Education

Non-Resident Students and Religious Holidays Discussed at Millburn Board of Education Meeting

April 29, 2014 at 7:53 PM

MILLBURN, NJ - At the Board of Education Meeting on Monday evening, an update on the issue of non-resident children possibly attending Millburn schools was given.  Board member and Negotiations Committee chair John Westfall-Kwong said the commitee received an update that 27 out of 46 parents or guardians have responded to the district’s letter regarding documentation of residency. He added that staff members will call and email (when email addresses are available), the 19 non-respondents.

He added that only 46 out of 52 guardians whose information could not be verified by the Verify Residency search done several weeks ago were contacted because six of the addresses were from pre-school parents or guardians whose residence had been “confirmed with all valid documents during the registration process within the school year.”

Westfall-Kwong also said that the committee asked the board policy committee to examine a tuition reimbursement collection policy for any students determined to be nonresidents. In addition, he said, school security officer Michael Palardy gave the committee further information about procedures in place for residency investigations and other safety and security issues.

Sign Up for E-News

At Monday’s meeting, former board members Josh Scharf and Lise Chapman continued to press the board for a more detailed explanation about how the board reduced Verify Residency figures that produced about 1200 questionable address information from one data base and 1900 from another database down to the 52 parents or guardians whose information was followed up on.

An explanation of the board’s methodology was provided on the district website following the board’s March 13 session.

Another topic of continuing controversy—school holidays for religious and cultural observances—also dominated Monday’s session.

The board’s program committee has been studying the topic since last October, when members of the township’s Indian community requested that the Indian festival of Diwali be added as a day when schools would be closed.

At Monday’s meeting, Millburn Short Hills Chinese Association president Jack Ouyang said a survey taken by his group showed that 96.6 percent of those who responded were in favor of the inclusion of a Chinese Lunar New Year observance in township schools.

He said the holiday, during which Chinese, Koreans and other Asians join with family to celebrate and learn about their culture and exchange red envelopes to be exchanged and ward off evil, was recognized in China and by many school districts in the state. He added that closing schools to observe the holiday would also give students a better appreciation of cultural diversity in Millburn-Short Hills.

Instead of disrupting the school calendar, the Chinese association president suggested that a staff development day be used for the holiday or the district’s winter or spring vacations be changed to include the holiday.

Several other speakers addressed the board in favor of the observance.

A frequent supporter of the Diwali observance, Jhoti Sharma, said those supporting a Diwali observance, who had first petitioned the board last fall, did not want to exclude any other religion—they just wanted to add a holiday since the school district already closes for Rosh Hosannah and Yom Kippur—Jewish holidays.

She also suggested that the district’s winter or spring breaks could be modified to accommodate the additional holiday.

Sharma added, however, that, by allowing closings for one culture’s holiday or another would give township students the idea that there was a “pecking order” of religions in the township.

Several speakers opposed a recent suggestion by board members that the school body may consider eliminating all closings for religious or cultural observances. Board members also have suggested allowing students to take days off without penalty to allow for religious or cultural observances.

Matthew D. Gewirtz, senior rabbi at Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, said he was concerned that some residents felt there was a “pecking order” of religions in the community.

Gewirtz said it was a base value that all were held the same, adding that a rush to judgment deleting anyone’s observance would be leading Millburn-Short Hills “down a very bad road.”

He said the township’s clergy and board members should meet to come up with a solution that was beneficial to all.

Gewirtz concluded, “the more we see others as others, the more we diminish ourselves.”

Also speaking in favor of cultural diversity and against deletion of currently-observed holidays were Rabbi Mendel Bogomilsky of Millburn and Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz, a township resident who is a rabbi at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston. 

Monday’s meeting also included a presentation by Nancy Siegel of the high school guidance department.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, however, resident MIchael Brendzel said the school’s guidance department tended to favor some students over others and to steer certain well-connected students to schools like Harvard and Yale.

Brendzel also said his son had been the victim of bullying at the middle school and officials, including principal Michael Cahill had done little to help. He pledged to “do all in his power”  to have Cahill removed as principal.

When Brendzel continued to attack school officials and the district, board president Jeffrey Waters told him personal attacks were inapppropriate at board meetings and urged him to stop.

After Brendzel said he would continue and said Waters could “call the police” to have him removed from the meeting, the board voted for a five-minite recess during which Brendzel left the room. Millburn police were seen outside the school after the meeting.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Senior Rabbi of B'nai Jeshurun of Short Hills Leads 50 Adults to Israel

SHORT HILLS, NJ - Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s Senior Rabbi, Matthew D. Gewirtz, led a group of 50 adults to Israel in early November. In addition to touring, the trip included Adult B’nai Mitzvah services and discussions with local leaders on various aspects of life in Israel.

Rabbi Gewirtz began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in ...

Millburn-Short Hills Chamber of Commerce Hosting 'A Taste of Millburn' Soiree

January 18, 2017

MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn-Short Hills Chamber of Commerce is hosting 'A Taste of Millburn' Soiree on January 30 at the Short Hills Hilton. Many business owners, elected officials, and residents are expected to come out and enjoy the festivities. 

Area restaurants will serve up tasting size dishes to sample while attendees sip the signature Cranberry Frost Martini created just ...

Theft at Louis Vuitton; Fraud and Forgery Strike Nordstrom at Short Hills Mall

January 14, 2017

On January 5, 2017 Millburn Police Officer Zonn responded to the Louis Vuitton store at The Mall at Short Hills on a theft report. Louis Vuitton personnel report a Hispanic male wearing an olive colored jacket and jeans concealed a pair of sunglasses valued at $760.00 and left the store without making payment. The incident is under investigation by the Millburn Police Detective Bureau.

On ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_f422456eb0f1fa40d8a2_b73eab72872ab03aae78_veteran-hd-wallpapers-hd-wallpapers-8vznfz-clipart

Sat, January 21, 10:00 AM

Millburn High School, Millburn

Millburn High School Military Appreciation Day ...

Carousel_image_6da8ddb5c1222ab92074_unknown_copy

Sun, January 22, 12:00 PM

Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Second Annual Lunar New Year and Welcome Spring ...

Education Green

Carousel_image_598e4bee3f95caa87a95_3a428b670b9e744650bb_unnamed__8_

Mon, January 23, 7:45 PM

Education Center, Millburn

Millburn Board of Education Meeting

Carousel_image_112f10965420be3a0166_612c4a3991ac14730b95_best_c20d525a95812bff361b_56974e1f719431e1e0d8_1480817210980

Tue, January 24, 11:00 AM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

EMPOWER HOUR - MMAC Empower Hour Continues the ...

Millburn Residents Produce Concert Featuring Timothy B. Schmit w/special guest Richie Furay

January 20, 2017

Two Legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Musicians Perform at Benefit Concert

On Tuesday May 9th, Nancy and David Stone of Millburn Township, and also owners of two downtown businesses, Nancy And David Fine Jewels & STYLE by Nancy And David are producing a concert with two legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famers in their only U.S.A appearance together.

EAGLES & former POCO ...

Audio: Point View's Petrides Tells Bloomberg Says Content Move Makes Sense for Apple

Point View's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on Bloomberg Radio (Interview starts at 1:35) discussing Apple's potential move into making original video content:

assets.bwbx.io

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

Video: Dietze Tabs Pharma, Energy, and Consumer Product Stocks Among Top Picks

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, discusses his top picks in the wake of the Trump election:

bnn.ca

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive financial planning, to develop and achieve their financial ...

Pure Barre Short Hills Announces 2017 Fitness Challenge

SHORT HILLS, NJ – Pure Barre, the largest and most established barre concept in North America, is pleased to announce the Set The Barre challenge, to help new and existing clients reach their 2017 health and fitness goals.

Whether you’re looking to switch up your fitness routine or start working out, Pure Barre can work with you to accomplish your new years resolutions. Designed to ...

Closed Fund Open Mind

Closed-end funds (CEFs) can play an important role in a diversified investment portfolio. They offer benefits similar to those of an open-end mutual fund, but also sport unique advantages.  

Unlike a traditional open-end mutual fund, CEFs have a fixed number of shares available to trade. Their price is not tied to the value of the underlying portfolio. The only way the number of shares ...