Education

Westfield Schools to Hold Off on Adding Full-Day Kindergarten

d2291234f835311a355f_DSC_1303.JPG
Mark Friedman, chair of the Westfield BOE's long-range planning committee (center), explains why the committee does not recommend creating a full-day kindergarten program now. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
d2291234f835311a355f_DSC_1303.JPG

WESTFIELD, NJ — After reviewing the results of its full-day kindergarten survey, the Westfield Board of Education’s long-range planning committee recommended Tuesday that the board not move forward with creating a full-day kindergarten program at Westfield Public Schools at this time.

“I’d like to thank the residents who responded to the survey,” committee chair Mark Friedman said at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. “We received over 1,500 replies, and so many of them provided excellent insight into what people are thinking, regardless of which side of the discussion they support.”

In addition to the survey, board members also looked at the district’s facilities and found that they would need to make additions to two of the elementary schools, likely through floating a bond, and that they would need to add significant expense annually to support the hiring of new staff, Friedman said.

Sign Up for E-News

Ninety percent of the school districts in New Jersey currently have a full-day kindergarten program, he noted.

“I think that it is important to note here that it is not our goal to simply stand still and not move our district forward with respect to the need for other options for our students,” Friedman said. “We are only making the decision to look for other alternatives that would not put a financial burden on the district and ultimately the residents of Westfield. We believe that with a new administration coming into Trenton in January and with the process to re-evaluate the tax base of our homes that it’s prudent to seek other options.”

Friedman said that Westfield has a very successful kindergarten wrap program.

“[Superintendent] Dr. Dolan and the administration will look at creative ways to perhaps expand that program,” he said. “As part of that process, we will look at other spaces in town that might be able to support the growth of the wrap program.”

Board President Gretchan Ohlig added that they recognized that Westfield is unique in that it is part of the 10 percent of New Jersey districts that do not offer full-day kindergarten.  

“I think, ultimately, part of the reason that the committee is making the recommendation that it’s making is the other ways in which Westfield is unique, and part of that is that our residents bear 89.3 percent of the funding. And because we’re considered a wealthy district we see very little from the state to supplement that,” Ohlig said. “So this board has always been very mindful. Our per-pupil cost is less than the state  average and we’re committed to investing our resources wisely in the best in the best teachers, administrators and counselors that we have, challenging curriculum and up-to-date technology and providing a safe environment for our students.”

One thing that the board heard repeatedly was “think outside the box,” Ohlig said.

“While clearly full-day is important to many parents, and that there’s an interest, we are trying to think outside the box to offer viable alternatives that don’t require us to raise taxes,” she said.

After hearing from residents, “What surprised me was how many people felt very strongly that a half-day kindergarten program was sufficient,” board member Amy Root added. “Certainly our half-day program in Westfield meets the state standards. Our kids are well-prepared. There may be a slight difference when kids start first grade between the kids who’ve attended a half-day program or full-day program, but my own children have borne it out and from what I’ve heard from our teachers, you pretty quickly don’t see a difference between the kids who attended half-day or full-day.”

The district's wrap program is not free, and parents who feel that the program is cost-prohibitive for them should reach out to the superintendent’s office, Root added.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

After 47 Years of Operation, Jade Isle Set to Close Its Doors in Scotch Plains

February 17, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The iconic Jade Isle Restaurant located at the corner of Terrill Road and Second Street in Scotch Plains will close its doors forever after its last day on  Feb. 18. A phone call to the restaurant on Saturday confirmed that the Jade Isle's long history would come to an end Sunday.

Jade Isle has served a menu of traditional Chinese and Polynesian dishes and ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_ab8f5d9efb4317e5a445_hiawatha

Sun, February 18, 3:00 PM

Lawton C. Johnson Middle School , Summit

New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra Free ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_324736565a1e77afd508_inflatbles

Mon, February 19, 11:00 AM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

President's Day Jump

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_fadfd1c21bc636c673db_schmidt_john_01_pp

Thu, February 22, 8:30 AM

Hilton Garden Inn, Hamilton , Hamilton

Defending Your Independent Contractor & Wage & ...

Business & Finance Education Law & Justice

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Earn Scholarship Finalist Standing

February 17, 2018

The National Merit Scholarship Program has determined which of the 16,000 semifinalists named in September 2017 have met all requirements to advance to Finalist standing in the competition. All Finalists will be considered for National Merit Scholarships to be offered in 2018.

Wardlaw+Hartridge seniors Jennifer Guo and Suraj Chandran of Edison received their Finalist certificates from Susan ...

Westfield Police Blotter: DWI Arrest & More

February 15, 2018

February 7, 2018 10:25 p.m.

Officers Natale and Gill arrested Brian Mueller, age 55, of Westfield, NJ for driving while intoxicated pursuant to an accident investigation in the area of Mountain Avenue by Colonial Avenue. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released to a sober adult.

 

February 9, 2018 2:21 a.m.

Selena G. Palacios, age 22, of Westfield, NJ was ...

How Tax Reform Impacts You

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brings a host of changes to tax returns for 2018. Highlighted are just a few of the new rules that may impact many of our clients. Please reach out to us to find out if and how your personal situation is impacted.

For Business:

·       A flat 21% corporate tax rate for C corporations replaces the 15% - 35% graduate rate ...

Sinai or Sanctuary?

 

 

And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? ...

Westfield Public Schools Celebrate High School and Intermediate Music Honors

Westfield High School sophomore Brooke Walden auditioned and was selected to the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble and Orchestra for a second straight year.  Brooke was the top scoring piccolo player and ranked third on the flute.  She will perform in February with the Wind Ensemble and in November with the Orchestra.

Walden also was among 12 WHS musicians to perform in January with ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

6 Homes Sold Last Week in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford & Mountainside

Six homes sold last week, 2/4/2018-2/11/18, in Westfield, Scotch  Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Cranford.*

Sale Price   TOWN                  ADDRESS                  ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

Cat Found in Westfield

UPDATE: Reunited with family!

ORIGINAL POST: Cat found in Golf Edge area of Westfield. Call 908-913-0509.

Doing Well While Doing Good

The new tax law is predicted to reduce significantly the number of taxpayers who itemize deductions.  That has some concerned about charitable giving. There are ways for taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to give to charity and still receive some tax benefits.

Give from your IRA. Those aged 70-1/2 or older, who must take required minimum distributions from retirement accounts, can ...

Obituaries

Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

Nutley Schools Closed Friday Following Security Threat

February 16, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ — The Nutley Police Department is currently investigating a video posted to Instagram that suggested a possible threat to schools. Dr. Julie Glazer, Nutley Superintendent of Schools, made the decision late Thursday night to close Nutley schools on Friday as a safety precaution. 

The Nutley Police Department reports they have spoken to the individual ...