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80-Plus School Staffers, Capital Improvements Welcome Students

New positions, retirements open way for hiring while plenty of new projects took place on grounds.

This year’s incoming class in the Hillsborough school district is one of the largest in recent years, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Scott Rocco said at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

But Rocco was not talking about the 7,400 students who started school last week.

He was talking about the 86 new staffers who started work in the school district.

After years of tight budgets, the Board of Education was able to add 20 positions to the staff; most of those positions had previously been eliminated because of budgetary pressures.

For example, the school district now has teachers of Mandarin Chinese for the first time.

In addition, 32 staffers retired and 22 resigned, Rocco said. All were replaced. And a dozen long-term substitutes were hired.

“It is one of the biggest classes we have had in a long time,” Rocco said.

The summer was busy as administrators screened and interviewed candidates for the positions, Rocco said.

“They’re absolutely outstanding,” Rocco said about the new staffers. "They’re all top-notch.”    

The new teachers were introduced at the board meeting by the principals of their schools.

“We’re very excited to have them on board,” Superintendent of Schools Jorden Schiff said.

The school district was also busy over the summer completing capital projects with the highest priorities and preparing new curricula.

“We’ve been very busy throughout the summer,” Schiff said.

Business Administrator Aiman Mahmoud reviewed the projects completed over the summer for the board.

For example, the district installed a public address speaker in the barn weight room at the high school to provide communication between the facility and the main building, Mahmoud said. The district had discovered during emergency drills that there was no communication link between the buildings, he said.

The project cost $11,150, Mahmoud said, because wires had to be laid in a trench between the barn and the main school.

Also at the a portion of the track was re-surfaced, safety straps were installed on the basketball backboard and a new sink was installed in a shop room.

The district is still waiting for a permit to install wiring for a new stove in the Life Skills lab and the replacement of the auditorium stage is expected to be completed by Oct. 3, he said.

At the , the gym floor was refinished and painted.

“It looks really great,” Mahmoud said.

The school district will be replacing the corridor lockers at the middle school with larger units during the school year, Mahmoud said, but no exact date has been set for the project.

The school board approved on Monday a bid of $23,660 to replace the hot water heaters at the school. That project will begin immediately, Mahmoud said.

Other projects included correcting the climate controls in the music rooms at , replacing the floor in the multi-purpose road, repairing 48 windows at Hillsborough Elementary School and installing new toilet partitions at the school, replacing the flooring at the media center and painting Bloomingdale School.

The board also approved on Monday night a bid of $22,700 for new exterior lighting at Woodfern School.

Lisa Antunes, the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said seven curriculum areas were completed during the summer, including English Language Arts, Social Studies, World Language, Technology, Health and Physical Education, 21st Century Life and Careers, and Visual and Performing Arts.

Antunes said the board budgeted 7,575 hours by 372 staffers to prepare the new courses of study.  

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