Synopsis of a Regularly Scheduled Westfield Board of Education Meeting on March 16, 2010

2010-2011 BUDGET - Dramatic Changes for the School District

What We Anticipated

As of Monday of this week, Trenton was telling superintendents to prepare to lose 5 percent, 10 percent or 15 percent of state aid. For the past few years, Westfield has received a total of $5 million from the state. In the worst case scenario, a loss of 15 percent of state aid, we would have been cut $750,000. Although some of the cuts would have been difficult, I had worked with the Finance Committee of the Board of Education and we had created a budget that anticipated this cut.

What Has Changed

In the budget address of the Governor yesterday, he announced that each school district could be cut an amount equal to 5 percent of the current budget. A cut of 5 percent of our budget is a loss of $4.2 million. Westfield's state aid could be cut 92 percent. All the rules have changed today.

We Must Work Together to Maintain Westfield's Tradition of Excellence

I don't have the exact figures from Trenton yet, but we know we will have significantly more cuts than we had been led to expect. We have to prepare for the worse in the next 5 days, since we are expected to present a budget to the County Superintendent on Tuesday, March 23. The final budget must be adopted by the Board on March 30.

I have sent an e-mail to all staff members asking for their thoughts. I am meeting today (March 17) with all administrators, all presidents of our association, and I've arranged a meeting for the entire staff. I invite the community to send their suggestions. I will continue to work with the Finance Committee to provide quality education to our students as we in Westfield face this unprecedented challenge together.


The Board accepted with regret the retirement of the following staff with their last day of employment being 6/30/10:

• Diana Collins - Jefferson School, 4th grade, who has taught Jefferson School students for 21 years;

• Carol Gerson - Edison School, Guidance Counselor, who has served the students in Westfield for 26 years;

• Janet Harrison - School Psychologist in Special Services, who has helped Westfield students for 23 years;

• Angela LaCarruba - Wilson School, 2nd Grade, who has taught Westfield students for 26 years; and

• Karen Yula - Jefferson School, Music, who has taught music in Westfield Public Schools for 33 years.

The Board approved the memorandum of agreement between the Westfield Association of Educational Secretaries (WAES) and the Westfield Board of Education for the period of 7/01/09 through 6/30/12. This contract will save the district money, with health insurance costs reduced as of April 1, 2010. Finance Chair Julia Walker, who chaired the Board's negotiating team, recognized the cooperation of the WAES and asked that the same spirit continues the next few days and weeks as we work together to solve the newest fiscal challenges for the district.


Business Administrator Bob Berman reported on some of the consequences of the very heavy rain and wind that we experienced last weekend. The administration building on Elm Street had water on the stairwells; at Roosevelt Intermediate School, water was found in a tunnel that houses some maintenance pipes; Franklin had some water in the hallway; and Westfield High School's Gym 5, Varsity Gym, stage and band room experienced water leakage. The maintenance crews worked on the weekend to clean and dry the affected areas.


Ann Cary, Chairperson of the Policies Committee, reported that on Saturday, March 20, the second full day meeting of the Strategic Planning Council will take place. She reminded the Board that the strategic planning process was launched following the conclusion of the district's Community Survey. She suggested we refer to the community's priorities that resulted from the survey as we move ahead with budget decisions.


The Board approved for first reading:

Social Studies

U.S. History 1/Defining the Identify of the United States

U.S. History 1/Honors/ Defining the Identify of the United States


Advanced Placement Spanish Language

Practical Arts

Computer Applications and Web Site Design


In addition to the concerned comments from all the Board members regarding the challenge facing the district following the Governor's Budget Address, Ann Cary reported that the Commissioner of Education announced that the 2011 school election has been changed to Wednesday, April 27. Passover is on the original date, April 19. We had inquired about this conflict in October and November when we were in the midst of developing the school calendar, but no change had been made at that time.



The Optimist Club of Westfield has announced that the deadline for receipt of nominations for the Intermediate School Outstanding Teacher Award is Wednesday, April 7. Two intermediate school teachers - one from Edison and one from Roosevelt Intermediate Schools - will be chosen to receive the award on May 12 at an Optimist dinner and will be honored at a Board of Education meeting in June. Nominations should specify ways in which the teacher has demonstrated outstanding teaching, interest in children and continued pursuit of professional growth. The nominee must be a full-time teacher in the Westfield Public Schools in grades 6-8 for a minimum of five years. Students, parents and staff are encouraged to submit nomination letters to: Outstanding Teacher Award Committee of the Optimist Club of Westfield,c/o Office of the Superintendent, Westfield Public Schools, 302 Elm St., Westfield, NJ 07090. Letters can also be e-mailed to:


10 Westfield High School students scored a perfect 800 on SAT1 or SAT2 tests administered between October and December 2009. Approximately one-half of one percent of the more than 1.4 million students taking the SAT score a perfect 800. The Westfield High School students include: Mary Ajodah- Critical Reading and Writing, Michal Sagal- Writing, Alison Ricardo- Writing, Danielle Fields- Critical Reading and Writing, and (back row l-r): Kamil Lupicki- Writing, Darla Stabler- Writing, Kelly Sullivan- Critical Reading, Andrew Gates- Math 2, and Michael Oster- Writing, and Jessica Margolies- Critical Reading and Writing).


The Westfield Parent Teacher Council presents the 17th annual Awareness Expo to be held Wednesday, March 24, from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. at Edison Intermediate School. The program is free and open to the public. In addition to the 11 speakers who will be presenting, the "Make a Difference Award" will be given to the family of the late Janet McCann, a beloved teacher whose death was a tragic loss for the school district. The student councils of Roosevelt and Edison each will receive an Honorable Mention recognition for raising money last year for autism.


Congratulations to Franklin students Sara Frankel, Olivia Hamilton, and Alex Jackman who received an "Honorable Mention" from the 2010 Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association's Exploravision competition for their invention of a hybrid car called "Nature's Ride". The Honorable Mention award places the team's project among the top 10% of all ExploraVision entries submitted to the competition this year. The students were commended for a job well done in demonstrating innovative thinking in their exploration of science and its impact on technology and the future.

And more good news from Franklin School - Fifth grader Michael Hauge finished second in the 4th and 5th Grade State Spelling Bee, sponsored by the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs and held in New Brunswick on March 14. Michael qualified for the State Spelling Bee by winning the Liberty District Spelling Bee in Kearny on February 20, after winning the Westfield Spelling Bee. Franklin fourth grader Rohan Varkey, who was the second place winner in Westfield, finished fourth at the Liberty District Spelling Bee.

NEXT BOE MEETING - Tuesday, March 23. The Board will continue its discussion of the 2010-2011 budget.

Margaret Dolan, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Jade Isle to Stay Open One More Week

February 18, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The sudden announcement that the venerable Jade Isle restaurant (158 Terrill Road in Scotch Plains) would close on Sunday evening caught many of its fans by surprise. As a result, longtime customers flocked to the eatery this weekend for one last meal. 

Not wanting to disappoint those who wanted to stop in a final time, owner Jack Lee has postponed ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, February 19, 11:00 AM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

President's Day Jump

Giving Back Health & Wellness


Thu, February 22, 8:30 AM

Hilton Garden Inn, Hamilton , Hamilton

Defending Your Independent Contractor & Wage & ...

Business & Finance Education Law & Justice


Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Earn Scholarship Finalist Standing

February 17, 2018

The National Merit Scholarship Program has determined which of the 16,000 semifinalists named in September 2017 have met all requirements to advance to Finalist standing in the competition. All Finalists will be considered for National Merit Scholarships to be offered in 2018.

Wardlaw+Hartridge seniors Jennifer Guo and Suraj Chandran of Edison received their Finalist certificates from Susan ...

Westfield Police Blotter: DWI Arrest & More

February 15, 2018

February 7, 2018 10:25 p.m.

Officers Natale and Gill arrested Brian Mueller, age 55, of Westfield, NJ for driving while intoxicated pursuant to an accident investigation in the area of Mountain Avenue by Colonial Avenue. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released to a sober adult.


February 9, 2018 2:21 a.m.

Selena G. Palacios, age 22, of Westfield, NJ was ...

How Tax Reform Impacts You

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brings a host of changes to tax returns for 2018. Highlighted are just a few of the new rules that may impact many of our clients. Please reach out to us to find out if and how your personal situation is impacted.

For Business:

·       A flat 21% corporate tax rate for C corporations replaces the 15% - 35% graduate rate ...

Sinai or Sanctuary?



And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? ...

Westfield Public Schools Celebrate High School and Intermediate Music Honors

Westfield High School sophomore Brooke Walden auditioned and was selected to the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble and Orchestra for a second straight year.  Brooke was the top scoring piccolo player and ranked third on the flute.  She will perform in February with the Wind Ensemble and in November with the Orchestra.

Walden also was among 12 WHS musicians to perform in January with ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

6 Homes Sold Last Week in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford & Mountainside

Six homes sold last week, 2/4/2018-2/11/18, in Westfield, Scotch  Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Cranford.*

Sale Price   TOWN                  ADDRESS                  ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

Cat Found in Westfield

UPDATE: Reunited with family!

ORIGINAL POST: Cat found in Golf Edge area of Westfield. Call 908-913-0509.

Doing Well While Doing Good

The new tax law is predicted to reduce significantly the number of taxpayers who itemize deductions.  That has some concerned about charitable giving. There are ways for taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to give to charity and still receive some tax benefits.

Give from your IRA. Those aged 70-1/2 or older, who must take required minimum distributions from retirement accounts, can ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...


Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

Nutley Schools Closed Friday Following Security Threat

February 16, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ — The Nutley Police Department is currently investigating a video posted to Instagram that suggested a possible threat to schools. Dr. Julie Glazer, Nutley Superintendent of Schools, made the decision late Thursday night to close Nutley schools on Friday as a safety precaution. 

The Nutley Police Department reports they have spoken to the individual ...