Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting Feb. 28

af497cf70afbdd0cc1ce_mini_magick20170302-18344-ngpqjt.jpg
af497cf70afbdd0cc1ce_mini_magick20170302-18344-ngpqjt.jpg

2017- 2018 BUDGET

Business Administrator, Dana Sullivan, presented a report on the budget proposed for the 2017-2018 school year.  She noted that the Board starts working on the budget as early as October for the following school year.  In December 2016, the Board held a workshop to develop a Guiding Change Document to set parameters for the budget, resulting in these priorities: 

  • Invest in Technology
  • Maintain class size
  • Maintain courses recently approved by the Board
  • Stay within the 2% CAP plus eligible waivers
  • Increase emergency reserve account
  • Maintain a capital reserve account sufficient to cover the cost of replacing the track and turf at Kehler Stadium
  • Consider funding for Director of Development
  • Consider funding to support the district’s wellness program
  • Maintain funding for School Resource Officer
  • Reductions in areas where efficiencies were noted, not to programs

 

The increase to the operating budget is estimated at $1,947,783:
 

Sign Up for E-News

  • Increase in health insurance                                   $    959,699
  • Increase of 1 intermediate school teacher                     65,000
  • Increase of 3 special education teachers                     225,000
  • Increase in salaries                                                     1,194,312
  • Increase in utilities, transportation & pension                 211,752
  • Decrease in special ed costs (non-staff)                      (445,758)
  • Decrease in all other accounts                                    (262,222)
     

          $1,947,783

The tax impact on the average homeowner would amount to approximately $248.  These figures are based on state aid being similar to last year.  Mrs. Sullivan stated that state aid for 2017-2018 should be released this week.  In a chart comparing similar school districts, it was again pointed out that Westfield’s cost per pupil is on the lower range and less than the state average as well.  Referring to a chart for staffing in 2017-2018, Mrs. Sullivan noted that at least 80% of the school district’s staff work directly with students.

VIOLENCE, VANDALISM, SUBSTANCE ABUSE & HIB REPORT

In our schools we begin at a very young age to instill in our students respect for self, others and the community.  The importance of fostering respect is interwoven in curriculum for all grades and within the Code of Conduct.  For the adults in our community – including staff and parents – we hold appropriate trainings and workshops on topics such as responsible use of social media, legal updates, Board policy reviews, and the fostering of resiliency.   Programs for students include:  Social problem solving, character education (through assemblies and lessons), leadership programs, and programs in which our older students convey meaningful messages to our younger students.



Despite our efforts, there are occasions when conduct does not meet our expectations. The State requires school districts to report on Violence, Vandalism, and Substance Abuse and Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) twice a year.  I presented a report from the time period September 1 – December 31, 2016 that included the following incidents: 5 violence, 1 vandalism, 2 substance abuse, and 1 confirmed HIB case.

PERSONNEL

The Board accepted with regret the retirement of the following staff with their last day of employment on June 30, 2017:
 

            LINDA KING, Supervisor of Fine Arts K-12, who has served the district for 30 years;

            JEAN BREZINSKI, Elementary Instrumental Music, a teacher for 31 years;

            DAVID DAVIS, WHS World Languages (and previously WHS TV) a teacher for 26 years;

            DOMENICO DIDARIO, Washington Custodian, serving the district for 13 years;

            BARBARA LEPARULO, Edison Intermediate School Science teacher for 36 years;

            JOANNE PLY, Franklin Reading Specialist, teaching children for 17 years;

            TERESA SQUILLACE, Edison Intermediate School Science teacher for 27 years;

            DAVID TIFFENBACH, Franklin Paraprofessional, serving Westfield for 5 years.
 

POLICIES

 

  • Due to the mild winter thus far, if no additional snow or emergency days are used, schools will be closed on Monday, April 17(day after Spring Break) and Friday, May 26 (Friday of Memorial Day Weekend). If one more day snow day is used, schools will be open for students and staff on Friday, May 26.
  • The Board approved for first reading a revised 2018-2019 School Calendar. One snow day has been removed from the calendar (two remain) to enable school to end on a Friday, June 21, 2018 and WHS graduation to be held that day.  This decision was made following a good deal of feedback the Board received from parents regarding the original calendar proposal.
  • The Board approved for first reading the following policies: 2460 Special Education (Program), R2460.1 Special Education – Location, Identification, and Referral (Program), R2460.8 Special Education – Free and Appropriate Public Education (Program), 2460.9 Special Education – Early Intervention Program (EIP) Transition/IEP Implementation by Third Birthday (Program), R2460.15 Special Education – Special Education In-Service Training Needs for Professional and Paraprofessional Staff (Program), R2460.16 Special Education – Instructional Material to Pupils with Vision Loss or Print Disability, 2467 – Surrogate Parents and Foster Parents (Program), 3159 – School District Reporting Responsibilities (Teaching Staff), 3221 – Evaluation of Teachers (Teaching Staff), 3223 – Evaluation of Administrators (Teaching Staff), and 4159 – School District Reporting Responsibilities (Support Staff).
  • The Board approved for second reading the following policies: 1110 – Organizational Chart (Administration); 3144 – Certification of Tenure Charges (Teaching Staff Members); 3144.12 – Certification of Tenure Charges – Inefficiency (Teaching Staff Members); 3146 – Conduct of Reduction in Force (Teaching Staff Members); 4125 – Employment of Support Staff Members (Support Staff Members); 8330 – Pupil Records (Operations); and 8630 – Bus Driver/Bus Aide Responsibility (Operations).
  • The Board affirmed my decision on three Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) incidents.

CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAMS

  • The Board approved district field trips to correlate with curriculum.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology Chair, Peggy Oster, noted that the budget presentation by Mrs. Sullivan was an excellent preview of the technology initiatives for the 2017-2018 school year.  At the Technology Committee’s last meeting, discussion took place regarding training that had taken place on Constant Contact – the new communication tool for school PTOs.  The committee also learned how teachers are being trained in Google Classroom as well as how students are using it.  Mrs. Oster reported that Brian Auker, Chief Information Officer, mentioned that as a result of parents asking about devices used in the schools, he will be devising a reference list which will be posted on our website. Lastly, the Committee agreed on taking next steps to develop a new roadmap for technology for the next few years.  


LIAISON

Mr. Garrison reported that on March 18, Wilson Elementary School will hold a Parent Social.  The school also is selling a cookbook as a fundraiser.

Michael Bielen attended a meeting of the Westfield Memorial Library Board, which is planning its spring book sale. 

Amy Root announced that the Special Education Expo will be held on March 15 at Edison Intermediate School from 7 – 10 PM.  It is free, open to public, with professional development credits for teachers who attend.  There will be approximately 10 speakers on various topics of interest.

Mrs. Root attended the Roosevelt PTO meeting, where there was much discussion regarding the school spirit initiative which would involve both staff and students.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL

  • Congratulations to seven Westfield High School students who each achieved the highest score of 36 on the ACT standardized tests widely used for college admission and placement criteria.  The scores were earned in December 2016 by these 11th graders:  Yenteen Hu – Math and STEM, Thomas Omberg – Science, and Caroline Stockwell – Reading.  Earning perfect scores in English were Timothy McAuliffe, Michael Canabarro, Saranya Turimella, and Julia Buoscio.

     
  • Congratulations to five Westfield High School seniors who have advanced as finalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship program, having met academic and other standards to become eligible for scholarships.  The program honors students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. In October, you may recall that we honored these students who, at that time, had earned semi-finalist ranking, placing them among the 1.1 percent of students who took the Preliminary SAT qualifying test.  Our congratulations and continued best wishes to Nicholas Youssef, Michael Hauge, Amy Liang, Olivia Hamilton and Soo Min Chung.  

     
  • On February 28, WHS TV students appeared on the set of Good Morning America.  Besides being audience members, their field trip consisted of a tour of the control room and a discussion with the show’s Production Assistant. Our own Board of Ed videographer, Hal Barnes, was among the 36 students in attendance, as well as TV teacher Jay Ruggiero, TV technician Kristine Kowalczuk and a parent chaperone.


WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL - Athletics

Congratulations to Blue Devils’ freshman CJ Composto for winning the Region 4 Wrestling title for the 106-pound division at Union High School on Saturday, February 25. This win qualified CJ to compete at the state level in Atlantic City this Friday.

INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

Edison Intermediate School Band Director, John Scozzaro, announced that Edison’s Woodwind Quintet has been accepted to perform in the Rose Studio at Lincoln Center on Thursday, May 25, at 11 AM.  The group entered a competition entitled the “Young Ensembles Program” intended for middle school chamber groups.  In addition to the opportunity to perform at this great venue, the students will receive two coaching sessions from artists of the Chamber Music Society.  The students involved are 8th graders Jamie Beyert, Ellery Wolf, Kailey Zhao, Aprina Wang, and Robbie Strauss.  Congratulations to these musicians and their teacher!

ELEMENTARY

  • Claire Qin, a fourth grader from McKinley Elementary School, won the 31st Annual Junior Women’s Club of Westfield Spelling Bee. Michael Singh, a fifth grader from Jefferson Elementary came in second place. Emily Gao, a fifth grader from Washington Elementary came in third.  A total of 71 fourth and fifth grade students participated in the finals.  This win guaranteed each of the three students a spot in the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs District Spelling Bee on February 18.  At this district level,Claire Qin earned honorable mention.  Emily Gao captured second place, securing a spot in next month’s State Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 4th at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. We congratulate our super spellers and wish Emily continued success. 
     
  • Congratulations to the students at McKinley Elementary School who collected over 3,800 cans of food and non-perishable items during the school’s annual “Soup”er Bowl Food Drive to benefit a local Food Pantry.  This annual event brings the school community together to remember those who are less fortunate.

     

SPECIAL EDUCATION

The annual Special Education Awareness Expo will be held on Wednesday, March 15, from 7 – 10 PM in the Edison Intermediate School cafeteria.  Many presenters are on tap to discuss a variety of topics of interest to all parents and educators.  For more information, please contact WestfieldSpecialEdParents@gmail.com.

COMMUNITY

The Rotary Club of Westfield’s Breakfast with the Bands will be held on Saturday, March 18, at Westfield High School Cafeteria from 8 AM to Noon. Band ensembles from Westfield’s intermediate schools and the high school will be performing exclusively during a catered breakfast served by Rotarians with the assistance of members of the Interact Club.  Participating ensembles will include Edison Intermediate School Chamber Orchestra; Roosevelt Intermediate School Jazz Groups; Westfield High School’s 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock Stage Bands; the WHS Jazz Ensemble, and Edison’s Jazz Band. Tickets are $10 prior to the event and are available from members of the Rotary Club, the Interact Club and at the door on March 18.  For further information, contact 908-301-5410. To date, almost $3 million has been awarded by the Rotary to Westfield High School graduates to aid in funding their college educations.  Thousands of dollars also have been awarded to local non-profit agencies.

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING

The next meeting of the Westfield Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, March 14, at 7:30 PM at 302 Elm Street.  A complete agenda will be available on the Board’s agenda website on Friday, March 10.

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

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Video: Union County Celebrates Pride Month with CommUNITY PRIDE Day Picnic

June 18, 2018

RAHWAY, NJ — Parents, children, friends and all family members came out on Saturday afternoon to Rahway River Park for the Union County CommUNITY PRIDE Day Picnic.

The family-friendly celebration hosted by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders was a day of arts and crafts, family lawn games, inflatable bounce houses, playground fun and more, along with music by the rock ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update, June 19

June 20, 2018

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

Good evening everyone! It’s been another busy two weeks with lots of great stuff happening. These past two weeks were particularly fun because I spent lots of time with lots of kids:

-I met with Franklin third graders in Mindowaskin Park as part of their day-long ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_047913bad52c65b1222e_westfield_band_photo_summer_2015__2_on_gazebo

Thu, June 21, 7:30 PM

Mindowaskin Park, Westfield

Westfield Summer Concert Series

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_494009374f5b6e909328_spb-4937_newsletter_june_22

Fri, June 22, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...

Sports

Fri, June 22, 7:30 PM

Crossroads, Garwood

Benefit Concert

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Westfield Police Blotter: Tires Slashed on Scotch Plains Ave & More

June 13, 2018

June 6, 2018 3:05 p.m.

A resident of the 200 block of sunset avenue reports being the victim of a fraud. Unknown actor(s) utilized victims credit card to purchase an appliance valued at $1,000.00. Victim did not sustain any monetary loss during this incident. 

June 6, 2018 6:50 a.m.

A resident of the 100 block of Scotch Plains Avenue reports being the victim of a criminal mischief.

State Farm Lowers Auto Rates in New Jersey

June 20, 2018

State Farm Indemnity Company will cut its rates in New Jersey. As a result, its overall personal auto rate will drop by up to 2.7%. The total state-wide expected impact for State Farm Indemnity Company by this rate decrease in New Jersey will be approximately $15.5 million.

 

“State Farm Indemnity Company always looks to create long-term value for its customers with the products ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...

Understand the New Law for Paid Sick Leave

Paid sick leave is now the law in New Jersey.

New Jersey has passed a paid sick leave law which preempts paid sick leave ordinances adopted by several cities and towns so there is now one uniform law in this area for New Jersey employers. Here is what you need to know about the new law.

33 Homes Sold June 10 to June 17 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside & Cranford

Thirty-three Homes sold from June 10 to June 17, 2018, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside.*

 

TOWN         ADDRESS                      STYLE    ...

Westfield 3rd Graders Receive Top Honors at Mock Trial Competition

Westfield third graders recently received top honors for three mock court cases they presented at the New Jersey Bar Foundation Law Fair.

“I am proud that, out of 84 entries submitted, our third grade students (now fourth graders) in the Gifted Program have won 1st Place, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention in the 3rd Grade category [of the Law Fair ...

Maximizing Your Portfolio’s Returns -- Beware the Taxman

The old adage in the investment world is that it is not what you make, but what you keep that counts.  Investors often overlook the ultimate deflator of portfolio returns – the taxman. An astute global asset allocation should be the number one priority for investors.  However, there are preferred ways to distribute this asset allocation over the spectrum of taxable and ...

Greatness

In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

Healthy U Spring Symposium Marks 10 Years of Community Impact

WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 100 Healthy U champions and partners from YMCAs and schools from all over the state gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health. 

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the ...

Bridgewater Mall Shut Down for 2 Hours After Fight Breaks Out

June 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported after a fight involving a crowd of people shut down the Bridgewater Commons Mall for two hours Thursday evening.

According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall was resuming normal business operations.

According to Somerset County ...

Obituaries

Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more