Verona School District Superintendent Steven Forte considers himself a “very competitive person,” something that makes any undertaking he’s involved with a personal challenge.

Forte’s next challenge is looking into the possibility of moving the district’s current after-care program now run by the Montclair YMCA under the control of the district, something he believes the district can run better and maybe even turn a profit.

In the short time Forte has been at his post he has taken on the issue of extended kindergarten, arranged for college courses to be taught at the high school, sought to overhaul the district’s technological infrastructure and is now contemplating taking control of the after-care program.

Up to the challenge

These issues, rather than appear daunting to Forte, pose challenges, and he seems up for it.

In Hasbrouck Heights, where Forte worked prior to Verona, the schools offered an in-house after-care program  that generated a profit. The program was used to fund technology and facility upgrades throughout the district, he said. Forte envisions bringing a similar model to Verona with the help of Laning Avenue School Principal Frank Albano, who is also working on the project.

According to Forte, the plans for the Verona program include more academics with teachers in each school to implement it as well as to provide help with homework. He’s also considering the possibility of adding an enrichment component. And these are the keys to creating a profit.

The program would attract more participants if it offered more academics, according to Forte, and that’s what he would need to make the program sustainable.

“We’re banking on it,” he said.

However, the district would certainly need greater participation than it sees now to run the program. Currently, only 114 students are enrolled, and that number would not be nearly enough to match the $24,000 in rent the district receives from the Montclair Y.

“It’s a pretty big undertaking,” said Forte. “We would need a substantial profit of at least double,” he added, referring to the rent figure.

If the district does manage to pull in that kind of profit, Forte foresees using the money for technological improvements and eventually hopes to see the Verona schools go wireless.

“This is the future,” Forte said. And he wants to be the one to bring Verona into it.

Although Forte and Albano are still hammering out the details, if the program looks feasible, it would be implemented swiftly according to Forte.

“I would like to move on it pretty quick,” he said.