To the Editor:

As president of the Westfield Board of Education, I want to take this opportunity to thank the many parent volunteers, interested citizens and PTOs that have assisted the board and administration in getting the word out about the upcoming Jan. 26 bond referendum.

The rationale behind the board’s decision to put the bond questions to the public has been set forth extensively over the past few months. Quite simply, we have critical facilities needs that cannot be funded out of our operating budget in which every line item is necessary to continue our district’s Tradition of Excellence. While Westfield's cost per pupil is lower than state average, our standardized test scores are well above average, which means we are doing a lot with our funds in a fiscally responsible way.

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This, in combination with the 2 percent budget cap imposed by the state, means that the money needed to address major facilities projects must be obtained elsewhere.  Accordingly, the board has turned to the mechanism provided by the state to fund such projects – a referendum.

The time for this referendum is right. Interest rates are low, but are almost certain to rise in the coming months. Construction costs are favorable. The state has  determined that it will fund 40 percent of the cost of all proposed projects. Finally, the work proposed in the bonds ensures the safety and security of our schools, access to necessary technology and preserves our infrastructure.

Thank you again to all those community members that have supported the bond referendum. Detailed information about the bond is available on the district’s website under “Important Messages” at www.westfieldnjk12.org. I encourage everyone to vote next Tuesday. Anyone with questions should feel free to contact me at gohlig@westfieldnjk12.org.