Westfield Board of Ed Regroups After Bond Vote, Finn Resigns, Teacher Evaluations Discussed, at Meeting

Amy Seid, co-president of the Education Fund of Westfield, right, presents a certificate to Darielle Walsh, noting that a new iPad lab has been named in her honor. Walsh served on the Westfield Board of Education for many years, including as president. Credits: Patricia Harris

WESTFIELD, NJ--The Westfield Board of Education is regrouping following voter rejection of a $16.9 million bond referendum last month. The referendum would have funded new roofs at a number of schools and an artificial turf field and lights at the high school.

At the October 2 meeting, board president Richard Mattessich addressed moving forward with the district’s facility needs. He pointed out that 25 percent of the town’s citizens turned out to vote—a high percentage—and that more than two-thirds of them voted no, for a variety of reasons.

"The cold fact remains that the majority of roofs need to be replaced,” he said. “We will find a way to do so.” He suggested the board might still have to go out to bond or take funds from its operating fund, which might necessitate program cuts, or from its capital funds, which might affect the district’s 5-year capital plan.

Sign Up for E-News

Regarding the turf field, the president said the board would have to decide whether to pursue the project, perhaps with a separate referendum. In the meantime, the district would have to look for ways to patch up fields or change patterns of usage.

Mattessich pledged the board would start the dialogue that night and consider what measures to take over the next few meetings.

Business administrator and secretary Dana Sullivan noted $13.6 million in the referendum was for roofs, and the district would have to do some reprioritizing and defer some of the planned work. She said the greatest need is for a new roof at the high school, which will cost approximately $4 million. She recommended holding a more limited bond referendum on Dec. 11 that would provide funds for work at two schools.

The board left open the possibility of holding another referendum by voting to notify the county of its intention to do so. The board is not obligated to hold the referendum and does not have to set an amount at this time.

Sullivan agreed to present a more detailed report at the next meeting on Monday, Oct. 22, on staging and funding of the roof project. Board members also asked to see the tax impact and the possible impact on programs if funds are taken from the operating budget.

In other business, Mattessich announced that Vice President David Finn has resigned from the board due to an urgent family medical matter. Finn, who served on the board for three and a half years and was chairman of the negotiations committee in addition to serving as its vice president.

“David, you will be missed on this board,” Mattessich said. He appointed board member Ginny Leiz to take Finn’s place as chairman of the negotiating committee. The board then voted board member Roseanne Kurstedt as its new vice president. Finn’s vacant seat need not be filled before a new board convenes in January.

Also at the session, the board heard from members of an advisory committee on a new teacher evaluation system. The system is being implemented to comply with state regulations, and the committee could choose from five vetted models.

The group selected one developed by educator Kim Marshall, which they found to be workable and more affordable than others. The board is to vote on purchasing the new system at its Nov. 13 meeting. The system calls for more frequent unannounced visits to the classroom for observation and provides for discussion between supervisors and teachers on where improvements can be made.

Kurstedt praised the model for focusing on real teaching and showing what a highly effective teacher looks like.
“This model is more personal, and teaching is personal,” she said.

The system allows four levels of evaluation, which she called more meaningful than the current “satisfactory-unsatisfactory” rating. “It’s exciting that we’re moving in this direction,” she said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Fanwood Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Mobile Meals of Westfield

April 22, 2018

FANWOOD, NJ  — At the Fanwood Borough Council meeting on Monday, April 16, Mayor Colleen Mahr read a resolution acknowledging Mobile Meals' 50th anniversary and presented it to volunteers Nancy Otchy and Josephine Walsh.

Mobile Meals, based in Westfield, delivers meals to thousands of area residents every day. The organization passed its one millionth meal delivery several ...

2018 Municipal Budget is on Collision Course with Principles of Financial Soundness & Stability

April 18, 2018

Having chaired the town council’s finance committee in the recent past, I appreciate the hard work that goes into developing a municipal budget for a town as large and dynamic as Westfield. But as I have expressed publicly and also to the mayor and my council colleagues, I do not support the adoption of Westfield’s 2018 municipal budget. Although the budget contains much that I ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, April 24, 4:00 PM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, April 24, 7:00 PM

Westfield Municipal Building, Westfield

Westfield Town Council Meeting


Tue, April 24, 7:30 PM


Westfield Board of Education Meeting


Westfield Police Blotter: Residence Burglarized & More

April 18, 2018

April 11, 2018 10:23 a.m.

Raymond Rodgers, 56, of Westfield, NJ was arrested in the area of E. Broad Street. Rodgers was arrested pursuant to an unrelated traffic investigation. Rogers was transported to Westfield Police HQ without incident. At WPD HQ, Rodgers was processed and released after posting the full bail amount ($250). Rodgers was arrested on the strength of an outstanding Westfield ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Says Oil Price Hysteria Unwarranted, Talks Tech

April 23, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on BNN Bloomberg discussing stocks with oil near $70 per barrel and major Tech earnings this week:

​​​​​​For nearly 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management ...

Westfield Community Thanks Crossing Guards for Valuable Service

Bob Lewis has been helping students safely cross the street at the corner of St. Mark’s Avenue and Sherman Street in Westfield for the past 22 years.

“I’m a fixture,” said Lewis, a crossing guard at Washington School who turns 90 years old in August.

“Whenever he is absent, students, parents and staff want to know ‘Where is Bob?’” ...

18 Homes Sold April 15 to April 22, 2018, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Cranford, Fanwood & Mountainside

Eighteen homes sold the week of April 15 to April 22, 2018, in Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside, Cranford and Westfield:*

TOWN   ADDRESS                            ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
Read more

‘A Sad Day for Paterson’ as Police Officer Loses Life in Car Crash

April 23, 2018

PATERSON, NJ — On what Paterson Superior Officers Association President Mason Maher called “a sad day for Paterson,” a city police officer lost his life on Sunday after he was involved in a motor vehicle collision while on duty.

Several sources familiar with Sunday’s tragic accident have identified the fallen officer as Tamby Yagan, a 13-year veteran of the ...