With one year remaining in their three-year terms, River Dell Board of Education members Michael Chakansky and Dorothea Durand, both of Oradell, resigned from their respective posts on Monday evening within an hour of one another. Both trustees were elected in 2010.
“I think the River Dell Regional district has been great and I’m happy to have my children attend,” Chakansky said. “I do have a new job and it is taking up more time and would make it more difficult for me to get here. I’m sad to not be able to stay, but on the other hand I will have a bit more flexibility by not being on the board.”
Chakansky, a patent attorney spent the last eight years in private practice as an intellectual property law attorney practicing in New York City. As of July, he joined the law firm Hoffman and Baron in their Parsippany office representing clients with regards to intellectual property matters.
“I think it’s time to let someone else have a chance to put their view in,” Chakansky added.
Durand, a former Ph.D. chemist in the industrial and academic fields, cited a growing frustration and concern that the board of late has shown an indifference to the academic needs of the district's students.
"In my opinion, I have a concern which began with how the organic chemistry students were treated over the summer, the decision to not pursue academic coaches, and the Nov. 13 decision to change the survey courses to college prep," Durand said. "When I look back at these three issues, a common factor I see is the difficulty to get an analysis prior to making decisions. I am leaving a board that I don't believe is a part of our mission statement to promote student achievement."
According to board president Joseph Manzelli, he was aware of Chakansky's decision to resign prior to Monday's meeting but that Durand's came as a surprise.
"I appreciate Michael's service to the board," Manzelli said. "Dot's comes as a surprise but I thank her for her service, respect her opinions and wish her well."
Both Chakansky and Durand's terms was initially set to expire in April 2013 but was extended to December 2013 when the district opted to move its school board elections to the fall. The district will advertise the open positions in early 2013 and select new trustees afterwards to fulfil the remaining terms.