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


Clark Police and Fire Departments Gearing Up For BBQ Cookoff Competition

July 18, 2018

CLARK, NJ – Preparations by the Clark Police and Fire Departments are underway ahead of the upcoming “Clark PD vs Clark FD BBQ Cook-Off.” The cookoff, which will feature members of both departments facing off in a cooking competition, is scheduled for Saturday, July 28 at the Clark Recreation Center.

Friendly rivalry between the two departments began with a post on the Clark ...

More Traffic, No Solution – Letter to Governor Phil Murphy

July 17, 2018

Dear Governor Phil Murphy,

From the mid-1970s, when I was age 12, I’ve had this vivid memory of watching my parents participate in a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a 12-story hotel complex just behind our backyard. In fact, on Wednesday, September 29, 1976, the local newspaper ran an article with a photo showing my mother and her protest placard. The memory of that ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, July 18

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Westfield Area YMCA Wellness Wednesdays

Health & Wellness


Thu, July 19, 7:30 PM

Mindowaskin Park, Westfield

Free Swing Band Concert in Mindowaskin Park

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, July 21, 9:00 AM

Westfield Community Center , Westfield

Rummage Sale

Westfield Police Blotter: Car Scratchings, Car Burglaries Continue & More

July 11, 2018

July 2, 2018 11:37 p.m.

Chad Doriral, age 32, of Brooklyn, NY was arrested for possession of CDS pursuant to a motor vehicle stop. Subject was processed and released on summons.

July 3, 2018 11:08 p.m.

Divine Kennedy, age 19, of Newark, NJ was arrested on the strength of an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Westfield Municipal Court in the amount of $1,000.00. Further investigation ...

'Little Free Library' Opens in Unami Park

July 18, 2018

Little Free Libraries are being installed all over the country. The book exchanges have grown to 36,000 around the world in 70 countries.

Locally, we have seen little libraries popping up on front lawns. Now, a new Little Free Library at Unami Park will join the movement to share books, bring families together and create communities of readers.

The Mothers’ Center of Central New ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

Understand NJ's Shared Responsibility Act

Last year, the President signed legislation that repealed the “penalty tax” for not having health insurance for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2019.


On May 31, Governor Murphy signed into law the “New Jersey Health Insurance Market Preservation Act,” which establishes a “shared responsibility tax” for state residents without ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

26 Homes Sold July 8-15 in Westfield and Surrounding Towns

There were 26 homes sold between July 8 and July 15 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside`

TOWN          ADDRESS    STYLE            RMS   BRS BTH   GAR   Sale Price

Cranford  115  Bryant Ave ...

Dog Found in Garwood

UPDATE: Reunited with owner.

ORIGINAL POST: Dog found on Pine Avenue in Garwood. He was given food and water. Garwood police now has him. Sweet and friendly. Contact the Garwood Police Department.

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You


Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

What Is Your Bottom Line?

This week's Parshah (Torah reading) is the Parshah of Pinchas the Zealot: the courageous young priest who stood up against idolatry and immorality and, in the end, saved Israel from a devastating plague.

While Pinchas' radical response made him a hero worthy of having a Torah section named after him, we wouldn't necessarily suggest to our children ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

ELL Summer Experience at Westfield Public Schools

Westfield students representing six different languages recently enjoyed a weeklong summer camp focused on providing meaningful enrichment activities for students to continue their English language acquisition while having fun.

The ELL (English Language Learners) Summer Experience ran from July 9-13 at Wilson School, welcoming students in grades 1-4 whose native languages are Russian, ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Welcomes Stephen A. Timoni to Firm

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C., announced that Stephen A. Timoni has joined the firm in its Westfield office. Stephen will focus his practice in the areas of Corporate and Health Care Law.

“Stephen brings additional depth and experience to our firm. He has tremendous experience in complex corporate, M&A and health care areas of practice. We anticipate that Stephen ...

NJ Residents Take Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

July 17, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...


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