Committee Urges Partnerships To Achieve Education Goals PARTNERSHIPS WITH SCHOOLS ENCOURAGED… Westfield Public
Schools’ Action Plan Committee recently recommended effective family, community, business and school partnerships as part of the district’s Strategic Plan, and received recognition from Superintendent of Schools Dr. William J. Foley and the Board of Education for its efforts. Committee members who attended the endoftheschoolyear “thank you” reception sponsored by the Westfield school board included, pictured left to right: Tom Hornish, Barbara Ball, Tom Morabito, Linda Maggio, Kim Rhodes, Karrie Hanson, and Liz Wolff.
Editor’s Note: The following is the sixth of a sevenpart series outlining the initiatives of the committees which worked on the Strategic Plan for the Westfield Public Schools District.
* * * * * Increased involvement in the Westfield public schools by family, community and business sectors will help promote student learning and citizenship, according to a recent report submitted by one of the district’s Action Plan Committees.
The report was compiled by more than 20 volunteers who met for several months to examine the potential of increased participation by the community in the Westfield public school system.
Led by Chairwoman Barbara Ball, who is also the district’s Language Arts Supervisor for grades 6 through 8, the committee made the following recommendations to the Board of Education for inclusion in the district’s Strategic Plan:
•Strengthen the teacher/ family partnership by providing email and/ or voice mail for all teachers.
•Implement team teaching across sixth and seventh grades in both middle
schools. •Increase teacher conferences to two times per year at the elementary schools.
•Provide formal seminars for families. •Develop a formal volunteer program. •Create a partnership with the Westfield Memorial Library. •Establish a formal outreach program for families not currently involved.
•Create and empower a new organization — Westfield InterCommunity Service Partnership (WISP) — to develop a workable method to match Westfield schools’ needs to resources all across the Westfield community.
Joined by Ms. Ball on the Action Plan Committee were: Kristina Bangs, Peter Birle, John Cioffi, Rick Coltrera, Horace Corbin, Joanne Ellis, June Gleason, Karrie Hanson, Tom Hornish, Judy Hutchinson, Linda Maggio, Thomas Morabito, Eugenia Pankow, Kimberly Rhodes, Robert Roth, Joanne Saladino, Dr. Theodore Schlosberg, Merv Turner, Margaret Walker, Ellen Waksman, and Elizabeth Wolf.
The committee members consisted of parents of school age and preschool children, teachers, administrators, and citizens, as well as representatives of business and community organizations.
Ms. Ball noted that all the committee members agreed to volunteer their services once again in the event a steering committee was formed to make “WISP” a reality.
“It’s no surprise, given Westfield’s handson commitment to superior education for our children, that so many committee members have volunteered to continue to help bring the committee’s ideas into reality,” remarked Ms. Ball.
“The involvement and commitment of the community reflects what makes Westfield extraordinary,” she added. “People worked together to find innovative ways to form partnerships between our schools and the corporate community, between teachers and parents.” are only asking that the JCC complex be
insulated from the adjoining properties by sufficient buffering and screening. That doesn’t mean the few short trees and fences already in place. It means enough foliage to make the building and camp ground invisible to the neighbors on all sides.
There has never been a question about the value such an organization offers the public at large. As we stated in our presentation, “The neighbors welcome the JCC to the neighborhood and applaud the services they will provide to the community.”
It is interesting to note that of the many JCC supporters who showed up at the last meeting, none live within viewing distance of the complex. We guess that means out of sight, out of mind.
We will be filing an appeal and exploring legal representation. The township officials must consider the property values and quality of life which the taxpaying homeowners deserve. The new slogan, “Enjoy the Home Towne Feeling,” is being displayed on banners around town. Let the Scotch Plains residents be warned: That hometown feeling may not be here for long.
Herb Gardener, for Concerned Scotch Plains
Residents Lou Thomas to Head
Campaign Committee Of Mountainside Dems
Michael Krasner and Steve Brociner, the Democrat candidates seeking election to the Mountainside Borough Council, have named Lou Thomas as Chairman of their campaign committee.
Mr. Krasner and Mr. Brociner urged eligible residents to vote in the Tuesday, November 3, General Elections.
“Mountainsiders’ views too often are neglected in decisions that affect their pocketbooks and the quality of community life,” stated Mr. Thomas.
The candidates and Mr. Thomas said they welcome comments from residents that will “highlight and clarify the local issues” which they feel is important. They said these issues will be part of the “vigorous campaign” they are planning this year.
Karen MacQueen is Treasurer of the Committee to Elect Michael Krasner and Steve Brociner. Joining them on the committee’s planning body are Phyllis Brociner and Scott Schmedel.
Scotch Plains Board of Adjustment
Is Criticized for ‘Caving In’ to JCC
Mr. Bagger’s Bill Would Make College Savings Tax Exempt
SUPPORTERS RECOGNIZED… First Ward Councilwoman Gail S. Vernick held a kickoff barbecue on August 2 for more than 50 volunteers who have committed to work on her mayoral election run in November.
Permanent Home Schools are Vital To Education of Autistic Students
I wish to thank (Westfield Leader and
Times reporter) Kimberly Broadwell for mentioning Jeanne Shanker’s and my comments in her report of the July 30 meeting of the Westfield Board of Education. However, an important clarifica
Letters to the Editor
tion is needed. Neither Mrs. Shanker nor I necessarily endorse McGinn over any other elementary school for the location of the autistic class. We are confident that any of the five elementary schools in the district would serve as excellent home schools.
We do, however, believe that it is critical that the class stop moving from one school to the next. This past year, it was at Coles Elementary School. Coles is overcrowded, so this class was selected to move.
It is now slated for McGinn, the secondmost crowded school, but there is no guarantee that it will remain there after this year.
We want whichever school the children attend this fall to be their home school of record, for the duration of their elementary education; just as all parents want and expect a home school for their children. Jean Kolterjahn and Kim O’Neill, the mothers of two more from this class, join us in our attempt to find a home school for the autistic class.
But we cannot receive a commitment from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol B. Choye nor from the board that these children, six in total, will have a home school.
The Facilities Task Force Commission has been given as one of its priorities the goal of disrupting as small a population as possible. Guess which class is one of, if not the smallest, populations.
I know five of the children, all of whom are highlevel PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder)/ autistic, and who share a difficulty in creating and
Calling taxes on education savings accounts an impediment to higher education, Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger recently introduced legislation, Assembly Bill No. 2367, that would exempt all education savings accounts from New Jersey state income taxes.
“In New Jersey, we created a program last year called NJBEST (New Jersey Better Education Savings Trust) in which funds can earn interest for qualified education expenses without being subject to the state income tax,” said Assemblyman Bagger, who serves as Chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“In other words, families and students can invest money taxfree to help pay for college education,” he continued.
“This year, we want to take that good idea and extend it to other college savings plans that are similar to NJBEST, but are not currently taxexempt in New Jersey,” stated Assemblyman Bagger, a Republican from Westfield.
“There are Federal education IRAs and individual qualified state tuition
program accounts which allow families and students to put money away for future college costs with no federal income tax liability,” he said. “It is an unfair burden on New Jersey families to impose state income taxes on these saving accounts,” he added.
Under Assemblyman Bagger’s bill, earnings in a qualified state tuition program or education individual retirement account would be exempt from New Jersey gross income tax, provided the proceeds are used to pay the costs of higher education.
While NJBEST proceeds are exempt from state taxation, Assemblyman Bagger’s bill would extend the exemption to qualified tuition plans in other states and Federal education IRAs.
Assemblyman Bagger said he hoped the tax break would encourage more people to start saving for college. “By providing this tax break, we will be giving more people an incentive to make room in their family budgets for college savings,” he remarked.
“Ultimately, our goal is to make sure that every New Jersey high school student can afford to go to college,” Assemblyman Bagger concluded.
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