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Concepts &Thought School Board Election Coverage
BOE Candidate Anne Riegel Is Advocate for Technology TECHNOLOGY AT WORK… Westfield Board of Education candidate
Anne L. Riegel, who is seeking a threeyear term as an incumbent, and Kareem Thompson, a fifth grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, put technology to work. Mrs. Riegel examines an IMac computer, one of five computers provided for Mr. Thompson’s classroom by the school district. Similar computers for the third grades are included in the proposed 20002001 budget.
WESTFIELD – Anne L. Riegel, candidate for the Westfield Board of Education, has stated that she is “a strong advocate for technology” in the school system.
Mrs. Riegel noted that since her appointment to the board last summer, she has helped move the district’s technology initiatives forward.
As a member of the board’s Finance Committee, Mrs. Riegel stressed that “the proposed 20002001 budget takes a big step toward meeting the district’s technology plans.”
The candidate added that she is “excited that the budget provides computers for students at all age levels.”
According to Mrs. Riegel, the budget includes plans to upgrade the math lab at Westfield High School with 28 new computers, replacing computers that are almost seven years old. In addition, the spending plan calls for 54 new computers for the language arts labs at Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools, replacing outdated machines.
The candidate also cited the receipt of five new computer workstations, for a total of 115 computers, which would be placed in third grade classrooms, if the budget is passed in April.
Mrs. Riegel noted that the budget would also provide high school teachers with laptop computers, facilitating communication with students, parents and colleagues. Establishing Web sites for teachers to list assignments and class information, as well as facilitating administrative tasks such as grading and attendance would also be a possi
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Kimberly Rhodes Addresses Enrollment Growth at WHS
WESTFIELD -“The Westfield Board of Education and the community at large will soon be faced with some difficult choices regarding growing high school enrollment,” said Westfield Board of Education candidate, Kimberly Rhodes.
Her comments came in the wake of a recent board meeting where several board members hinted about a potential bond referendum to handle the large numbers of students expected to enter the high school in the next few years.
Ms. Rhodes cited that in 1998, residents overwhelmingly approved a school bond that made it possible for the district to address its enrollment needs at the elementary schools.
The candidate stated, “However, when today’s second graders enter the ninth grade, there will be over 1,800 students at Westfield High School. That’s almost 500 more than now. The actual number could even
be greater, since the projection assumes no increase of students as a result of families moving into
Westfield. History has shown otherwise.”
“This leads to the question do we have adequate facilities at the high school in order to maintain our excellence in education as enrollment increases?” asked Ms. Rhodes. “I have spoken with many people about this issue, and all feel that they benefit from living in a town with such an outstanding high school.”
“While most agree that we need to address enrollment at the high school, some believe that the school should have no trouble accommodating the additional students, since it has housed up to 2,100 students,” revealed Ms. Rhodes.
Kimberly Rhodes Michael J. Kessler Runs
For OneYr. Seat on BOE
WESTFIELD — Current Westfield Board of Education member, Michael J. Kessler, has announced that he will be on the ballot for the current oneyear seat available on the school board on Election Day, Tuesday, April 18.
Though unopposed for this unexpired term, Mr. Kessler has stated his desire to continue his service to the children and taxpayers of Westfield stating, “When first elected to this board three years ago, my wish was to continue my service to the children of this school district. Having served in a variety of positions on the McKinley Elementary School PTO, I felt I could bring this experience to the board. I would ask for your support as we continue to work for the betterment of this school system as it faces challenges in the areas of increasing enrollment, continuing technology demands and budget concerns.”
During his time as a current board member Mr. Kessler has served on several board committees. These committees have included Policy, Curriculum, Instruction and Programming, Facilities and Finance. He has also been a member of the board’s Teachers’ Negotiation Team and the Secretaries’ and Custodians’ Board of Education negotiation teams.
Mr. Kessler has served as the board’s liaison to the Washington Elementary School PTA and the town’s Recreation Commission for three years.
Mr. Kessler stated, “I have found that this Board of Education works well together focusing on the important issues putting aside any personal agendas. In this last budget develop ment process we were faced with
many difficult decisions having to choose between increasing the budget to provide a better educational environment and maintaining a conservative budget.”
The candidate added, “During two public meetings, the board and the Superintendent Dr. Foley worked to
reach a consensus on a firm bottom line. This budget will be presented to the public on March 28. The public is always welcome and encouraged to attend these meetings or view them on Channel 36.”
“I maintain,” Mr. Kessler continued, “that the board and administration make every effort to reach out and communicate with the entire Westfield population, not just the school community. Every Board of Education meeting has been televised for the past three years, we mail out approximately 250 copies of the ‘Synopsis’ after every board meeting and also post this information on the Web.”
He added, “There are also a mailing of the school district’s Annual Report and coverage by several newspapers.”
“My goals for next year are to take a closer look at our budget and participate in the continuing effort to monitor and maintain our older facilities and see through the development of projects we have started or are about to begin. I look forward to receiving your vote on Election Day and will take all votes as a sign of confidence that you believe the Board of Education is addressing the needs of every student in Westfield mindful of our taxpayers.”
Mountainside PTA Schedules School Bd. Election Forum
MOUNTAINSIDE – The Mountainside Parent Teacher Association (PTA) will sponsor a School Board Election Forum on Tuesday, April 4, from 7: 30 to 9 p. m. at the Deerfield School cafeteria.
The forum will feature presentations by all school board candidates. Moderated by the Reverend Chris Belden of the Mountainside Presbyterian Church, the forum will later be televised on Mountainside’s TV35.
Invited candidates include one incumbent, Frank Geiger; Pat
Knodel; and one known writein candidate MaryBeth Schaumberg. Any other interested writein candidates should contact Jeri Greenberg at (908) 6545474 by Friday, March 24, for inclusion in the forum.
All Mountainside residents are encouraged to attend and meet the candidates who will be vying for two seats on the board. Information will also be available concerning the school budget which is up for approval.
LENDING A HELPING HAND... For the second year, Westfield High School (WHS) Teacher D. Thomas Hornish, far right, has enlisted the help of The Westfield Leader as his students prepare for the annual Fed Challenge at the Federal Reserve in New York City. Candidate for Westfield Board of Education Peter W. Billson, standing in center, spent Saturday, March 18, lending his technical assistance to, seated left to right, Hi’s Eye TriEditor Julia Gates, Maren Priestly and Richard Rowe as they created a mock newspaper for the project. Also working Saturday morning, but not pictured, were WHS students Katharine Bloeser and Pete Wilson. Westfield BOE Candidate
Carol Molnar Stresses Importance of Moral Compass
WESTFIELD – B. Carol Molnar, who is seeking reelection to the Westfield Board of Education, stated that she believes that greater emphasis should be placed on building students’ character.
The incumbent candidate noted that members of the Concerned African American Parents stated, “There seems to be more and more contempt for human life bred from an ignorance of certain values like fairness and justice, respect and courtesy, honesty and integrity.”
Ms. Molnar said that it seems the moral climate in the United States is deteriorating and, therefore, our children lack a strong moral compass. However, she noted, to offset this deterioration, character building based on a positive set of values can occur in the educational environment.
Ms. Molnar said she believes “to receive a good understanding of basic values, students need to see great examples in all aspects of school life. Schools can become good mod els of virtue and character by teaching
students to develop selfdiscipline, for example.” The candidate continued, “Schools have to pay attention to the mundane realities of the daily life in a school. It is in these realities that students
learn values, morals, ethics, and character. It is the school’s ‘hidden curriculum’ which teaches character, either good or bad.”
“Therefore, as a corollary to this concept, a school should raise its expectations of student behavior at student functions, assemblies, choral concerts, and student council candidate presentations. Schools should clearly articulate what behavior is acceptable as well as what will note be tolerated,” Ms. Molnar said.
In concluding, the candidate revealed, “I will continue seeking ways to ensure that values are stressed in our school system and I appreciate the community’s support of my reelection on April 18.”
bility, according to the candidate. Mrs. Riegel noted that she agrees with the conclusion of the Parent Teacher Council’s recent study that “putting technology in the hands of teachers” is key to expanding computer usage at the high school.
Candidate Peter Billson Urges Active Community Input
WESTFIELD — With less than one month remaining until the School Board Elections Peter W. Billson, candidate for Westfield Board of Education, is working to involve the entire community in the Westfield school system.
“We all know that the parents of our community care deeply about our schools,” said Mr. Billson, “And I already knew that my friends and family would all pitch in to help but I am overwhelmed by the number of complete strangers that have volunteered their time to help me in my
campaign.” He continued, “These people have been searching for a way to become involved and to help our children. All they needed was someone to ask.”
Mr. Billson, who is campaigning for the chance to use his leadership and communication skills to improve our schools, said, “I have been told by people familiar with the current system that the people in our community are too busy to become involved with our schools. I can tell you from my experience that this simply isn’t true.”
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