Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of Board of Ed Meeting of Dec. 11 and Post-Election Update


Following last night’s Board of Education meeting, the bond referendum
election results were tallied: 2700 Yes, 1503 No.  I am grateful for the
approval of this bond referendum for new roofs which will ensure the safety
of students and staff and maintain the integrity of our infrastructure.
Thank you to the Westfield community for your support

The Board accepted the annual audit of the 2011-2012 school year prepared
by Hodulik and Morrison, P.A.   Auditor Bob Morrison reported in an
unqualified opinion that the Westfield Public School District’s
accounting practices are in full compliance and that our financial
information is accurate and consistent in application according to rules of
the State and accounting standards. There are no adjustments necessary.  He
issued a clean report, with no non-compliance issues.  He confirmed that
the district’s internal controls are operating effectively and designed
appropriately. He said the audit “is as good as can be” and is “a
very positive report.” In summarizing the district’s reserve account,
he noted that we have placed $2.2 million in maintenance reserve and
allocated $1.4 million in tax relief to go into the next budget cycle.  Our
fund balance remains at 2 percent or $2.4 million, the maximum permitted by
the State. He had no findings or recommendations, no need for corrective
action, and thanked the cooperation of the Business Office staff.

Board President, Richard Mattessich, presented retiring member Jane Clancy
with a resolution from the Board for her six years of service and
dedication to the families of Westfield.  Mr. Mattessich noted Mrs.
Clancy’s endless efforts to achieve facilities improvements, including
the much needed new roof replacements.  He thanked her for her attendance
at over 100 Board meetings and another 100 plus nights at Committee
meetings, serving Westfield. He and other Board members acknowledged that
Mrs. Clancy always put the children of Westfield first and that her role as
a mother of seven children and as a teacher brought great perspective to
the Board table.  Ann Cary presented a bouquet of flowers to Mrs. Clancy,
and remarked that Mrs. Clancy’s common sense, compassion, and expertise
in education will be missed. Mrs. Clancy noted that her tenure on the Board
has been an experience of a lifetime, and thanked her family for their
selflessness in permitting her to dedicate much time away from her family
to serve on the Board.

The Board affirmed my decision on an HIB investigation.

The Board approved an overnight trip for the Model UN Club to attend the
annual conference January 4 – 6.

The Board gratefully accepted a gift of $300 from Mr. Sherif Joseph to
Edison Intermediate School for supplies and materials.  The Board also
accepted a gift of a flute to the Fine Arts Department which will be used
in the Roosevelt Intermediate School Instrumental Music program.

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Ann Cary reported that she, Ginny Leiz and I attended a recent meeting of
the Garden State Coalition of Schools, at which the topics of school
funding, district factor grouping, school choice and health care law were
briefly discussed.

Richard Mattessich referred to the editorial that appeared in the December
6 edition of the Westfield Leader and addressed several of the unfounded
accusations which were made regarding the bond referendum.  Mr.
Mattessich’s statement is part of the taped December 11 Board of
Education meeting which will appear at
beginning December 13 and on WHSTV-36 (Tues. & Thurs. 8 AM & 7 PM, Sat at
10 AM &7 PM, and Sun. at 10 AM).

WHS WHS Hockey parents Ellen Devin and Cathy Kattak and WHS Hockey
Co-Captain Liam Devin addressed the Board, requesting additional funding
for the team.  WHS Hockey began as a self-funded club team in 1994-1995 and
in 2004-2005 the Board agreed to assist with costs, funding two coaches.
According to Mrs. Devin and Mrs. Kattak, currently each hockey player’s
contribution to play amounts to $1250, in addition to the $125 activity fee
for the district.  Mr. Mattessich stated that the Board will review the
athletics budget and will also look into fine arts as the budget
preparation begins in January.

Westfield senior citizens are once again invited to the final rehearsal of
Westfield High School’s Winter Choral Concert.  The rehearsal will take
place in the school’s auditorium from 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM on Wednesday,
December 19. Westfield High School is located at 550 Dorian Road.  The
students’ last rehearsal has been enjoyed for several years by senior
residents, who have commented that the daytime slot is more convenient for
them than the scheduled evening performance, which this year will take
place on December 20.  For more information, contact the School/Community
Relations Office at 789-4463.


Kindergarten Registration appointments will take place beginning January 7
for all children who are residents of Westfield reaching the age of 5 on or
before October 1, 2013.  First Grade Registration appointments for all
children who are residents of Westfield reaching the age of 6 on or before
October 1, 2013 and have not yet attended the Westfield Public Schools will
begin January 9.  Please check the website for all dates, times, locations
and required forms at

•       On behalf of all the elementary schools, Wilson Principal, Joseph
Malanga, presented a $4000 donation to the Westfield United Fund’s Sandy
Relief.  This donation was a result of the “Twelve Days of Giving”
established in our 6 elementary schools and Lincoln School to aid Westfield
residents that have experienced hardships due to Hurricane Sandy.  Other
donations were turned over to the Red Cross since checks were made payable
to them.

•       Also, Wilson teacher Maureen Willis, individually raised approximately
$3,700 by selling the Jersey Shore Relief Bracelet, with funds going to
Jersey Shore Relief.

•       At the Westfield Vs. Scotch Plains Fanwood Football game on Saturday,
November 10, the WHS and SPF football programs supported the American Red
Cross Hurricane Relief effort as members of the New Jersey Mid State 38
Football Conference. Each player displayed a decal sticker on his helmet
with the logo “Jersey Strong” to support the cause. At the entrance
gate, people donated to support the effort. Both football programs
participated to collect $484 at the game.

•       Prior to Thanksgiving, Sara Soriente, a Westfield High School Earth
Science Teacher, wanted to tie in an Earth Science teachable moment with
her students with an opportunity to "do good".  In discussing the damage
sustained at the shore and New York, she asked them if there was something
simple that they could do as a class to help. Each of her classes decided
unanimously that they wanted to do something.  She told them if they
brought in any donations, she would personally hand deliver them to areas
in need.  Last week, Ms. Soriente personally hand delivered a car full of
food, coats, and Home Depot gift card to St Paul’s church on the Barrier
Islands which is now feeding upwards of 600 people 3 times a day.  They are
also supplying food and personal items to the National Guard troops
stationed in the area as well as FEMA agents.

•       The efforts to donate to St. Paul’s relief program have extended
beyond the Environmental classes and have now been adopted by all of
Westfield High School. The High School will collect holiday gifts for needy
families, cleaning supplies, and monetary contributions toward the
church’s feeding program, and also will help arrange for people to help
serve meals.  The drive deadline is December 21.  Anyone interested should
contact Warren Hynes, advisor for the Westfield High School Community
Service Club, at

•       Tamaques parents donated approximately 150 protective suits and face
masks for the emergency workers who continue to aid in the cleanup in Union
Beach. Tamaques parents also donated extra PTO funds to support communities
affected by the hurricane. In addition, the school has adopted Union Beach
Memorial School to support the needs of a particularly hard hit eighth
grade classroom, providing dry erase boards and markers as well as funds to
replace math aids and basic school supplies they lost in the storm. In
another project, Tamaques students are making holiday cards and sending
gift cards to students at another shore school, Highlands Elementary
School. Nearly 100 percent of the Tamaques community participated.

The Westfield Public Schools will be closed for Winter Break from December
22nd through January 1st.

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING – Tuesday, January 3.  This will be our
organization meeting at which new Board members, Lucy Biegler and J.
Brendan Galligan will be sworn in as well as returning Board members
Gretchan R. Ohlig and Richard Mattessich.

I wish our entire community a safe and happy holiday!

Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

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