Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting March 16

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2017- 2018 TENTATIVE BUDGET

The Board approved the tentative budget for the 2017-2018 school year.  Business Administrator, Dana Sullivan, presented an updated report based on the district’s confirmed receipt of no increase in state aid for next year.  In addition to state aid remaining flat, the state also advised the district to increase our fund balance for tax relief from $750,000 to $913,799.

State aid represents 3.5% of our budget, whereas in 1991 we received 8.3%.  Conversely, since 1991, our enrollment has increased 45%. Mrs. Sullivan displayed a chart indicating that Westfield’s cost per pupil has been kept lower than the state average and less than several school districts in our vicinity or with similar enrollments.  She reiterated that the goals of the budget include:

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  1. Maintain district programs at a level of excellence.
  2. Make technology a priority and fund amount recommended by committee.
  3. Deliver a responsible budget to taxpayers, within the state’s adjusted CAP, to uphold the district’s track record of efficient spending.
  4. Fund track and turf replacement out of capital reserve.

Mrs. Sullivan gave examples of student and school accomplishments, including:

  • 97% of WHS graduates continuing their education
  • SAT scores surpassed state average by 237 points and US average by 254 points
  • 5 National Merit Finalists and 28 National Commended Students
  • WHS ranked #67 in US by Newsweek and #8 by NJ Monthly
  • Fine Arts students recognized at regional and state levels.
  • National Blue Ribbon Math Award
  • State Champion Football team

The proposed budget includes $45,000 for science kits as well as investments in technology and additional teachers.

Mrs. Sullivan explained that the budget is below the state adjusted cap by approximately $70,000. The total proposed and adjusted operating budget is $103,481,072, with a tax impact of $248 on the average homeowner. 

Finance Chairman, Mark Friedman, thanked Mrs. Sullivan and the administration for a solid and efficient budget proposal.  He noted that the administration, in conjunction with the Board, has been making smart business decisions in planning and investing for the future.  Mr. Friedman emphasized the need to keep buildings safe and secure for a good learning environment. 

PERSONNEL

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

STEWART CAREY, Roosevelt Intermediate School Principal, who has shared his teaching 
and leadership skills with Westfield students and staff for 48 years;

JEANETTE MUNOZ, Jefferson Elementary School Principal, a leader of this elementary school community for 15 years;

MOIRA ABRAHAM, Roosevelt Intermediate School Librarian/Media Specialist, providing service to RIS students since 1993;

SUZANNE HANAS, Roosevelt Intermediate School Secretary, serving RIS for 11 years; and

PATRICIA MARCHIANO, Westfield High School Mathematics teacher, educating Westfield students for the last 10 years.

They have served the Westfield Public Schools well, and we wish them a wonderful retirement.

FINANCE

  • The Board authorized participation in the Morris County, Union County, the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey, Somerset County, Hunterdon County, and the Educational Data Service Cooperative Programs.
     
  • The Board approved work for auditorium renovations at Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools to:  Stone Creek, Inc. for general construction, Comfort Mechanical Corp for HVAC, and Lessner Electrical Company for electrical work. 
     
  • The Board gratefully accepted a gift of a Klaus Mueller viola, valued at $375, from Mr. John Urbano.
     
  • The Board gratefully accepted a gift of $9,500 from the Souchek Foundation, Inc. to Washington School to purchase 31 Chromebooks and a Chromebook cart.
     
  • The Board gratefully accepted a gift of a Snowpusher valued at $3,800 from the Westfield Boosters for use in snow removal at Kehler field.
     

LONG RANGE PLANNING

Long Range Planning member Gretchan Ohlig reported that at the most recent meeting of the committee, discussion included the acceptance of a proposal from a professional demographer to get a better sense of what we can expect in enrollment in the next few years.  In line with the district’s strategic plan, the committee also began initial evaluation of the possibility for full day kindergarten and a way in which to receive community input.

CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAMS

The Board approved district field trips to correlate with curriculum.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS

  • March is the nationally celebrated Youth Art Month.  When you are in downtown Westfield this month, enjoy the colorful and creative artwork created by our students and on display in the store windows of 33 merchants.  The artwork includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, and painted furniture designed by approximately 300 students from Westfield’s ten public schools.  Also check the student artwork featured in the Westfield Memorial Library and RMC Studios in Garwood.  
     

·      Congratulations to Westfield High School senior Dale Beyert, who has been selected to perform in the All-Eastern Honors Concert Band on April 7th and 8th in Atlantic City.  Prior to the performance, he will spend three days rehearsing with one of five conductors during the Eastern Division Conference of the National Association for Music Education.  According to the Association, “This exceptional student will prepare remarkably challenging music that will be performed under the leadership of prominent conductors in this biennial event.”  Beyert, a trumpet player, “is among the most musically talented high school students in the Eastern region of the United States.”

·      FAME the Musical, the pop-culture phenomenon about the legendary New York High School of the Performing Arts, will light up the stage at Roosevelt Intermediate School next weekend.  The performances will be on Friday, March 24, at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 25, at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 26, at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are now on available by visiting ris.booktix.com
 

INTERMEDIATE SCHOOLS

  • Roosevelt’s 8th grade Character Education group’s recent bake sale raised money for the water crisis in Flint Michigan.  All proceeds were used to purchase 85 cases of water, which will be delivered to the Catholic Charities Center for Hope in Flint for families in need. 
  • The Student Council of Roosevelt Intermediate School went on a shopping spree on February 28 to purchase children’s toys and baby items for the Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside.  During a fall fundraiser, the Student Council, which includes sixth, seventh and eighth graders, raised $1,000 to fill the wish list created by the hospital’s long term care unit. On March 3, all of the purchased items, including a gift card, were delivered to the hospital by Student Council executive board members and Advisers Marissa Conneely and Erin Aiello.

 

ELEMENTARY

April 19 is the deadline for nominations for the 25th annual Charles Philhower Fellowship award designated for a full-time elementary teacher in the Westfield Public Schools. Nominations should specify ways in which the teacher has demonstrated outstanding teaching, interest in children and continued pursuit of professional growth.  The teacher must be a full-time faculty member in grades K – 5 in the Westfield Public Schools for a minimum of five years.  The Fellowship recipient will be honored at a Rotary luncheon and at a Westfield Board of Education meeting, both scheduled for May 9, and will receive a Rotary grant to further professional growth or to enhance classroom activities for students. Letters of nomination are invited from interested citizens, parents, students and Westfield public school staff members and should be addressed to:  Charles Philhower Fellowship Committee of the Westfield Rotary Club, c/o Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 302 Elm Street, Westfield, NJ 07090, or e-mailed to rotaryphilhower@westfieldnjk12.org.

                                                                                            

PTC COMMITEES
 

The Gifted Education Committee of the Parent Teacher Council invites all parents and students to an Academic Enrichment Resources Seminar on Thursday, March 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Edison Intermediate School.  This year's theme is "Benefits of Public Speaking and Leadership" with a presentation by guest speaker Melissa Stryker. There will be a debate workshop for Grades 5 and up. In addition, a wide range of information about enrichment opportunities, designed for different ages and interests, will be provided. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact: gandtwestfield@gmail.comGifted Ed Committee Website
 

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING

The next meeting of the Westfield Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, March 28, at 7:30 PM at 302 Elm Street.  A complete agenda will be available on the Board’s agenda website on Friday, March 24.

See you at the Rotary’s “Breakfast with the Bands” tomorrow morning in the Westfield High School Cafeteria!

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.

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