Westfield Board of Education Urges Residents to Vote Yes on Bond Issue and Announces that Graduation is Pushed to June 25 at Meeting

Board President Richard Mattessich, right, congratulates Westfield High School Band Director Chris Vitale on the marching band’s accomplishments this season. Credits: Patricia Harris

WESTFIELD, NJ—At the Nov. 27 Westfield Board of Education meeting, members of the board urged residents to vote in favor of a $13.6 million bond issue on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The bonds would pay for much-needed repairs to roofs at nine schools and three other facilities in the district. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., several speakers reminded the public during the meeting.

As she has at two previous meetings, Business Administrator Dana Sullivan made a presentation about the roof replacement project. She said the state provides school districts with the ability to issue bonds to fund capital projects. Historically, New Jersey has provided state aid for capital projects. However, funding has not been given for capital projects for the past few years.

Sign Up for E-News

If approved, the bonds will be paid back over 20 years, which is the estimated useful life of the roofs, Sullivan explained.

 “Right now, interest rates are very low, which makes it an opportune time for us to issue bonds,” she said.

Board members have decided that a roof replacement project will take place even if the bond issue does not pass.

Board President Richard Mattessich warned that if the district has to take funds from its operating budget, there may be painful cuts to programs and personnel.

Sullivan reinforced that statement, saying that programs and services would be impacted. There would be an increase in class size at all levels, fine arts and other electives might be cut, athletic programs might be curtailed, technology initiatives might be stopped and maintenance to facilities might be postponed.

In addition, potential staff reductions could occur, Sullivan said, noting that about 80 percent of the budget goes to personnel. Teachers in every school at every level might be cut, as well as counselors, secretaries, paraprofessionals, custodians, administrators and librarians.

Board member Ann Cary said, “It might be hard for parents to get passionate about roofs, but they can about fine arts and other programs.”

When the board meets again on Dec. 11, the results of the bond referendum will be known and the board will make its plan. If the referendum fails, approximately $4 million will be reallocated in next year’s budget for the high school roof and reallocations may have to be sustained in succeeding years to complete the remaining roofs.

In other business, the board approved a revised school calendar that now includes three snow days at the end of June. Graduation has now been pushed back to Tuesday, June 25.

Superintendent Margaret Dolan explained that she and the policy committee had looked at other dates, including spring break and Memorial Day, but had settled on the end of the school year as the most practical.

The board gave its approval after hearing from Livingston Street resident Vertina Graves, who urged the governing body to close the schools on Martin Luther King Day because of its importance to citizens such as her father, who had suffered racial discrimination.

Dolan explained that there were few good options for making up school days lost during Superstorm Sandy last month, and the schools would only be open for a half day.

 “You’ve eloquently said why we should honor the day,” she said. “No disrespect is meant at all.”

Dolan suggested that stories such as Graves’s could be told in the schools.

Board member Mitchell Slater picked up on Graves’s comment that the President will be inaugurated that day and suggested that schools incorporate coverage in their classes.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


5 Arrested in Connection with Prostitution at Union Spa

April 20, 2018

UNION, NJ – Union police arrested a man and four women in connection with a prostitution business at a local spa on Morris Avenue.

In September 2017, Union police made arrests at the Birchwood Oils – Essential Oil Rub Treatments -  when they discovered it to be a place of prostitution, police said.

According to police, they continued to monitor the location and discovered ...

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


Sat, April 21, 9:30 AM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Westfield Area YMCA Camp Open House

Sat, April 21, 10:00 AM

Tamaques Park, Brightwood Park & Mindowaskin Park, Westfield

Westfield 2018 Spring Clean-Up

Giving Back Government Green


Sat, April 21, 1:30 PM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Free Aquatics Healthy Kids Day

Health & Wellness Sports

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 ...

In London Town - NJFO Season Finale

April 20, 2018

On Saturday May 19 and Sunday May 20, the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, under the baton of David Wroe, presents a magnificent 35th anniversary season finale celebration of music linked in some way to England and its great city of London.

The concert opens with Sir Edward Elgar’s exhilarating Introduction and Allegro for Strings, a work composed in 1905 to enable the string section ...

'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 ...

Edison Students Participate in Beta Test of Google Augmented Reality App

Students and teachers at Edison Intermediate School participated in a recent beta test of a Google application that uses augmented reality technology to explore the inner workings of plant cells, the functions and framework of the human skeletal system, and other educational subjects.

Edison Media Specialist Andrew Cusumano arranged for a Google representative to visit the school on April 9 to ...

Get Your Home Ready for Summer Before its TOO HOT

Finally, the weather is getting warmer and you are shedding those down coats. Now is a great time to start thinking about summer and getting your home prepared. Paying attention to a few maintenance items can alleviate painful repairs later on if you wait too long. The line ahead of you will build as the summer rush starts. So, let’s not wait.

Check your roof   (hire the expert ...

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

Mets Sign Patriots Pitcher Before He Can Unpack His Gear

April 20, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — The Somerset Patriots have announced that right-hand pitcher Scott Copeland’s contract has been purchased by the New York Mets.

So, instead of stretching out and getting in shape at TD Bank Ballpark, he's been sent to extended spring training at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

The 6’3” righty broke into the big leagues in ...