WESTFIELD, NJ – The Westfield Public School District's solar panel project is expected to be up and running this fall, Board of Education Secretary and Business Administrator Dana Sullivan told members during Tuesday's meeting. The panels could save the district $112,000 per year, according to Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan.

Five schools are receiving solar panels, Sullivan said: Westfield High School, Roosevelt Intermediate School, Edison Intermediate School, Wilson Elementary School and Tamaques Elementary School. Installation is already complete at the high school, Edison and Tamaques, Sullivan said.

“We will save 15 percent of our budget on electric when everything is up and running, which hopefully will happen sometime early next school year,” Sullivan said.

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Also of note from Tuesday’s meeting, board member Amy Root announced that auditorium chairs from Edison and Roosevelt will be sold in groups of two ($50), three ($75) and four ($90) due to the upcoming demolition of the auditoriums at those schools. Proceeds from the sale of the chairs will go to the PTO scholarship fund. Anyone who is interested in purchasing a chair before demolition must confirm their purchase by reaching out to donnakenneykeith@gmail.com by Friday, June 16.

Resident Diane Barabas took to the podium to comment on the lighting surrounding Westfield High School. 

“My backyard actually faces the high school. The lighting is really very, very dim on Dorian Road between Rahway and Westfield Avenue,” Barabas said. She urged the board to address the lighting, saying she noticed students leaving the high school after an evening activity and became concerned that drivers may not be aware that students were in the area.

Barabas also encouraged the parent-teacher organizations to support Downtown Westfield.

“I think the PTO needs to work a little bit harder on supporting the businesses in downtown versus going to them and asking them for donations, gift cards,” she said. She said that the schools are good at raising funds but that she would like to see a greater effort made in supporting downtown businesses.

The public was reminded that petitions are due at the County Clerk’s office in Elizabeth by July 31 at 4 p.m. for anyone considering a three-year term on the Westfield Board of Education. For consideration, candidates must file a petition in person in the Office of the County Clerk at 2 Broad St., Room 113, in Elizabeth. Nominating petition forms must be completed and submitted to the County Clerk and are available at the Board of Education office at 302 Elm Street in Westfield. Forms can also be found on the Board of Education website. The election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Contact Lisa Hugelmeyer, Union County Supervisor, at 908-527-4996 for more information or visit the County Clerk’s website at www.ucnj.org/ctyclerk.