>I found this article from the Asbury Park Press online this morning about last night’s Middletown Board of Education meeting. There’s not that much information in it that is different from what I posted last night before going to bed. The article seems to correspond with what I was told, which was Karen Bilbao is being let out of her contract early.
You can read it below:
MIDDLETOWN — The Board of Education agreed unanimously Wednesday to allow Superintendent Karen Bilbao to leave the district 60 days earlier than her contract allows.
Bilbao, 58, is set to retire on Feb. 1. She gave notice on Dec. 1, requesting that the board override a contractual requirement of 120 days notice.
Bilbao, whose salary is $190,835, has been superintendent since 2008. She served as interim superintendent from 2006 to 2008.
“I enjoyed it immensely, even the board meetings,” said Bilbao, who thanked those who upheld her positions over the years. “A superintendent can only be as effective as the board that supports her recommendations.”
According to her contract, Bilbao can be paid about $795.15 a day for no more than 40 unused vacation days, and can be paid $80 a day, up to $10,000, for unused sick days.
Despite voting for Bilbao’s retirement, board member Joan Minnuies said the superintendent should have remained in her position for 120 days after giving notice.
“We have no one in the district who has put this budget together before,” Minnuies said. “I’m concerned about that.”
Board member Vincent Brand acknowledged he and Bilbao did not work well together, but still praised her work ethic.
“The woman worked very hard,” Brand said. “I wish you the very best.”
>I was unable to attend last night’s Middletown Board of Education meeting even though I had wanted to very much. I had a conflict in my schedule that just didn’t allow me the time to make it. I was curious if anything would be mentioned about the rumoured BOE member, that has allegedly been ordered removed from the board by the State School Ethics Commission. Luckily though, I did have someone there who was able to report back to me on what happened.
From what I was told, it was a quiet and otherwise uneventful meeting that finished up early, with the big news of the night being that the BOE agreed to allow School Superintendent Karen Bilbao to leave her position within the district early. Bilbao is contractually obligated to stay on the job for 120 days after handing in her resignation, which she handed in on December 1st, but the school board waived that requirement and will allow her to leave on February 1st.
I was told that no real discussions took place at this meeting, on who would replaced Bilbao as Superintendent. As I see it, this could be a problem that I hope doesn’t turn out to be something more significant.
With MTEA Union contract talks looming and the new 2% cap on property taxes that will kick in starting January 1st, it will be important to have some one who is experienced and knowledgeable leading the school district and formulation this years upcoming budget. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be anyone currently capable of handling this.
I have heard from several people that the likely candidate to replace Karen Bilbao as Superintendent of Schools is James Stefankiewicz, the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum due to ties that he has within the Monmouth County Department of Education.
Whoever the new Superintendent is I hope that they are in place relatively soon, but only after a well thought out and intensive search for the best possible candidate. The upcoming year will be a challenging one for the Middletown school district and a truly qualified individual is needed to lead it.