Letters to the Editor

April 30, 2021

This will be the first of a monthly Letter to the Editor from me as a minority member of the Township Council. I am beginning this series in response to a decision by Jeanne Kingsley, the Township Council President, to appoint herself the spokesperson for the Township Council which is not a role ...

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In a recent TAP letter Mr. Reinstein stated the BOE has taken an objective view that benefits all students in our district by implementing full-day K; and I agree that full-day Kindergarten would benefit many future kindergarten students and families in our district.  But the reason families are ...

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In November 2020, New Jersey voters approved Public Question No. 1, which amended the New Jersey Constitution to allow for the legalization of a controlled form of marijuana called “cannabis” for adults at least 21 years of age. The residents of Berkeley Heights voted “yes” on this question with a ...

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During Dr. Varley’s opening remarks at the 4/22/21 Town Hall, she addressed the BHPD press release (stating there has been no formal consultation regarding a redistricting ...

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The proposal to redistrict the schools as recommended by the Superintendent should be rejected by the Board of Education. As someone who served on the Board from 2004-2016, including being President in 2011-2012, I am deeply troubled by this hastily constructed plan that has been thrust upon the ...

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In the last townhall meeting hosted by the Board of Education on April 22nd 2021, 21 out of the 27 people who spoke out, were not supportive of the reconfiguration of schools as the only way to implement Full Day Kindergarten and urged the Superintendent and Board to explore other options to ...

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I was horrified at the words of a speaker at the Board of Education Town Hall meeting on April 22. The speaker spoke angrily at the “politics” the superintendent has brought into our schools. He referred to Dr. Varley’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in order to Include, Inspire ...

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First, I want to commend the Board for their commitment to Full Day Kindergarten for Berkeley Heights.  It is something I have long been in favor of and wish that my wife, Angie and I could have taken advantage of with both of our children, Ryan and Abbey.  Like so many families here in town, we ...

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On April 13, 2021 I posted a Letter to the Editor including an email I sent to Dr. Varley and the entire Board of Education along with the responses from Dr. Varley.  You can find the Letter to Editor ...

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The response given by Berkeley Heights Board of Education (BOE) president Doug Reinstein to a question raised by a longtime township resident is revelatory (emphasis added): Question:   1. Budget enrollment numbers are 1018 elementary students. April 8 presentation used a value of 1027 students.

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In my OpEd article “Inflation is rising even in Berkeley Heights - Conflation Inflation is peaking in the BOE!”, I said that the Pre-K to 2 / 3 to 5 redistricting and reconfiguration is a complex and controversial topic even amongst practitioners within the education system. Well, what do ...

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On Tuesday, April 13th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.4 percent in February.” The BLS also announced that “[o]ver the last 12 months, the all items ...

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Let me be upfront and clear, I am not opposed to the concept of a Full Day Kindergarten.  In fact, my three children did not attend kindergarten at the Berkeley Heights’ Early Childhood Center (ECC) - now called the Mary Kay McMillin Early Childhood Center - they attended a 6 hour / five days a ...

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Everyone wants full day kindergarten, so let’s stop talking about that. Redistricting is the issue. It always has been the issue. William Woodruff Elementary School: Top 1% best teachers in the United States Top 3% best teachers in New Jersey Top 4% best teachers in the NYC ...

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The idea of full-day K is not new for parents who have been raising children in Berkeley Heights but the redistricting “solutions” our superintendent and BOE are presenting come at a time that is particularly inconvenient.  Parents are still receiving positive case reports from our superintendent ...

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My takeaway from the Board of Education meeting on 4/8/21 is that, in general,  the residents and parents of Berkeley Heights have very different ideas from the administration and Board of Education in terms of what is the BEST way to start the 2021 school year.  While I appreciate the time spent ...

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Editor's Note: Superintendent of Schools Melissa Varley provided her Superintendent's Report from the Thursday, April 8, meeting of the Board of Education to be published as a Letter to the Editor. As several community members have told me, Full Day Kindergarten has been discussed in Berkeley ...

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Last week, the presentation by the Superintendent validated the concerns that 400 parents expressed through their signature requesting that the current process surrounding redistricting be halted.  What parents and residents saw was a sales pitch with gaping holes and references to conversations ...

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Let me begin by hoping everyone had an enjoyable Spring Break wherever and however you celebrated it with your family. Tomorrow marks the end of our ‘all-remote’ week following Spring Break and we will soon enter the next phase of our pandemic-challenged school year as we welcome both Columbia ...

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Above please find a record of one conversation with the District. I won't address the tone-deaf request to be "patient" while the district needlessly holds onto their secret plans for 9 weeks after a reversal in approach that will potentially impact my daughter in September. Instead, I'd ask ...

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The Fact of the Matter… Given some recent communication from the District on student displacement and their insistence on conflating the issue with full day kindergarten, I believe a review of the facts are in order. The timeline below clearly shows a shift in communication, plan, and lack of ...

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Some Americans live comfortably and unconsciously understanding that their behaviors, attitudes and utterances are supported by systems that will judge and treat them fairly.  These individuals do not fear that their existence threatens other individuals and communities.  They do not fear that ...

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Here is the email I wrote to our superintendent  Mrs Varley. Dear Mrs Varley, I am writing this email as the mother of an elementary school kid with special needs. We are shocked that a plan to relocate elementary school kids is even being considered during a pandemic. Our kids have been ...

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The trickling news of possible major changes to elementary schools and teachers as well as displacement of children has been hard to swallow.  I was blindsided at the announcement, in February, that our Board of Education had approved implementing full day kindergarten for this fall.  I have sat ...

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Over the last year and certainly more recently, we have witnessed the rise of hate crimes against Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) across many communities. Our neighbors in the AAPI community are our Berkeley Heights sisters and brothers. I stand today to lend my voice in condemning hate and ...

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Berkeley Heights residents are repeatedly put in a position of staring down the barrel of significant change with little detail and little opportunity for feedback.  Residents are expected to show up to BOE or Town Council meetings to speak competently to plans with many critical moving parts after ...

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Parents Have Valid Concerns about Student Relocation I wanted to share my thoughts as a very concerned mother who is unsure whether her children will be attending the same school next year.  School building changes may not seem like a big deal. Still, I encourage every resident to research the ...

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Note: this letter is long, however our desire is to share information about Full Day Kindergarten in advance of our next BOE meeting.  We feel that providing more context, as well as content, is critically important.  This topic is far too complex to ‘discuss’ via an email or a social media post, ...

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The Berkeley Heights Board of Education is moving forward with a redistricting plan that will have a significant impact on our children. Our children had to deal with significant changes due to the pandemic and have worked hard in adapting to remote learning, separation from their peers and ...

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A year is typically marked by major milestones like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.  But March, 2021 marks another major milestone – it’s been one year since COVID-19 became a global pandemic.  On March 12th last year at approximately 4pm I sat in Dr. Varley’s office as we finalized her ...

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