reduction in this staff will put pressure on them. I would hope something can be done to ease that pressure. I’m also concerned about the impact on students.”
Vernon Township Administrators Association President and Vernon Township High School Assistant Principal Nick Demsak said he saw tremendous value in having an administrator oversee the counseling department.
He said he has great respect for Matteson.
“The professionalism of my colleague is remarkable,” Demsak said. “They have done a phenomenal job over the past few months to enhance programs and activities in the school counseling department at Vernon Township High School.”
In September, Business Administrator Patricia Radcliffe-Lee informed he Finance Committee that a number of budgetary line items were underbudgeted for 2022-23. Health benefits, salaries, transportation and liability insurance costs were coming in higher than previously what was budgeted.
He said the school board has recently been informed by the district auditor that it is currently not operating in a deficit.
He said the district continues to have money to cover expenses.
“The central office is working on reallocating certain grant funds, adjusting administrative positions and taking other cost saving measures to remediate these concerns,” Annunziata said.
Demsak questioned how the district could find itself in a position where it needed to cut an administrator during the school term.
“I urge all of you to utilize this experience as a teachable moment to thoroughly engage and question and review this budgeting process this year to ensure that such a matter never occurs in this district again,” he said.