WESTFIELD, NJ -- The budget, recognition of Westfield High School student athletes and the Washington redistrict issue were all topics of a special board of education meeting on March 21.
The Union County Executive Superintendent reviewed and approved the tentative budget that was approved by the board on March 5. There were no changes from the tentative budget to the budget that was finalized at the special board meeting.
“This budget doesn’t have reductions in any way to any of our programs,” said board member Dana Sullivan.
Although the tax levy increase is below the state adjusted CAP, the budget does reflect a 2 percent increase. Currently the percentage of the total budget that is paid for by state is about fur percent and taxes fund 92 percent.
During the public’s chance to comment portion, concerned parent Lori Feinberg brought up the discussion of the redistricting of students exiting Washington Elementary School. According to a five-year plan that was initiated in 2009, some students were sent to Edison Intermediate School to prevent overcrowding. Currently a new initiative was enacted for seven students with younger siblings to choose which middle school they would like to attend so that they do not have to be separated from there siblings.
“You are tearing apart a neighborhood,” said Feinberg who is a resident of Harding Street, an area directly affected by the redistricting.
Diana Dobosciezz, another resident of Harding Street and parent with four children in three different schools whose child was not given the choice of middle schools, also spoke out to the change of the five-year plan.
“Twenty families are being discriminated against because we don’t have younger siblings,” said Dobosciezz.
Board member Ginny Leiz explained that it was the Long Range Planning Committee that came up with the idea to give these seven students and families the choice of middle school months ago. When Feinberg went up to the podium again she questioned if this topic was open for discussion upon which she was told that the committee would have to bring it back up for discussion at their next meeting if the board suggested it.
“I don’t foresee that it will be changed,” said Leiz.
The Girls’ and Boys’ Swim Teams, Boys’ Cross Country Team and State Tennis Singles Champion Lexi Borr were all recognized by the state for their athletic achievements and 166 students were awarded certificates. The Girls’ Swim Team was ranked number one in the state and the Boys’ Swim Team was ranked number two, but number one among public schools.