The school board for the Princeton Public Schools will still meet on Tuesday night in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. The board is slated to approve the tentative 2020-21 budget at the meeting.
Asked why the board is still holding the meeting, the school board prepared a written statement that was sent to the press via the district’s public relations employee.
The board is meeting outdoors at the Valley Road Administration Building.
“We have received inquiries from concerned community members as well as the press about tonight’s board of education meeting. The board of education is well aware of the restrictions placed on gatherings by the President and Governor Murphy,” reads the statement.
“However, we have been advised by board counsel that the Board cannot meet virtually before amending its bylaws to allow for such meetings, which we will do tonight,” reads the statement. “The reason for the meeting tonight is the need for the board to approve the tentative budget for the 2020-21 school year.”
According to the statement the New Jersey legislature has not acted to change the school budget timeline, and the budget must be submitted to the county superintendent by Friday, March 20. The district’s business administrator has been in contact with the county superintendent about a possible extension of the deadline but has been told that the tentative budget must be submitted by Friday, March 20, according to the statement.
“The board will make every effort to keep tonight’s meeting as short as possible. We will implement social distancing best practices, and only the staff that is required to be at the meeting tonight will attend. We anticipate no more than ten attendees, including board members,” reads the statement.
The meeting won’t be broadcast live for the public to watch, and it is unlikely members of the public will attend.
“The meeting will be audio recorded to further reduce the number of people at the meeting. In addition, while the budget presentation is typically one of the longest meetings of the year, we will not have a presentation on the tentative budget tonight and the budget presentation will be posted on the website before the meeting tonight,” reads the statement.
Residents who have questions about the budget can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The board will make every effort to ensure that there is a public presentation and opportunity for participation prior to April 28, when the final budget must be approved,” reads the statement. “Going forward, the Board will be meeting virtually, as needed, with a platform that will allow the public to hear and participate as appropriate. We are committed to doing our part to ensure that social distancing measures are observed while continuing to meet our governance obligations under the law.”