A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood Thursday, April 2, 1998 Page 7
Sealfon's 3x 10 1/ 2
Vo- Tech 3x 6 1/ 2 Woodplay
3x4 American Perf
2x4 Freeholders OK Ordinance
To Fund Voter Machines By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted an ordinance last Thursday which authorizes the county, through a bond ordinance, to acquire electronic voting machines and an electronic recording system.
The ordinance paves the way for the county to take advantage of its triple "Aaa" rating by appropriating the sum of $2,850,000 to pay the cost of, and make a down payment for, the equipment.
County Manager Michael J. Lapolla explained that the county has a commitment from the vendor of the equipment to go out and train Board of Election workers and, later on, senior citizens.
The machines, which are barrierfree, are currently in use in Ocean County, which has a large senior population. The new voting machines are expected to be in place for the school board elections in 1999.
Freeholder Linda d. Stender said she supports the acquisition due to the fact the machines will now "make
the ability to vote barrier- free," and noted that the current, aging machines are not accessible to persons with disabilities.
Freeholder Lewis Mingo said an additional benefit will provide voting information in the voting machines in Spanish so that the county's Hispanic population would be better informed during the voting process, thus increasing the number of voters.
Freeholder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan called the Freeholders' action a "a worthwhile endeavor." He said the current machines "are well beyond their years."
The current machines weigh about 900 pounds, compared to the new electronic equipment which weighs about 200 pounds per machine.
Freeholder Sullivan said the electronic tallies will now enable election results to be released within an hour of the time election polls close.
"I just think it's a move to bring us up to speed here in the county and we are going to accomplish that, and I'm sure we are going to roll them out in the proper manner and have them be effective here in the county," he explained.
In other business, the board introduced an ordinance which will limit Freeholder appointments to various boards to a specific date when they are to expire.
Freeholder Vice Chairman Nicholas P. Scutari, Chairman of the Policies Committee, said the committee felt that appointments should expire and not simply "roll- over."
The board appointed John Swindlehurst of Fanwood as a member of the Union County Environmental Health Advisory Board for a term commencing immediately and terminating on December 31, 1999.
It was announced that the county will hold a "Recall Round- Up Day" on Thursday, April 16. Director of Public Safety Harold Gibson described the program as an "effort by our consumer affairs agency to go around and collect items that were recalled by their manufacturers that have slipped through the cracks and got into people's homes and garages and other places that could pose a danger to those individuals and their families."
Among the items are cribs, small baby seats, etc.
Freeholder Donald Goncalves, Chairman of the board's Economic Committee, noted that Congress has submitted a transportation appropriation bill which, if approved into law, would provide some $30 million for Union County's light rail project.
A Task Force was created through the efforts of county officials to lobby the initiative on behalf of the county.
By MARK J. YABLONSKY
Specially Written for The Leader and The Times
Dr. Gerard A. Schaller is indeed a busy man these days. As the Mountainside school district's first Chief School Administrator, he is essentially doing the job of both the superintendent of schools and principal of Deerfield School on Central Avenue
In between these dual roles, he also took time to speak briefly with
The Westfield Leader last Friday concerning the district's proposed 1998- 1999 budget.
Passed unanimously by the Board of Education on March 24, the $8,696,740 package is an increase of $268,505 over the current 1997- 1998 tab of $8,428,235. It now goes to the public, which will either approve or reject it on Tuesday, April 21.
"I feel very positive about it," said Dr. Schaller, who began his first full day of work in his new position on November 10, 1997. "I think we've addressed not only the educational needs, but the facilities as well.
"And we have developed a strategic plan, which tells us where we are, and where we want to be in the upcoming years."
Dr. Schaller, the former Assistant Schools Superintendent for the West Windsor- Plainsboro Regional school district, explained most of the increase will go toward instruction. That's because, Dr. Schaller discussed further, the district is adding another class for both the first and second grades, which means at least one new full- time teacher will be needed come September.
Also, the district wants to hire part- time instructors for both computer resources and learning disabilities; officially, the district refers to these teachers as "50 percent" positions.
Other money is targeted toward the revamping of the Deerfield athletic field, which would include drainage, fencing and walkway improvements; also, some renovation work, including a plan to "skin" the infield, is listed.
Board of Education Vice- President Sally Rivieccio, one of three incumbents who is unchallenged in her bid for reelection, has mentioned that post- Union County Regional High School control has opened an "exciting" time and opportunity for Mountainside.
Dr. Schaller concurred, noting that under terms worked out when the old regional district was in the process of disbanding late last spring,
School Administrator Reflects Upon Budget
Mountainside pays only $12,500 to Governor Livingston High School of Berkeley Heights, the location district students now attend.
Years earlier, most Mountainside students had attended the thenJonathan Dayton Regional High School in Springfield, another of the four schools that now is financed by a local school board.
Sometime during the 1998- 1999 school year, Dr. Schaller said, a new contract will be worked out with the Berkeley Heights school board for Mountainside's high school tuition costs.
The total increase of the new district budget is itself "within cap," or no more than 3 percent higher than last year's spending plan, the administrator noted.
"( We want) to be as cost effective as you possibly can be," Dr. Schaller stated. "But I think if you're open to the public, then hopefully you will experience success and get the budget passed. I'm a firm believer that the benefits outweigh the costs. And I'll fight for it if I have to."
Dr. Schaller also expanded further on his district's new "strategic plan," which is better known as a five- year cycle.
Usually begun before the previous five- year plan has concluded, strategic plans are essentially designed to be cyclical in nature, in case any adjustments arise along the way.
Indeed, much like a defensive coordinator in football who must often make adjustments to contain an opposing offense's top player, a school district must also be self- analytical in order to make adjustments by the third or fourth year of a strategic plan, Dr. Schaller agreed.
As of last week, Mountainside's student enrollment figure was at 568, slightly up from the start of school back in September, the chief administrator noted. If that figure were not to change before September of this year, then Mountainside's new cost- per- pupil sum would be $15,311.61.
Based on the current enrollment figure that usually changes several times throughout any school year, the previous cost- per- pupil amount was $14,838.44.
That, district officials agree, is largely because Mountainside remains a relatively small district; the Deerfield School, which has had two additions built since the oldest wing's 1950 opening, remains the district's lone operating public school, as it has for many years.
Central Jersey Moms Invited to Learn About
Local Support Group
Central New Jersey moms are invited to learn about the Mothers' Center, a support group for mothers of children of all ages, at an Open House on Wednesday, April 1, from 9: 30 to 11 a. m. at the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, located on Watchung Avenue and East Seventh Street in Plainfield.
Children are welcome to attend and play while their mothers relax, meet Mothers' Center members, and learn about the group's upcoming activities. Interested mothers should call (908) 561- 1751 for more information.
Among the group's upcoming activities is "Women's Forum," a discussion group for new Mothers' Center members, which will begin on Sunday, April 8. A self- defense course will be offered to members and non- members of the Mothers' Center.
Other weekday morning groups beginning in the spring include "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families," "Raising a Compassionate Child in a Violent Worlds" (based on the book by the same name), "Closet Full of Clothes (and Nothing to Wear?)," and groups on photography, scrapbooking and friendship.
The Mothers' Center welcomes new members at any time. Anyone who is interested but unable to attend the Open House should call (908) 561- 1751 for membership information.
Matthew Widdows Honored As Scholarship Candidate
David B. Corbin for The Westfield Leader and The Times
THIRD GENERATION EAGLE SCOUT… George Gross, second from left and co- chairman of the West Fields Chapter's Court of Honor Committee, presents Eagle Scout Matthew Widdows a special certificate and a medal for being the chapter's nominee for a college scholarship. Widdows won the state competition and will represent New Jersey in the national competition. Matthew's grandfather Donald Widdows, right, and father Philip, left, have also been Eagle Scouts.
It was a "three- generation celebration" in the Widdows family March 25, as grandfather Donald, father Philip and other relatives watched grandson Matthew, an Eagle Scout with Troop No. 75 in Cranford, take the first step on the road to a $5,000 college scholarship offered annually by the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (S. A. R.)
The occasion, the annual meeting of the West Fields Chapter of the S. A. R., was held at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield, and it gave the local organization the opportunity to recognize Matthew as having been their nominee to the state competition.
George Gross, Co- Chairman of the chapter's Court of Honor Committee, presented Matthew with a special cer tificate and medal. He also announced
that the young man was the winner at the state level and would represent New Jersey in the national competition.
Mr. Gross said Matthew's Eagle Scout Service Project involved promoting organ donor awareness and the need for advanced planning for the distribution of those organs, and that he made presentations on Channel 9 and cable Channel 35.
Matthew Widdows will be recognized again on Saturday, April 18, at the New Jersey Society's annual meeting in Jamesburg.
His grandfather is a long- time member of S. A. R and a Past President of the local chapter. Matthew's father is Assistant Scout Master with Troop No. 75.