Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting of October 22
Friday, October 26, 2012 • 12:51pm
DISTRICT ROOF REPLACEMENT
• The Board unanimously approved placing a $13.6 million bond referendum
on the ballot for Tuesday, December 11, to fund the replacement and repair
of roofs on each of the 12 district owned buildings.
• Referring to the feedback from the public and the outcome of the
failed September bond, Board President Richard Mattessich announced that
the Board is not pursuing a turf field in the bond referendum.
• Most urgent is the replacement of the Westfield High School roof with
83% of the roof requiring removal and replacement -- targeted for the
summer of 2013.
• The High School work, which also includes masonry restoration and
other related repairs, is estimated at approximately $4 million, according
to Business Administrator, Dana Sullivan.
• If the December 11 bond fails, the $4 million for the high school roof
would have to come from the 2013-14 operating budget, resulting in these
potential budget reductions:
o Approximately 50 positions would be eliminated
o Reductions to athletic programs (number of sports and levels of teams)
o Reductions to fine arts classes and programs
o Increased class size at elementary level
o Increased class size at the intermediate level and decrease in electives
o Increase class size in WHS in all departments
o Increase in required enrollment for all WHS classes (e.g., Project
’79, AP classes)
o Decrease in counseling staff, librarians, and technology staff
o Postponement of the district’s commitment to technology and STEM
o Postponement of other facility improvements
• If the bond fails, budget reductions would have to be in place for 3
– 4 more years, as the remainder of the roofs are repaired and replaced.
• If the bond passes, the remaining roofs could be completed by the
summer of 2014.
• If the bond passes, the estimated cost to the average homeowner would
be a $31 increase in taxes for only one half of 2014. With maturation of
existing bonds, the total tax impact would decrease dramatically over the
life of the new bond.
• Mr. Mattessich reiterated that there is no grant money available from
the state to fund the roof project. In the past, construction costs could
have received aid from the state, but in the last few years, this option
has been unavailable to public school districts.
• Operating budgets and maintenance reserve – which the state has
capped -- were never intended to fund a project of this scope.
• Mr. Mattessich stated that it is in the best interest of the district
to move forward to protect the infrastructure of our buildings, to stop
chasing leaks, and to accept all the evidence that has been gathered to
date, sentiments that were echoed by the other Board members.
Click here for the complete roofing report presented at the Board meeting
of October 22.
STATE ASSESSMENT RESULTS
• Paul Pineiro, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction,
presented a Report on State Testing results as well as the latest SAT and
AP achievements over a 5-year period.
• Westfield’s trend shows very favorable results and with few
exceptions, scores that exceed other similar school districts in the
“I” District Factor Group (DFG) and all surpassing the state average.
• The analyzed data provides principals, department heads and teachers
with information on student progress and where intervention is needed, what
instruction should be targeted at improvement, how curriculum is aligned
with standards, and the importance of consistency of instruction.
• At the individual school level, the data indicates that the district
should continue its literacy initiative with Columbia University’s
Teacher College, concentrating on writing at the elementary level.
Numerical operations will be addressed at two of the elementary schools,
where scores were slightly lower than the DFG.
• Westfield High School’s SAT scores surpassed the DFG in Verbal, Math
• With respect to Advanced Placement courses, a higher percentage of
Westfield High School students scored 3 or higher as compared to other DFG
VIOLENCE, VANDALISM, HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION AND BULLYING REPORT
The Westfield Public School district’s Code of Conduct is based on all
members of our school community exhibiting strong character including
integrity and honesty, work ethic, and sportsmanship. The state proclaimed
October 15 - 19 Violence Awareness Week in the public schools. The NJDOE
requires a report twice a year on Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse
in every public school district. The state requires that districts report
very specific numbers based on definitions that are consistent for all
public schools in New Jersey. During the period of January 1, 2012 and June
• Seventeen incidents of violence, vandalism or substance abuse were
reported, with 21 short term suspensions and 4 police notifications.
• Twenty-six investigations of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying
(HIB) were conducted, with 8 HIB confirmed. Four incidents were based on
electronic communication, four on verbal communication, two on gestures,
one on written comments, and one on physical contact.
• District responses included individual counseling, student and parent
conferences, suspensions, suspensions of privileges, or other measures.
• HIB training of Board, staff, and students continues; online resources
are available for parents; and ongoing meetings are held with school safety
• We continue to work on dealing with conflict and encouraging respect.
• Adults are reminded that they are role models. We continue to help
students in dealing with conflict. This is ongoing work – not merely one
week a year.
The Board approved for final reading: 6422 – Budget Transfers; 6424 –
Emergency Contracts; and 9130 – Public Complaints and Grievances.
CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAMS
The Board approved the 2012-2013 Nursing Plan.
The Board approved for first reading the following revised curricula:
World Language – Italian I, Italian II, and Italian IV. CIP Committee
Chair, Ann Cary, noted that there are 227 students at Westfield High School
who are enrolled in Italian.
In ad In addition to approving a resolution for a special district
election on December 11, 2012 for a bond referendum for the roofs, the
• Accepted a Race to the Top Phase 3 Grant in the amount of $13,096, to
help support literacy initiatives at the elementary level.
• Approved the Comprehensive Maintenance Plan and Form M-1 Annual
Maintenance Budget Work Sheet.
• Accepted with appreciation a gift of $5,000 from Brad and Kerry
Phillips to Franklin Elementary School for the purchase of iPads for the
Resource Rooms, for teachers and classrooms.
Mitch Slater attended the WHS PTSO meeting, at which technology
initiatives were discussed. Ginny Leiz and Gretchan Ohlig attended the
PTC /PTO presidents and general membership meetings, where several topics
were covered. Mrs. Leiz also attended McKinley School’s PTO meeting that
included a report on the writing workshop and literacy initiative. Rosanne
Kurstedt attended the Roosevelt PTO meeting, where a brief report on NJASK
scores was presented and plans by the PTO for rest of year were reviewed.
WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL
• Peter Renwick, Principal of Westfield High School, has been invited to
be a panelist on an education roundtable sponsored by NJ Spotlight on
Friday, October 26th, from 11 AM – 2 PM at the Masonic Temple in Trenton.
The panelists, who will be moderated by John Mooney of NJ Spotlight, also
will include Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf and representatives of
business and education. Two Westfield High School seniors, Jennifer
Mandelblatt and Ben Schwartz, have been invited as high school
representatives, are invited to comment and ask questions. The topic
under discussion will be, “New Jersey’s High School Diploma Under
Debate.” The timely event is a consequence of the transition from the
single HSPA (High School Proficiency Assessment) – a required test for
graduation -- to PARCC (The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for
College and Careers), which are end-of-the-year course assessments most
states are adopting to align with Common Core Curriculum Standards.
• Congratulations to the 2011-2012 editors and staff of Hi’s Eye, the
weekly student produced newspaper at Westfield High School, for winning a
gold medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Hi’s Eye was
judged on both the print and web editions. One of the national judges
commented, “The wonderful diversity in topics covered in both the print
and digital editions offers something for every reader.” Rosemary
DiBattista and Nicole Scimone, co-advisors of Hi’s Eye, stated that they
are very proud of the work that their staff puts into the Hi's Eye every
week, and this win is well-deserved.
• Congratulations to the Westfield High School Marching Blue Devils Band
for winning awards for Best Music, Best Visual, and Best Effect in their
school category in competition involving 20 marching bands held on October
13 in Hillsborough. We wish them luck in their next competition at East
Brunswick High School on October 27.
• Congratulations to Westfield High School senior, Lexi Borr, who won an
Individual STATE tennis championship at 1st singles. The last time this was
accomplished in girls’ tennis was in 1976!
• Congratulations to the Westfield High School Gymnastics team for
winning the Union County Tournament on Friday night!
• We are pleased to announce that our Boys Swimming Coach, Jeff Knight,
has been selected as New Jersey’s Coach of the Year for 2011-2012 for
Boys Swimming and will be receiving the National Federation of High Schools
Association Award on Sunday, April 14, 2013. He is the ONLY boys swimming
coach from the entire state to receive this honor.
• On October 12, the Westfield High School Volleyball teams and the
Breast Cancer Awareness Club teamed up to host a tournament against East
Brunswick and a silent auction to support the fight against breast cancer.
The 2012 “Pink Out” raised $18,470 to be donated to Susan G. Komen for
the Cure. Kudos to all the students, faculty, families, and area
businesses who contributed to the success of this worthwhile cause. The
Pink Out has been an annual event, initiated by the Volleyball team in
honor of their coach, Beverly Torok, herself a breast cancer survivor.
• District staff continues to provide leadership and guidance in their
prospective fields. Recently, athletic trainer, Christopher Flores, wrote
an article on shoulder exercises for quarterbacks, which was published in
STACK, a scholastic magazine that is distributed throughout the US, and
focuses on fitness, nutrition and sports.
Our intermediate schools are rehearsing for their upcoming drama
productions. On October 25 - 27 – Edison will be performing Romeo and
Juliet Alive (And Together!) At Last.
On November 2 – 4, Get Smart will be performed at Roosevelt. More
information and tickets are available at each school.
• Congratulations to Franklin 5th grader, Sara Wheatley, who won first
place in New Jersey in the Tar Wars Poster Contest. Sara advanced to the
nationals, where she placed 7th in the photo contest. She was invited to
Washington DC where she toured the Capitol and met with NJ State
legislators. For the past 11 years, Franklin students have entered the
anti-smoking contest and have earned a place each year at the State level,
progressing to the National contest 6 times. Sara’s 7th place in the
national contest is the highest honor yet.
• Tamaques School has again successfully won a school garden grant. The
latest grant – from the Whole Kids Foundation and FoodCorps – is in the
amount of $2000 – and will support the ongoing efforts of the school to
involve the entire school in its focus on nutrition.
• Thank you to our BRAKES volunteers who held another successful annual
Walk to School Day event on October 3. Each of Westfield’s 6 elementary
schools participated. Thank you to our town administrators, councilmen,
fire fighters and police officers who walked to school with the winner of
the Walk to School Day raffles. The goal of the BRAKES group is to improve
the health and safety of our children and neighborhoods.
ALL WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED Thursday and Friday, November
8 and 9, for teacher professional days. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
– November 5, 6 and 7 –Kindergarten through Fifth Grade will follow the
4-hour session schedule to permit time for Parent Conferences. The 4-hour
session schedule for these grades can be found on the back of the district
calendar sent to parents in September.
NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING – will be held Tuesday, November 13, at
7:30 PM, at 302 Elm Street.
Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools