Eric Schubiger was nominated as the president of the Board of Education after an annual reorganization meeting Monday.
“There’s no question that operating a public school district today is more difficult than ever for a lot of reasons,” Schubiger said. “I know we have the right people up here to help guide this community and this district through anything we will face. We have a tall task but I know we’re going to do a good job.”
In 2013, the primary challenge will be adopting a budget that provides a quality education for students while keeping costs down, Schubiger said.
Although Schubiger believes the economy is improving, 2013 will still be a struggle financially, he said.
“We keep an eye on every dime now,” he said.
Also, in light of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the district intends to reevaluate its safety policies and procedures, he said.
“We’re certainly going to make sure we’re a very safe school,” Schubiger said, adding that the Board of Education is “committed” to this issue.
Moving forward in 2013, a goal of the district will be evaluating its kindergarten pilot with hopes to offer it to the widespread population rather than a selective number of students through a lottery, he said.
“Students in the program are benefiting,” he said.
Schubiger had previously shown concern regarding the pilot because it was not offered to all kindergarten-aged students. But the program is a “foundation,” he said, and it’s the board’s goal to offer the program to all eligible students.
“Our district is moving in the right direction,” he said. “It’s incumbent on us to keep on top of our game.”
The board continues to strive to give students opportunities to succeed, support district staff and ensure that students and parents are aware of available resources, he said.
“All the tools for students to succeed are there,” he said.
Schubiger, who was re-elected for a fourth term in November, replaced Jack Martenak as president. Martenak will continue to serve his third term as a board member.
Board members thanked Martenak for the “remarkable job” he did as president. Martenak served an additional eight months as his term as president was extended once school board elections were shifted to November.
The board also unanimously elected Linda Downing as Vice President for 2013. Downing has served on Lacey’s school board for 21 years, or seven terms. She has previously served as president and vice president.
Maureen Tirella was sworn in at the reorganization meeting along with Schubiger. Tirella was also re-elected in November for a second term.
Professional appointments will remain the same for 2013 with Business Administrator James Savage as board secretary and treasurer, Arthur Stein as board attorney, Homan & Frenia, P.C. as auditor and Ocean First Bank as depository.