SOMSD Board of Education to Hold Virtual Public Meeting on Thursday, November 30

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From The South Orange Maplewood Board of Education:

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. – District and Board of Education officials announced today that due to the anticipated large in-person attendance at the Board’s meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 30, the meeting will be held virtually.

In-person attendance is expected to exceed the Board of Education’s usual meeting place at 525 Academy Street, which is 200 people with no chairs in the room and 133 people when seating is provided. Relocating the meeting to the Columbia High School auditorium would interfere with the public’s ability to participate in the meeting’s “Public Speaks” portion because there would be no way to call into the meeting over the phone or through a virtual meeting platform.

Attendance is expected to be high because of an agenda item regarding whether the Board should remove the liaison to the MAPSO Freedom School, an issue that has drawn enormous local interest in recent weeks.

Board of Education President Kaitlin Wittleder said she made the decision after consulting with Acting Superintendent Dr. Kevin F. Gilbert and his administration.

“Everyone’s safety must come first,” said Wittleder. “When we expect attendance to exceed the limits set by our local fire code, it would be irresponsible for us to hold a public meeting and hope for the best. We never want to turn our constituents away at the door, which we would risk doing if we were to hold the meeting at the Central Office Building. We also don’t want to turn anyone away who can only participate in Board meetings virtually. By holding Thursday’s meeting virtually, we protect the public’s ability to participate while keeping our democratic processes moving forward safely.”

The District met its public notice obligation today by releasing an updated Adequate Public Notice announcement, which is below.


The Board of Education will meet in Public Session on Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 6:30 pm using an online video conference platform.  Immediately following the opening of Public Session, the board will move to go into a Closed Session utilizing an online video conference platform to discuss personnel, matters within the attorney-client privilege, legal, negotiations, and other matters that may arise and require discussion, to be announced at a later date.  The Board will return to public session (estimated to be 7:30 pm) utilizing an online video conference platform which will include Hearing of Individuals.  The community can view the meeting by following the steps which will be listed on the agenda. Action will be taken.

Join By Computer / Smartphone

Choose one of three options:

  • Watch on SomaTV: Click Here (
  • Watch on SOMSD’s Youtube Live Stream: Click Here (
  • Watch on SOMSD’s Webex Platform: Click Here For More Information (

Hearings of Individuals and Delegations / Public Speaks – Audio Comment

Community members can sign up to provide audio comments to the Board of Education.  Audio comments can be provided by connecting to the district’s Webex platform during a scheduled Board of Education meeting.

Step 1 – Install Webex on your device.

Step 2 – Submit a Request To Speak 

Submit a request to speak during the public comment section of BOE meeting by completing the following form:

Step 3 – Connect To The BOE Meeting

Connect to the BOE Meeting using the information below:

Event: Board of Education Meeting – Public Session

Date / Time: November 30, 2023 – 6:30 PM

Webex Link: Click Here

Event Number:  2341 793 0520

Event Password: Orange20Maple (67264320 from phones)

Telephone Number: 408-418-9388

Please check your audio connections are set correctly. Failure to do so will prevent you from being heard during the public speaks portion of the meeting

Step 4 – Provide your audio comment

During your turn to speak, your microphone will be unmuted. Please speak clearly into the microphone/headset. After your time for public speaks has passed, your microphone will be muted.

Eric Burnside, Board Secretary


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