WESTFIELD, NJ - Working with a tightened budget the Board of Education looks to its staff to compensate.
"We are looking to ways we can have people step forward to fill things we would have had to pay for in the past," board member Gary McCready said. "It used to be a rarity to see a part-time position in Westfield. Now there are multiple."
At last night's Board of Education meeting, Tuesday September 14th, the creation of numerous part-time positions, the appointment of volunteers to fill assistant coaching positions that were once paid, and the implementation of additional responsibilities for librarians were announced.
"We are also looking at places where instead of hiring additional teachers, we are collapsing sections, if we can," McCready said.
Beginning this school year the six elementary and two intermediate schools in Westfield will share five librarians. Recently, there were eight -- one at each school. But, since three were let go this year because of budget cuts, each of the five remaining librarians are working at a minimum of two and a maximum of three schools.
"The elementary students will still have the same curriculum" Superintendent Margaret Dolan said. "But, some of the things we've grown used to, like librarians contributing to the curriculum, they will not be able to do so because of the cuts. As some of you who may remember we also had to reassign our art and music staff to multiple schools."
In other news, Westfield High School was ranked eighth among public high schools in New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly Magazine.
"These rankings are read by our taxpayers and our parents so it helps to dissect what they mean," Board President Julie Walker said.
Rankings were based on three criteria -- student performance, school environment and student outcomes. For student performance the HESPA and SATs were calculated. Westfield ranked eighth in New Jersey for math, 21st for language arts.
"If they looked at the numbers in the most proficient we would have been higher in language arts than math," Dolan said. "A lot of it depended on how they looked at the scores."
Westfield received an average ranking within the school environment category, which looked at student-to-teacher ratios, student-to-computer ratios and the number of AP classes offered.
"The area we're doing well is what I deem most important -- student performance," Dolan said. "Our SAT scores have gone up, 90% of our students scored a three or higher on AP exams. Both of which has gone up from past years."
In other news, Matthew Forte will be replacing Douglas Layman as the new Assistant Principal of Edison Intermediate School. Currently, Forte is still under contract in West Essex. He is anticipated to assume the new position in Westfield on November 15th.