The local Board of Education is looking for a qualified candidate to fill a vacancy on the Board of Education.

Board member Erin Dougherty, who is in her second term serving on the board, confirmed today she submitted her resignation at the board meeting Tuesday and anticipates it will be formally accepted at the regular board meeting April 26.

Although the board member confirmed her resignation requires “an involved answer” , it has to do with the regionalization question that is currently a major issue in this borough as well as Highlands and neighboring Sea Bright for both the three boards of education in Highlands and Atlantic Highlands as well as the governing bodies of both towns and Sea Bright.

Mrs. Dougherty said she will issue a prepared statement tomorrow.

The board member, who lives on Center Ave, is married to Councilman Brian Dougherty and the couple have three children in the local school system. The question of regionalization with the borough of Sea Bright in a preK-12 school district is currently under discussion by both Sea Bright and Highlands Borough councils.

Molly Murphy, who is also a member of the local Board of Education, is wife of Atlantic Highlands Council president James Murphy. Her term expires next year, but there has not been any indication whether she, too, will resign from her position because of any possible conflicts with her husband’s position on the governing body.

Councils in both those towns have already passed resolutions requesting the state Department of Education Commissioner to permit placing the question of a preK-12 regional district involving the three towns on the November ballot. In Highlands, where Councilman Don Melnyk’s wife is a member of the Highlands Board of Education, Councilman Melnyk declined to vote on the question because of a conflict of issue. The resolution was approved by unanimous vote of the remaining council members.

The Atlantic Highlands Mayor and Council indicated it will not make a decision on the ballot question until after a second feasibility study now underway is completed by the tri-district. That was first anticipated to be released in early April and has since been reported to be released sometime in either late April or May. The question on the November ballot must be written and approved by the Commissioner prior to Aug. 15.

At a recent informational meeting held by the Highlands mayor and council, there was an indication by the attorney who completed the study the towns had requested that should Atlantic Highlands not approve the question on the ballot, Highlands and Sea Bright might consider another option whereby Sea Bright would join Highlands and could possibly bring additional funds to that borough with Atlantic Highlands not receiving any of those benefits and possibly becoming a sending district toa new Henry Hudson Regional High school..

The Sea Bright Mayor and Council is holding an informational session similar to the one in Highlands last week and an explanation of that possibility may be discussed at that meeting.

The meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Monday, April 11 and will be held at the Beach Pavilion office on the ocean side of Ocean Ave. The meeting is open to interested persons in all three towns.

In the meantime, the local board of education lost no time in eliminating Mrs. Dougherty’s photo and name from its webpage on board business, and advertised the opening effective April 26. The appointment would run from that date until Dec. 31 of this year. It will be on the November ballot to fill the remaining one year of the current three year term.

Candidates interested in in filing letters of application must have them completed no later than 4 p.m. April 25.

Candidates must be at least 18 year old US citizens, able to read and write, a resident of the borough for at least a year this April, a registered voter in the district, and not directly or indirectly interested in a contact with a claim against the board. Applicants cannot be disqualified as a voter pursuant to state law.

Letters of interest should be sent to Janet Sherlock, School Business Administrator/Board Secretary, 140 First Ave., Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716.

The board of education will review all qualified applicants.


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