In school districts like Middletown that recently changed the school board election date to November, terms of office that would have expired by May are now extended to January, 2014.
For Michael Mascone, serving an additional 8 months on the Middletown Township Board of Education is no longer possible since a change job responsibilities. The one-term member tendered his resignation, effective August 21.
"With preparing for meetings and attendance at meetings, I was putting in 35 to 40 hours a month," said Mascone.
"The reason I am resigning does not have anything to do with the amount of time it took. It's more out of a sense of doing the right thing. I don't want to shortchange the process," he said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Mascone, who was the Facilities Committee Chair, as well as a member of the co-curricular/sports and negotiations committee and the liaison to Joint Shared Services/Consolidation Advisory organization, said he was surprised to learn how much time the Board of Education dedicates to its responsibilities. "Not in a bad way, but in a good way. In a 'checks-and-balances' kind of way," he said.
There was plenty for a board member to become involved in. "I could be putting in 40 hours a week, if I had it," he said.
There are now six seats open for the nine-member board, with elections approaching in November. To the candidates preparing to run, Mascone offers some advice.
"The best thing I could advise them is to be engaged in it, prepare for it, and plan for it," he said.
After the reading of his resignation letter (see attachment) Board member Vinnie Brand said, "This is the third or fourth board member that has resigned since I got on the board less than three years ago.We'd also had resignations from three superintendents."
Brand said, "I'd very much like this board to consider the time commitment required to serve on the board. I really think we should look forward to creating an atmosphere where people don't feel have to resign or give up their personal lives or their professional lives."
He continued, "This is the month of August and I've counted 12 meeting nights in the summer for central administative members and board members. I have to be honest with you, I don't think that's necessary."
After the meeting, Board Member Leonora Caminiti said the time commitment could be intense at times, but rewarding. "I've had three boys earn Eagle Scouts -- I've been through the process three times. That's what I would say it's like."
With Mascone's departure, a vacancy is now available. Anyone wishing to run for office and serve out the term must submit a petition by Friday.