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West Deptford School Board Sets New Policy, Looks to Others

A move to disclose supervisor-subordinate relationships is just the beginning of several new policy changes set to be introduced soon.

After spending the better part of two years struggling with massive state aid cuts and a drawn-out teacher contract negotiation, the West Deptford school board took a step away from crisis mode Monday night.

In a brief meeting, the board passed the first reading of the first of a series of new policies, a formal move to disclose any consensual relationships between supervisors in the schools–principals, administrators and the like–and their subordinates, and taking steps to ensure there isn't a conflict of interest.

While it's a policy common at colleges and universities, is taking a step to the head of the pack at the K-12 level by passing it, school board President Christopher Strano said.

“We're one of the only districts in New Jersey to have that policy,” he said.

The move is being made to protect board members and taxpayers, both legally and ethically, Strano said.

“Looking at it, you would think it was common sense,” he said.

The change in policy signals the start of process to look through some of the stagnant policies–those on the books that haven't been touched in a decade, in some cases. Strano said the board has worked the past few months to craft the new supervisor-subordinate policy, but it's far from the only change they're considering.

“We're getting back to being able to focus on things that are shaping our future,” Strano said.

And rather than react to incidents that make the news, whether locally or nationally, Strano said the board is aiming to get ahead of trends.

“We're trying to be at the forefront of a lot of policy changes before things happen,” he said, whether that's consensual relationships or social media or any number of possible new policies.

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