Education

Berkeley Heights School Board Hears of New App That May Help Governor Livingston Parking Situation

6b9376dac5dcb0c07ff2_IMG_0465.jpg
Superintendent of schools Judith Rattner and school board president Helen Kirsch review the anti-bullying report at Thursday's board meeting. Credits: Bob Faszczewski
6b9376dac5dcb0c07ff2_IMG_0465.jpg

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ—The administration at Governor Livingston High School may have come upon a new Google “app” which will help the school deal with a student parking issue that has dominated township news for some time.

Residents of streets surrounding the school have, for the past few years, complained that students park in front of their homes and block access to driveways and emergency vehicles.

The students, however, say they need to drive to school and have waited for the day when they obtain their driving privileges. They and school officials often have said there is not enough room on the Gov. Livingston campus to accommodate all those who drive to school.

Sign Up for E-News

In efforts to cope with the situation, township officials have placed a number of restrictions on parking on the streets around the school. At Thursday’s board of education meeting, board member John Sincaglia said the Township Council plans to adopt further restrictions in August.

At the meeting, however, new Gov. Livingston principal Robert Nixon said he may have an idea that could provide at least a partial solution.

Nixon said that, on many days, there are about 15 parking spots at the school which, though reserved for students, go unused because those students are not in school.

With the Google system which is being implemented in township schools, he said an app possibly could be used to inform students not chosen by lottery for parking spaces at the school that spaces were empty on a particular day because student lottery winners had informed the school that they would not be in attendance.

In response to board members who felt once the spots opened up a number of students might be “fighting” for the same space, Nixon and superintendent of schools Judith Rattner said the “kinks” in the system could be worked out after the app is tried out during the first semester of next year.

Nixon also said that, in order to get students to use the app, some type of incentive system could be developed.

Board member Doug Reinstein said, however, that the system would only work if empty spaces were counted when the majority of students were in school—not when seniors were allowed to leave the campus for extended lunch periods and other privileges.

On another matter related to township government, Sincaglia noted that the township council had pretty much decided, in its negotiations with Little Flower Church, that the township would build new municipal facilities at the current Park Avenue site, obtain the land being offered to the township by the church and endorse a development of 100 townhouses on that site.

Of that number, Singaglia said, about 20 of the buildings would be set aside for affordable housing.

He added that the township planner had indicated that about 28 school children would be added to township schools from the development.

A resident at the meeting also told the school board that they should carefully watch discussions for payments in lieu of taxes in connection with any redevelopment to see how the township school district was affected.

On another matter, Rattner announced that Nixon would form a committee to decide about the possible renaming of the Gov. Livingston auditorium for the late Ken Stiefel, who was technology director of many Hilltop Players productions at the school for many years.

The auditorium currently is named for Warren Davis, who was superintendent of schools when Gov. Livingston was opened in 1960.

Although board member Bill Cassano said Davis should continue to be honored, he added that the district should consider the fact that the auditorium was named for Davis when the school was part of another district—the Union County Regional High School District No.1—which had nothing to do with the current board.

However, board president Helen Kirsch, a member of one of the original graduating classes at Gov. Livingston, said many residents fondly remembered the school at that time and Davis, and there was no reason to disregard the honor just because the regional district no longer existed.

A possible solution was presented by Gov. Livingston teacher Joseph Voorhees, who turned over to the school body a plan to retain the name of Davis on the auditorium while naming the area of the auditorium that contained the theater for Stiefel.

Cassano said Voorhees’ presentation “swayed” him in his feelings about the renaming.

During a presentation on anti-bullying efforts in the district schools, district coordinator Kevin Morra said the data had remained “fairly consistent,” with investigations for 2014-2015 increasing from 103 to 116 and confirmed cases rising from only 38 to 40 over the period.

Morra pointed to increased training for both new staff members and school safety teams.

However, a member of the public questioned Morra’s statement, pointing to an approximate 17 percent increase in investigations from the second reporting period (January 1 to June 30) of 2014-2015 over the 2013-2014 period.

Although board members and the public indicated they would like to see the reports include more specific references to suspensions and other methods used to deal with reported cases, both Morra and the schools superintendent said the reporting system did not allow for this.

Board members noted, however, that they did have access to more specific data.

In a report on the 1:1 initiative for iPad use at the high school, former Gov. Livingston principal Scott McKinney, who now is assistant superintendent of schools, noted, that:

  • Use by students and teachers is increasing as professional development and the comfort level grows.
  • Teachers are moving instruction using IPads in the classrooms from “enhancement” into “transformation.”
  • Targets for 2015-2016 goals have been established using the baseline data collected during the 2014-2015 school year.

Asked about possible replacement of textbooks by iPads, McKinney said he expected the shift to happen but publishing companies were “holding on for dear life” and some decisions would have to be made when licenses expired in four or five years.

Reinstein also said the district should, in its surveys on iPad usage, include parents and more specific data should be presented on how teachers were improving lessons after iPads were introduced.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Christopher Rinaldi for Town Council - Leadership, Judgement, Experience

May 17, 2018

My name is Christopher Rinaldi.  As a long-time member of the Republican Party, I am running in the Republican Primary on June 5th for Township Council and Republican Municipal Committee of Berkeley Heights.

As a follow-up to my Candidate Statements from the last two weeks, I would like to share with you a few areas of direct work experience garnered over the past 25 years that I believe ...

Redevelopment: Taking the First Step Together While Protecting Berkeley Heights

Redevelopment. It’s something that takes careful planning, foresight, the ability to negotiate for the most favorable outcome, and, of course, patience. I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to reach all of these milestones. Tomorrow, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, we as a community will take the first step together in the culmination of these efforts, when the ...

I am Proud to be Your Mayor

Honesty and results. Those two principles characterize my service to our community for the last nine years. I served on Town Council for four years and have been your Mayor for five years. I appreciate the opportunity to serve you and our community, steering it in a positive direction. During this time, I have learned about our Town, identified areas for improvement and been privileged ...

Taxes up, Services down.....At least someone is listening

May 15, 2018

Do you feel as if you are getting good services from the town for what you pay in property taxes? I don’t, and wanted to thank the one Council person who voted NO on this year’s municipal budget which will increase your taxes by more than 3 percent, exceeding the cap.  Thank you, Susan Poage, for listening to taxpayers.

When our Mayor grants raises by executive order ...

Who Is Dmitriy?

Who Is Dmitriy?

That is the question I asked myself in the past year or two. I first chanced across him online in community conversation. When an issue seemed to go nowhere, people starting to get ugly and nasty, personal attacks escalating, in would pop Dmitriy and with one comment, he could sum things up. He based his  opinion on information he knew, coupled with what he could glean ...

The NO vote on the Budget

I read today's letter to the editor from Councilwoman Susan Poage regarding her reasons for voting "no" on the town's 2018 budget. As I attend most meetings of our Township Council, including the one on May 8, I want the public to be aware of some facts that are not contained in Mrs. Poage's letter.

The 2018 Budget development process included public meetings on Feb. 26, ...

Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel Presents Special Women’s program

May 20, 2018

 

Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel, 763 Mountain Avenue, Berkeley Heights, is very pleased to host a unique free seminar for women on Saturday June 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

The speaker will be Doctor Ruth Schwertfeger of Brookfield, Wisconsin. Ruth was born in Northern Ireland, is a retired Professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She speaks several languages, and ...

Kids Can Change The World

Karen De La Maza is the founder of “Kids Can Change The World”, a program designed to instill humane values in children while developing essential life skills and positive leadership. Karen and her family relocated to NJ from her native Mexico City in 2008 for her husband’s job.

Karen has always had a strong passion for helping people in need. With ten years of experience in ...

Racing to the Finish and Supporting Cancer Survivors

VIEW PHOTO ALBUM

MAY 13, 2018 SUNDAY | BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ—On May 13, the Summit Area YMCA welcomed over 1,000 participants to the 17th Annual Mother’s Day 5K Run/Walk at Memorial Field, in Berkeley Heights. This family-friendly event also hosted a fun magic show, invigorating Zumba dancing, a tot trot, face painting and music.

Matthew Byrne of Berkeley Heights won first place ...

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Offers Free Community CPR Classes and Plant/Flower Sale to Raise Funds for Relay for Life

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - National EMS Week – a time to celebrate EMTs and the important work they work do for our nation’s communities was established in 1974 by President Gerald Ford.  This year National EMS Week is May 20 to May 26 and the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad (BHVRS) can think of no better way to celebrate EMS Week than by teaching YOU, our ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

May 16, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

New Providence Community Pool parking lot, New Providence

CSA Community Yard Sale

Giving Back

Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

New Providence Community Pool parking lot, New Providence

CSA Community Yard Sale

Giving Back

Carousel_image_0672a37a8171c8f49ab6_bhvrs-409-trans-flat-white-3

Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Headquarters, Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Offers ...

Sun, May 20, 12:00 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, Mountainside

29th Annual Spring Garden Fair & Plant ...

Green Home & Garden

Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

History of Silhouettes & Craft for Children

Other

Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Summit High School, Summit

Summit Symphony Orchestra Concert

Arts & Entertainment

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...