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Scotch Plains – Fanwood THE TIMES
OUR 42ND YEAR – ISSUE NO. 242 Published Every Thursday USPS 485200
Periodical – Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, N. J. Thursday, January 13, 2000
— Serving Scotch Plains and Fanwood Since 1959 —
A& E............... Page 20 County .......... Page 2 Editorial ........ Page 4
Obituary ........ Page 10 Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 13
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Fanwood Community Foundation Offers Ways For Residents to Give Back to Their Hometown
By JUSTIN L. BYRNES
Specially Written for The Times
On the corner of Martine and South Avenues, just outside the Fanwood train station, stands a tribute to the borough and its residents that was made possible, in part, through funding from the Fanwood Community Foundation.
Standing 16 feet tall, the fourface Millennium Clock, its numbers done in classical calligraphy, is illuminated at night for all to see. Unveiled during the borough’s fourth annual Fanny Wood Day celebration in September, it signifies hope and prosperity for the community today and for the future.
The Victorianstyle timepiece – conceived by former Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly — was paid for with proceeds from past Fanny Wood Day festivals as well as through donations from individuals and groups like the Fanwood Community Foundation.
The Foundation, established in October of 1998, was the brainchild of Fred J. Chemidlin, Jr., who serves as its President. Mr. Chemidlin is the owner and President of Family Investors Company on South Avenue in Fanwood.
Along with Mr. Chemidlin, the foundation’s Board of Trustees includes Theodore F. Frankenbach, Vice President; Carol A. Kraus, Secretary, and Robert H. Kraus, Treasurer.
Also serving on the board as Trustees are Robert J. McCarthy, David W.
Pickering, Candy C. Santo and Councilmen William E. Populus, Jr. and Joel Whitaker. All work as volunteers for the foundation, which is a completely nonprofit group.
Included with the borough’s quarterly newsletter that was sent out to residents in December was a brochure explaining the role of the foundation and the different ways in which a prospective donor can contribute.
Individuals may contribute immediately by making cash gifts or gifts of appreciated assets. Future gifts can come in the form of a bequest by will; an IRA or qualified plan; charitable remainder trust; charitable lead trust; charitable gift annuity; life insurance policy or real property with lifetime use.
With such a broad spectrum of possible ways to contribute, the organization hopes to give everyone in the community a way in which they can help.
“The benefit to becoming a contributor is that your gift is 100 percent tax deductible,” said Mr. Pickering.
Donors may specify where they wish their contribution to be directed, such as to the Fanwood Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Fanwood Memorial Library or to a soccer program, and the foundation will make sure their gift is used for the chosen beneficiary.
“If a donor is not specific on where they want their money to go, the foundation decides where that money can be used most appropriately when
they decide to distribute it, Mr. Pickering said.
The Foundation disburses its earned income in the form of grants
to nonprofit groups serving the needs of the community of Fanwood.
An organization can submit a grant
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Area Observances of Martin Luther King Day Include Service at St. John’s Baptist Church By DEBORAH MADISON
Specially Written for The Times
For many of those born before 1960, there are vivid memories of marches, protests, sitins, riots and the man who proclaimed the famous words, “We shall overcome.”
For the next generation of children born after 1960, the spirited unrest of the Civil Rights Movement was little more than words on a page or stories recounted by their teachers and parents.
But Scotch Plains will try to keep the memory alive with a special observation of Martin Luther King Day on Sunday, January 16 at 7 p. m. at St. John’s Baptist Church on Morse Avenue.
The special service will feature guest speaker, the Reverend D. Keith Owens from Salem Baptist Church in Jersey City.
Dr. Owens was a former member of St. John’s Baptist Church, said St. John’s Pastor, the Reverend Kelmo C. Porter, Jr.
Reverend Porter said that he personally knew the late Dr. King. “When I was President of the Montclair Clergy Club, we made frequent contributions to Dr. King’s early movement. He came to personally thank us whenever he visited
Montclair,” Reverend Porter said. The commemorative service at St. John’s traditionally includes participation by visiting ministers as well as lay people who will speak on what Rev. Martin Luther King meant to them. The program traditionally concludes with the congregation and choir singing, “We Shall Overcome.”
Reverend Porter extends an invitation to the entire Township of Scotch Plains and surrounding communities to join his congregation for this special commemorative service.
For Westfield school children, the legacy left by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes alive each year because of the continuing efforts of one group of dedicated volunteers.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Westfield, which will celebrate its 13th anniversary this year, sponsors a variety of events each year, including a town march, an essay contest and a commemorative service in honor of the fallen clergyman and civil rights leader.
Like his father, the late Martin Luther King, Dr. King pursued a career as a minister. As a civil rights activist, he was the leading force behind the withdrawal of the segregation laws in the 1960’s, preaching empowerment through nonviolent
resistance. Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
“It is important for us to make Dr. King’s message a living reality,”
stated Donnell Carr, Vice President
Cheri Rogowsky for The Times RENEWED COMMITMENT… Mayor Louis C. Jung of Fanwood administers the oath of office New Year’s Day to Fire Chief John Piccola during the annual reorganization meeting of the borough’s governing body. Mr. Jung was sworn into his inaugural term as Mayor that day, while Thomas P. Ryan, Jr. and Stuart S. Kline took their oaths of office as Councilmen.
TRADITIONS CELEBRATED… Inspired by an Eloise Greenfield poem entitled “Traditions,” Joan Costello’s thirdgrade class at McGinn Elementary School in Scotch Plains recently invited their families to their classroom to share holiday traditions. Parents and children read stories, decorated cookies and shared customs reflecting their families’ heritage. Pictured are Robin VonLangan and her daughter, Rebecca, as they proudly display the cherry roll that is a holiday tradition in their home.
Cheri Rogowsky for The Times OATH TO SERVE… Fanwood Volunteer Rescue Squad officers are sworn in by Mayor Louis C. Jung, second from left, at the January 1 reorganization meeting of the borough’s governing body. Squad officers, pictured left to right, are: President, John Oatis; Captain, Sue Davis; First Lieutenant, Jeff Downing; Corresponding Secretary, Ruth Wegmann; Sergeant, Jim Baxter and Vice President, Phyllis Fasano.
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Resolution for Lighting Bid May be Rescinded by Council
By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Times
Fanwood officials sought last week to rescind a resolution accepting a bid for light fixtures in the downtown because required certification documentation had not been included with the document when it was passed during the waning days of the previous mayoral administration.
At a special December 28 meeting of the governing body, former Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly broke a partyline vote to accept a bid for $385,470 from Faigon Electric, Inc. of South Plainfield for the installation of 58 Victorian motif light fixtures along LaGrande, South and Martine Avenues as part of a longrange revitalization plan for Fanwood.
Under the New Jersey Public Contracts Law, a municipality’s business office must present certification in writing confirming that sufficient funds exist to cover the cost of a proposed project. Such certification must also be indicated in the language of the resolution and the written proof must be attached before the resolution is approved by the governing body.
Newlyappointed Borough Attorney Wilfred P. Coronato, who discovered the lapse while reviewing the resolution, advised elected officials at their January 5 council agenda meeting that although proper certification for capital expenditures has been completed all along by the borough’s business office, written proof of certification has not been included with resolutions accepting contractors’ bids since the state administrative code went into effect in 1991.
Mayor Louis C. Jung described the absence of accompanying certification documentation as a “technicality” which was unwittingly overlooked in the preparation of resolutions.
He told The Times that the council’s desire to rescind the resolution was not an implication that anyone in the business office was responsible for any wrongdoing, but to fully comply with state regulations.
Borough Administrator Eleanor McGovern acknowledged at last week’s meeting that certification forms have been filled out prior to council approval of all resolutions and were on file in the business office. Officials additionally noted that
these certification documents have passed annual reviews by auditors.
However, concerns remained over possible legal ramifications because of a clause in the administrative code stating that anyone who knowingly fails to follow the certification policy faces misdemeanor penalties. Mr. Coronato noted, however, that certification documentation was not knowingly excluded from past resolutions.
Democratic Councilman William E. Populus, Jr., who chaired the council’s Administration and Finance Committee under the former administration, feared the error may have opened a “Pandora’s box” of legal challenges from contractors whose bids were turned down in the past by the borough.
Mr. Coronato said he felt the borough “would stand on strong legal ground” in such cases, since a notice to bidders states that no award is binding prior to execution of a contract. Execution of a contract occurs after it has been signed by both the municipality and the contractor.
Nevertheless, Republican Council President Joel Whitaker urged that the governing body rescind its December resolution “as quickly as possible,” noting the longer officials delay the matter, “the greater jeopardy we put the borough into” from a legal perspective.
Afterwards, he explained, officials could begin a fresh review of the Faigon bid, plus any others which may be received. “No harm is done to anyone, including the bidder,” he said.
He also recommended that the Administration and Finance Com mittee, together with Chief Financial
Officer Barbara Brennan and Mrs. McGovern, review the state certification policy to ensure that it is followed to the letter in the future.
Resolutions authorizing the governing body to rescind the lighting bid resolution and rejecting the present Faigon bid are expected to come up for a vote at the council’s regular meeting tonight, January 13.
During the December special meeting, Republicans opposed the resolution accepting the Faigon bid – the only one received for the work — arguing that officials had less than a day to review the offer. The existing bid, received on December 27, would consume the lion’s share of $400,000 in state and county grant money awarded to Fanwood last year by the county and the state.
Borough Engineer Richard Marsden had recommended in an eightpoint memo last month that officials reject the bid on the grounds that the $6,637perlight price tag was up to double what he had estimated the project would cost.
Following up on Mr. Marsden’s recommendations, Republicans had suggested that the governing body rebid for the work and possibly combine lighting and streetscape projects in one package, to be done in sections.
Democrats, however, voiced support then and again last week for completing one entire aspect of the governing body’s longrange plan while funding is still available for the work.
Observing that “prices don’t go down,” Councilwoman Katherine
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New SP Ordinance Will Increase Public Speaking Time at Meetings
By FRED ROSSI
Specially Written for The Times
Acting immediately to change the way its meetings are run and to provide members of the public with more opportunity to address a wider range of concerns, the Scotch Plains Township Council introduced an ordinance on Tuesday night that would allow residents to speak before the governing body about any issue during both time slots now allotted for public comment.
Currently, residents are provided 30 minutes at the start of each regular meeting to speak about any item on the agenda of that night’s meeting. At the end of each meeting, they are allowed to address any issue at all whether or not it had been on the agenda.
At his swearing in on January 2, Mayor Martin L. Marks vowed to put an end to what he said was a “silly” practice and, instead, allow residents to speak about any issue during both times set aside for public discussion.
The ordinance will have a second reading at the council’s next meeting on Tuesday, January 25, before a vote on passage is taken.
During its first regular meeting of the new year, the council tackled a variety of other matters, including approving the use of a dual designation to permit Senger Place to also be named Meyer Place.
The Township Fire House is located on Senger Place; the dual designation will honor the Meyer family’s 200 years of volunteer service to the town.
“It’s nice to get a sense of history about our town,” Mayor Marks added. The legal address for the street’s sole resident will remain Senger Place.
Addressing the stillsimmering animal control issue, Mayor Marks, in response to a resident who urged that a new service be found to replace Garden State Kennels, said “we are exploring other opportunities. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of organizations that offer this service, so we’re limited” in terms of options.
Garden State Kennels has been the subject of a number of recent complaints from animal rights groups and others about its operations and practices. The township’s current contract with the Stirlingbased group runs until the end of this month.
In other business, the council will hold an informal meeting Tuesday, January 18, with representatives of Rayric Inc., owners of Malibu Club on Terrill Road, scene of a shooting in November 1998, about its liquor license renewal.
Several formal hearings have been postponed in recent months, and Mayor Marks said next week’s conference will be strictly an informal session, with members of the public welcome to attend, but not permitted to offer comments.
The council voted Tuesday night to allow Kenneth Lipstein, Esq., the Municipal Prosecutor last year, to continue to represent the township in this matter.
“He’s put in enormous work” on this issue, noted Councilman Tarquin Jay Bromley. “I don’t think anyone could put this case together better than Mr. Lipstein.”
The council also introduced an ordinance setting the salary of the Assistant Township Attorney, Andrew M. Baron, at a range of $30,000$40,000. Mr. Baron served as Township Attorney in 1999.
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A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood Thursday, January 13, 2000 Page 11
Fanwood TV35 Schedule Thursday, Jan. 13, 8: 00 P. M.
Live Broadcast – Monthly Council Meeting
Friday, Jan. 14, 8: 00 P. M.
Fanwood – A Reporter’s Dream
Friday, Jan. 14, 9: 00 P. M.
COPTV Home Security
Sunday, Jan. 16, 8: 00 P. M.
Sunday, Jan. 16, 9: 00 P. M.
Fallen Flags, Vol. II The Rahway Valley Railroad
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 8: 00 P. M.
Retelecast of the Jan. 13th Council Meeting
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 9: 00 P. M.
COPTV Home Security
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 request form to the Fanwood Community Foundation for funding for programs that will improve quality of life in the borough.
The foundation, which holds quarterly meetings, is scheduled to meet next at the end of this month. At that time, members are expected to touch base on matters ranging from community feedback and support to exchanging ideas on where funding may go in the future, along with other official business.
“A primary goal of our organization is to accrue longterm endowment, which we hope will accumulate into millions, over the next 30 to 40 years,” said Mr. Kraus.
Members of the group and citizens of Fanwood provided the organization’s seed money. “The three largest endowments, which equaled $13,000, came in 1999,” explained Mr. Kraus.
According to the Board of Trustees, if major support continues to be received by the Fanwood Community Foundation, it may one day be on equal footing with such longestablished philanthropic organizations as the Westfield Foundation.
For more information on the Fanwood Community Foundation and how to become a donor, please call (908) 3226200 or send an email to fanwoodcomfdt@ yahoo. com.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association.
“We engage the critical thinking skills of the children through relevant themes in our essay contest and we revive Dr. King’s message of hope, love and peace through the march and the religious service,” Mr. Carr stated.
The theme of the contest this year, entitled “The Future of Race Relations in the New Millennium,” had Westfield school students tackle these thoughtprovoking questions: Do you feel there has been real progress made in race relations? What more needs
to be done? What would you do to improve race relations?
“The theme is different each year, but it is always geared towards motivating the students to dig deeper into history as well as into their own thought processes,” Mr. Carr stated.
The essay contest this year is divided into categories: high school, intermediate schools and elementary school. Roosevelt Intermediate School and Edison Intermediate School entries are being judged separately and winners will be chosen from each of the schools.
First, second and third place prizes will be awarded for each category. First place winners for each category will read their essays at this year’s commemorative service.
The grand prize for the firstplace high school winner will be a laptop computer with a color printer, while the other winners will receive U. S. Savings Bonds, ranging from $200 to $50.
The Association raises money for the prizes through a communitywide letter drive. A collection is also taken up during each year’s commemorative service.
The essays are judged by local community leaders, business people, teachers and parents.
Since Westfield Superintendent of Schools Dr. William J. Foley has become a member of the Association, participation in the essay contest and the march has more than tripled, Mr. Carr stated. “We have received an unprecedented number of essays this year; in the area of 900 participants,” Mr. Carr observed.
The other events planned for Monday, January 17, by the Association in honor of Dr. King’s birthday will begin with a march at noon, starting at Bethel Baptist Church at 539 Trinity Place. The march will conclude at The Presbyterian Church of Westfield at 140 Mountain Avenue.
Beginning at 1 p. m., following the march, a special commemorative service will feature guest speaker, Reverend Laverne LattimoreBall at The Presbyterian Church.
The march and the service are free and the Association extends an invitation to everyone from Westfield and surrounding communities to attend.
Reverend LattimoreBall has been the pastor of the Rose of Sharon Community Church in Plainfield since 1991. Pastor Ball has also been active in the community as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee of Plainfield for two years. She is also the first woman President of the Concerned Urban Clergy, a board member of the Plainfield Interfaith Neighborhood Council Housing program, a member of the Plainfield chapter of the Red Cross and the Interfaith Counsel Outreach program.
Two new events this year are the inclusion of 40 intermediate school students who have committed to marching in the procession with Dr. Foley.
After the march, the middle school students will meet at The Presbyterian Church for a discussion on accepting and understanding racial diversity, led by Student Assistant Counselor Marie Koch. Refreshments will be served while the students discuss ways to improve and understand race relations.
“Dr. King was a universal person; his ideas transcended race,” Mr. Carr reflected. Mr. Carr quoted the late Dr. King, as having said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
In addition to the traditional Martin Luther King Day march and observation in Westfield, the Westfield Community Center is sponsoring its annual pancake breakfast on January 17 from 8: 3010: 30 a. m. The center is located at 558 West Broad Street.
A donation of $5 for adults and $4 for children/ senior citizens is suggested.
Most schools and municipal government offices also will be closed for the January 17 holiday.
Martin Luther King Jr. Observances Scheduled
Mitchell said that if the borough waits on some of the lighting work, the cost may increase.
Council members last week expressed surprise at the revelation that the Faigon bid did not include lighting for the pocket park currently being developed on the opposite side of Watson Road from the Borough Hall complex.
Mrs. McGovern said lighting fixtures for the pocket park could not be included in a bid package at the present time because the borough had not yet received $100,000 of the grant money for which it was approved last year.
Mayor Jung told The Times that a second company had indicated it would have bid on the project but that because of the December holidays, the firm did not have sufficient time to submit its proposal.
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money when it comes to the township’s various litigations, Mr. Marks said, because Mr. Baron has already done much of the work on these issues and hiring outside lawyers would mean having to take time, and pay a good deal of money, to get them fully prepared and briefed.
In other matters, the council voted to appropriate a $200,000 grant from the State Department of Transportation to be used for improvements to a section of Glenside Avenue.
Councilwoman Geri M. Samuel said the Cultural Arts Committee’s annual art auction will be held at Scotch Hills Country Club on Friday, February 25.
Councilman William F. McClintock, noting the Township Library will be marking its 200th anniversary throughout the year, said the year’s celebrations will be kicked off with an open house on Sunday, January 23, from 2 to 5 p. m.
He also announced that the Recreation Commission has reelected Ed Zazaly as its chairman and Bill Degnan as vice chairman. Mayor Marks, Mr. McClintock and Mrs. Samuel were in Trenton on Tuesday to witness Senator Donald DiFrancesco (RScotch Plains) being sworn in for an unprecedented fifth term as Senate President.
At the start of its meeting, a few dozen members of the Park Middle School choir performed a song for the council. The group is fresh from its holiday performances in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden in New York City, something it has participated in since 1995.
Certificates of appreciation were presented to all members of the choir as well as to eightyearold Jimmy Walsh, who was recognized for playing the role of the young Scrooge in the play.
The council also passed resolutions honoring Tom Paterson for his years of service to the Scotch PlainsFanwood Youth Baseball Association and Edward A. Gottko, upon his retirement as Town Administrator in Westfield.
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Scotch Plains Council July
The board did not meet in July 1999.
Administrators reviewed the teacher workshops conducted during the summer months. It was reported that 51 teams of regular education and special education teachers were in place at the middle school. A pilot team teaching program was planned for the elementary level at McGinn School, beginning in September.
Director of Pupil Services Eleanor Henry explained the need for greater collaboration among special and regular education teachers as special education students spend more of their time in the regular classroom under new special education directives.
The issue of students’ proficiency assessment was revisited. Questioning how proficiency standards established for each grade level were actually measured, Fanwood resident Debbie Grafox suggested assessable, minimum requirements be established.
Dr. Choye blanched at the possibility of minimum requirements becoming “the standard” for all students. However, both she and SPFEA President Edward Leonard agreed that grading systems had becoming increasingly gray areas through the years.
It was reported that Director of Information Services Don Williams was exploring ways in which the district can better use the data it collects on student performance.
The board hired The Thomas Group of Princeton (at a cost not to exceed $14,700) to conduct a study of the capacity of district facilities to handle the growing student population and to evaluate areas such as the buildings’ health and safety code issues, along with renovation and maintenance needs.
While The Thomas Group was free to come up with its own recommendations, the board asked the consultants to consider the feasibility and costs associated with three specific options: 1. move administrative offices out of Evergreen Elementary School; 2. reconfigure district grade levels to kindergarten through fourth grade; fifth through eighth; and ninth through twelfth; and 3. add onto Brunner Elementary School.
Schools opened smoothly on September 8, the biggest headache being busing problems. The district’s 40 new teachers completed a fiveday orientation program that emphasized the importance of new instructors’ taking advantage of their veteran colleagues’ experience.
“Don’t be shy. Ask for what you need,” stated Rita Selesner, a seventhgrade history teacher who was one of the orientation directors.
At the elementary level, the new school year saw a new reading/ language arts program in place for grades kindergarten through five; expanded music and art programs; and expansion of the reading recovery program from grades one and two.
At the middle schools, sixth graders also received a new reading/ language arts program. The world languages program was expanded to five days a week for seventh grade, and additional Internet labs were in place at both Terrill and Park.
Eighthgraders enjoyed the choice of four new elective courses: “Communication Through Debate;” “The Newspaper and Your World;” “The Unity and Diversity Among Living Things;” and “Web Page Design.”
The new English leveling program approved in June was in place, and extracurricular programs were expanded to include additional basketball and soccer teams at both middle schools.
The high school welcomed new teachers in Spanish and special education along with a new Internet access lab, new fitness room equipment and a sophomore football team. An Advanced Placement History course was also introduced.
Both the middle and high schools introduced voluntary afterschool preparatory courses for the GEPA and HSPA standardized tests, respectively.
Another option was presented to address the facilities and enrollment problem: reconfigure district elementary schools to kindergarten through sixth grade and convert Terrill to a sixth elementary school. House all seventh and eighthgrade students at Park. SPFHS would remain a ninth through twelfthgrade program.
In conjunction with the ongoing facilities’ discussion, the board voted to conduct a community survey to gather information from Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents on issues and concerns related to enrollment and the costs associated with upgrading present facilities.
The board hired Patricia Morris Associates of Clark to write, issue and tally the results of the survey at a cost of $10,000.
Board members also recognized 24 newlytenured teachers and two newlytenured administrators.
For itself, the board created a set of
Varied Tasks Handled by School Bd. in 1999; Dealing With Burgeoning Enrollment Top Issue
Guidelines for Decision Making on the use and/ or expansion of district facilities that address the following: the need for longterm solutions to enrollment growth; equity in delivery of program; maintenance of racial balance; maintenance of academic class sizes; allowing room for improvements; appropriate accommodations for special needs students; flexibility to meet unforeseen needs; and the tax impact on residents.
Under the timeline proposed by Dr. Choye, a bond referendum would be put to public vote in October 2000.
Dr. Choye revealed her own set of assumptions in considering what recommendations to make regarding facilities. First among these, she said, is “maintaining and enhancing teaching and learning in our schools PreK through grade 12 for all our students, with careful consideration of the financial impact on taxpayers.”
Other assumptions were: a grade nine through 12 configuration is best for high school; all available classroom space is being utilized; additional classroom needs from here on will necessitate art and/ or music being delivered from portable carts; September 2002 is the earliest possible date for construction completion; the need to consider a fullday kindergarten program; and the importance of one solution that would meet the district’s facilities needs for five years.
Monthly communications meetings were launched between the board and representatives of the SPFEA to facilitate better communications outside of contract negotiations.
Board members also revised the policy regarding public comments during the monthly agenda meeting to allow for comments immediately following the Board Priority Items section of the agenda.
Discussions this month were dominated by the proposal to introduce World Languages at the elementary level. With state testing scheduled to begin in September 2000 in fourth grade, the district felt pressured to prepare students for assessment of their spoken foreign language proficiency.
The proposal from World Languages Supervisor Helga Thomas called for French, German, Italian and Spanish to be offered at the elementary level — one language per school. Spanish would be offered at two schools. During the course of the discussions, it appeared the program would be launched in second grade, rather than third as originally proposed.
Defending her proposal in the face of opposition to assigning different languages to different schools, Mrs. Thomas explained it would be easier to hire a variety of foreign language teachers, rather than specialists in one language; and it would retain the integrity of the fourlanguage program at SPFHS. She acknowledged there was no other district in the state offering a program of this nature.
In other business, Dr. Crews introduced the concept of an Intermediate Program for Grades Five and Six that would increase instructional time for the core content areas of language arts, reading, social studies, world language, math, science, fine arts, and physical education using block scheduling.
It also called for increased opportunities for an “Enriched and Extended Curricular Experience for all Learners (EXCEL).” The idea espoused students’ autonomous learning opportunities and the full inclusion of academically talented, atrisk and special education in the instructional day.
Dr. Crews acknowledged the program’s success demands a “technologyrich environment” and some renegotiation of the board’s contract with the teachers’ union.
Forty parents and educators attended the November 9 board meeting that featured the muchanticipated report from The Thomas Group on Scotch PlainsFanwood school facilities.
The Thomas Group study was divided into two parts: 1. a facilities evaluation which assessed individual school’s plumbing, electrical, mechanical and technological capabilities, along with existing conditions, code requirements, health and safety issues, energy conservation, and compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. If all work were done as recommended, The Thomas Group attached a price tag of $53 million. 2. a building capacity analysis, which outlined six options to managing increased enrollment. The analysis used the state guidelines for number of students per classroom, which are considerably lower than those traditionally followed by the district.
The six options range in cost from $9,553,000 to move fifth grade into the middle school to $18,819,000 to construct a new kindergarten through grade five elementary school. Each of the six options recommends renovating the media centers at Brunner, Coles and McGinn Elementary Schools to provide permanent classroom walls and corridors.
The costs to build a new school do not consider land availability or the costs associated with land acquisition. Approximately 1012 acres would be needed on which to build.
In other business, Director of Information Services Don Williams presented a report on the state’s standardized testing program. The fourthgrade ESPA and the eighthgrade GEPA are designed to measure students’ progress in the state’s Core Curriculum Content Standards adopted by the State Board of Education in 1996.
The ESPA assesses students’ critical and analytical thinking skills and their ability to interpret, speculate and make inferences when reading and writing — cognitive skills valued in the workplace, according to Mr. Williams.
The GEPA measures students’ knowledge in math and language arts. In both tests, students are graded as partially proficient, proficient and advanced proficient.
While students, overall, outperformed their peers statewide, the ESPA results showed approximately 30 percent of the district’s fourth graders scoring partially proficient in language arts, while only three percent of eighth graders measured partially proficient in that subject area.
Approximately eight percent of both fourth and eighthgrade students measured partially proficient in mathematics.
At SPFHS, scores for the High School Proficiency Test (HSPT) reflected a 7.8 percent failure rate for language arts, a 3.7 failure rate for writing skills and a 6 percent failure rate for mathematics. Students who failed are currently enrolled in special classes to address their learning deficiencies. Statewide ratios for the HSPT were not available.
While some board members and parents questioned the validity of the tests themselves, most concurred that better diagnostic information is required from the state before the district can use test results, if necessary, to strengthen its academic program.
Discussion continued on the elementary World Languages program as board members wrestled with how to introduce another subject at the elementary level without detracting from the existing curricula. Ideas discussed were curriculum mapping, which would streamline other sub
By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times Editor’s Note: The following article is the continuation of a wrapup on the Scotch PlainsFanwood Board of Education which ran last week.
jects or scheduling foreign language instruction after school.
Language Supervisor Helga Thomas maintained that language must be taught 30 minutes per day for students to achieve maximum proficiency.
Discussions on the World Language program for elementary students was tabled until January when the state announced it would delay testing of fourthgraders’ foreign language proficiency for another year until 20012002.
The board acknowledged the efforts of ParentTeacher Associations across the district who worked to wire individual elementary schools buildings for Internet access.
It was announced that the district had already exceeded this year’s $2 million tuition budget for outofdistrict placements of students with special needs, leaving administrators concerned as to where the funding for future tuition expenditures would come from.
Results of the community survey regarding facilities’ usage in the district showed most respondents supporting the concept of a kindergarten through grade six elementary school configuration as a means of accommodating the district’s growing student enrollment.
The survey was mailed in late October 1999 to approximately 12,500 residents and nonresident staff members. Ten percent of the surveys delivered were returned for tabulation, which is considered a good response.
A recommendation from Dr. Choye is expected during the January 13 agenda meeting.
At the final board meeting for 1999, the superintendent outlined the January and February 2000 meeting schedule that will allow the administration to present the superintendent’s recommendation directly to staff members and parents at the elementary and middle schools.
Presentations will focus on how the different alternatives will impact individual schools.
It was reported that the district was wellprepared to make the transition to the year 2000 with emphasis being placed on security and safety systems at every building.
SCOTCH PLAINS POLICE BLOTTER
FANWOOD POLICE BLOTTER MONDAY, JANUARY 3
· The theft of a watch and a small amount of cash was reported from a back pack in a gym locker room area at Scotch PlainsFanwood High School.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 4
· A Parkview Drive resident reported the theft of approximately $3,000 worth of tools from a van.
· Paulette Clay, 42, of Bayonne was arrested on a warrant out of Jersey City in connection with a motor vehicle stop on Park Avenue. Clay was released after posting the $1,000 bail.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 5
· A Park Avenue antique shop reported the theft of an antique platter and figure valued at $1,100.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 6
· A 17yearold student at Scotch PlainsFanwood High School was apprehended by school authorities while being in possession of items that were reportedly taken from another student’s gym bag earlier in the morning. The student was turned over to a guardian. Police report that complaints are pending in the case.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 8
· The theft of a briefcase from a locked vehicle at a Second Street business was reported. Police said entry was gained by smashing out a side window.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 1
· A convenience store on Martine Avenue reported the theft of bundles of newspapers valued at $90.
MONDAY, JANUARY 3
· Police reported that a window on a Robin Road home was sprayed with paint, possibly from a paint ball gun.
· Susan Kling, 44, of North Plainfield was charged with driving while intoxicated following a motor vehicle stop on South Avenue, authorities said. She was released on her own recognizance.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 6
· A Martine Avenue convenience store reported the theft of bundles of newspapers valued at $60.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 8
· Marco DaRosaRamos, 33, of Clark was charged with driving while intoxicated following a motor vehicle stop on Terrill Road, according to police. He was released on his own recognizance.
· An individual reported that her purse was lost or stolen at a South Avenue eatery.
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Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)