RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. — Cheers erupted in the Ridgefield Park High School cafeteria Wednesday night after a deadlocked Board of Education vote ensured that Schools Supt. Eric Koenig would keep his job, at least for now.
The board called an emergency meeting to discuss financial problems plaguing the district -- and to vote on suspending Koenig.
It ended 5-5.
The school district has seen financial and performance difficulties the past few years -- and operated at a deficit for roughly eight.
Parents, teachers and community members shared criticism and praise for the embattled superintendent and the board. The scheduled vote, however, drew support for keeping Koenig.
"Eric is good for our district," village resident Shirley O'Brien said. "We may not have been moving forward the way people wanted us to move forward, but he walked into a mess.
"I think we’ll look back and be shocked that we discussed removing Mr. Koenig," said Bobby Lee, the All Schools Special Needs founder.
Difficult decisions like ahead.
"There are jobs that are going to be eliminated," Koenig said after the vote.
Last week, he said that potential staffing cuts could include:
- 8 high school teachers;
- 4 grammar school teachers;
- 5 Support staff;
- 4 supervisors;
- 2 administrators;
- 14 lunch aides;
- All 43 teaching assistants, replaced by outsourced positions
Middle school and freshman sports teams were recently cut.