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Special Holiday Hours
Starting December 7
Mon-Fri 9:45-8:30 • Saturday 9:45-5:00 Special Sundays Hours • Dec 6, 13 & 20th Noon until 5pm
Open Wednesdays now thru Dec 23rd
Consignment & Thrift Store Junior League of Elizabeth-Plainfield
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110 Walnut Ave. • Cranford • 276-0222 Daily 9:30-3:30 • Closed Wed. • Thurs. 7-9 p.m. • Sat. 10-3
Welcome the holiday season with some great bargains at The Jumble Store, an upscale consignment shop. We
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Enjoy refreshments and shop for everyone on your holiday list!
Proceeds Benefit JLEP Community Service Projects
state court system in our new Constitution. Several years ago, the state began paying the $350 million cost of running those courts, which had until then been paid for with property taxes.
Now it is time for a next step. The counties still pay for the prosecutors’ offices, a significant cost to local property taxpayers. Assemblyman Joseph Charles (Democrat from Hudson County) and I are sponsoring legislation that would have the state pay these bills, providing nearly $200 million in immediate property tax for local taxpayers.
We should also explore having the state pay for the costs of county programs that augment existing state services such as county offices of aging, consumer affairs and environmental commissions. Where these offices provide crucial ancillary services to state government, they should be kept and funded by the state. Where they are simply duplicative, they should be eliminated.
There is one final thing we must do. The Legislature should follow the suggestion of Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler and move to index the amount of state aid a municipality gets to the rate
of inflation. By doing this, we will prevent a municipality from being shortchanged in years where inflation is high and state aid is flat. The percentage of state aid would remain constant and municipalities and their property taxpayers would not be left in the lurch or be forced to make up for an inflation generated shortfall by raising property taxes.
New Jerseyans do not want to see their property tax dollars taken needlessly from their wallets to overpay for programs that can and should be paid for more efficiently by the state. We can — and must — reduce the duplication that exists among our many levels of government. Governor Whitman’s Property Tax Commission report offers some significant steps to do just that.
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Mr. Bagger is a member of the State Assembly, representing the 22nd Legislative District which covers Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood and Mountainside. A former mayor of Westfield, he serves as Chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Elimination of Duplicate Services Would Go Long Way to Control
New Jersey Property Taxes
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
Additional Classrooms is Strongest Argument in Favor of School Bond
After reading Robert Flast’s article in
The Westfield Leader, I was pleased to see that he not only supports two components of the proposed Westfield school bond — the funding necessary for capital improvements and technology infrastructure — but that he predicts voters will approve these aspects of the bond, as well.
He has probably visited the schools and has seen the leaking roofs, decaying bathrooms and broken windows. How, then, did he miss the overcrowded classrooms? It’s hard not to notice 27 children in one classroom, or the art supplies in the hallway or the photos of fresh new students entering the district each week.
I would contend that this third component of the bond — 16 additional classrooms — is by far the strongest argument in favor of this bond referendum.
The need for new classrooms at McKinley and Franklin Elementary Schools is both immediate and longlasting. One need not analyze statistical projections of future birth rates to see that Westfield children who have already been born will be in classrooms of 30-plus children for their entire elementary education unless we build additional classrooms now.
We cannot and will not tolerate class sizes of this magnitude. Do we want the quality of education in Westfield, and in turn our property values, to steadily decline over the next 10 to 15 years as we watch class sizes rise to those of urban areas?
We cannot take a piecemeal approach to our children’s education. Our school board has gone back to the drawing board, and has presented voters with a complete solution — capital improvements, tech
Letters to the Editor
nological infrastructure and new elementary classrooms.
All of us who reside in Westfield, those who currently have children in the public schools as well as those who have completed that phase of their lives, have an obligation to the children of our town. Regardless of our own personal involvement in the Westfield schools, we must stand as a united community and commit ourselves to providing the children with the quality education Westfield has been proud of for generations.
Please vote “yes” on the upcoming bond.
Lynne Pomerantz Westfield Bond Contains Three Components
All of Which Are Viable & Necessary
As a concerned parent and taxpayer in Westfield, I feel compelled to address Robert Flast’s article on the Westfield school bond referendum.
Mr. Flast, while your background and credentials are impressive, unfortunately, your position doesn’t accurately reflect the needs of the Westfield school district.
The proposed bond includes three components which are all viable and necessary to the health and prosperity of the entire Westfield community. It will provide much needed maintenance repairs on all building, ease the overcrowding situation with additional classrooms, and provide a comprehensive technology infrastructure for the entire district.
All of these components are fiscally responsible solutions for long-term problems. Specifically:
1. Our enrollments are soaring beyond anyone’s original projections. Last week, a report issued by Sara Weissman, a Westfield demographer and research consultant, stated that “enrollment is expected to grow at a more rapid rate in the next five years than it has in the last decade.” Furthermore, “290 high school seniors will graduate this year and 440 kindergartners will join Westfield schools in 19992000.”
We cannot ignore this enrollment problem. I am a strong believer that
smaller class size enhances learning opportunities. However, putting this aside, many classrooms in our older buildings cannot physically accommodate the increased enrollment.
Some of these classrooms are already stretched to capacity with 25 or more children.
This, coupled with computer equipment in each class, makes space even more confining.
Additionally, these classrooms will not be temporary fixes even if enrollment should decline. These classrooms can eventually be used for special education, art, music, computer labs lunch, full-day kindergarten, in-district pre-school, and small resource rooms.
And, they would put Westfield on par with many other districts in the state.
2. If Westfield High School is to maintain a top ranking in the state, they must stay competitive. Currently, we lag behind many districts in technology and need to “catch up” just to remain competitive. Failure to support the bond, will leave the district at an academic and technological disadvantage.
3. Our buildings are old and in need of roof and window repairs. Again, if we do not finance these needs through long-term financing, we will have to utilize funds from our operating budget. This will have direct negative impacts and consequences on the outstanding quality of our academic programs, as programs will have to be cut or scaled back to accommodate for the repair work.
The bottom line is Westfield needs to support this school bond as an entire community. It’s a fiscally sound proposal with the greatest tax increases of approximately $56 per year on an average assessed home value of $174,000.
Please vote “yes” on December 15 and show your pride in Westfield — the schools, the town, your children, your home...and our future.
Linda A. Héroux Westfield School-to-Work is Most Blatant State
Takeover Attempt of Our Schools Editor’s Note: Although the following is over the maximum length for letters-to-the-editor, we are publishing it in its entirety due to the importance of the subject matter.
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The State of New Jersey has decided on 14 career majors from which all 10th graders will choose. Then they will work one day per week during their junior and senior years instead of attending school or they won’t graduate.
Students will have “job shadowing days” out of class beginning in fifth grade. It’s called “School-to-Work” (STW) and it’s a national program that has taken a particularly noxious form in New Jersey.
Governor Christine Todd Whitman has received federal Goals 2000 money to establish this program. With this money, Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) have been setting up the infrastructure for this program all over the state since 1995. Some counties can only afford to offer five or seven of the 14 majors.
Our state Legislature will be voting on approving the code in November, 1999. Child Labor laws have already been amended in this state to accommodate the program. It’s already part of the state’s Core Curriculum Content Standards — the first 20 pages provide detail about “cross content readiness skills” — and they are not academic.
This program is mandatory for all students — no exceptions. Thomas Henry from the State of New Jersey made this clear at the Scotch Plains-Fanwood school board meeting on August 27 — a meeting at which the public was not allowed to ask questions.
Couldn’t happen in America you say? Think again! Read for yourself the proposed code on Internet at www.state.nj.us/njded/proposed/ toc.htm. Read the states’ content standards on www.state.nj.us/njded/cccs/ index.html. If a local district does not want to comply, state funds can be pulled from virtually any category.
For some reason, there has been a virtual media black-out on this subject in the larger papers. Many educators are under the impression that the pending legislation is a community service program — it is not.
Proponents of the program whisper that the opposition is small and rightwing — it is not. This program will completely restructure education in our state, changing the focus from academics to developing “human capital,” eliminating local control and forcing students to select a “major” from a very small pool of choices.
Carnegie Unit requirements for graduation will disappear in favor of passing the minimal-basic skills, the High School Proficiency test and fulfilling the work requirement. The logistics of implementation and oversight are extremely expensive, and will have to be borne by our local communities when the federal funds disappear after 2001. No wonder they’re being so sneaky about it!
I would like to thank the Westfield Public Schools for providing facilities
for an informational presentation on November 9. Thanks also to the Westfield High School Principal, Dr. Robert Petix, for speaking at the Clifton session of the State Board of Education Hearings on this subject.
Thanks also to the Scotch PlainsFanwood Public Schools for distributing flyers about the meeting through the schools. I encourage our administration to speak out on this important issue.
There has never before been such a blatant attempt for state takeover of the entire educational system. I haven’t yet met a proponent with children young enough to be affected by this draconian program.
It is vital to write your state legislators, the Governor, and the Chairmen of the Senate and Assembly Education Committees to voice your opposition. Another round of hearings will commence in January, so watch your newspapers for the announcements and register to testify.
You can also submit written comments on this program to the State of New Jersey, Office of Standards and Professional Development, 100 River View Plaza, P.O. Box 500, Trenton, NJ 08625.
Victoria C. Manduca Fanwood Officials Say Projections
Indicate Enrollment Hike Editor’s Note: The following was submitted by the Westfield Public Schools as information regarding the school district’s $11.7 million bond referendum.
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WESTFIELD According to a report received this month from Westfield demographer and research consultant Sara K. Weissman, the Westfield Public Schools are expected to grow at a more rapid rate in tile next five years than in the last decade.
The Westfield schools have grown by 737 student (17 percent) in the last decade and are projected to grow by 640 over the next five years.
The steeper rate of increase will be driven by kindergartens of over 400 replacing senior classes of around 300.
Ms. Weissman expects that the district will see a net gain of around 100 students a year, not including movement of new families into town. The New Jersey Center for Public Health Statistics reported, on November 4, that births in Westfield were 440, 403 and 431 in 1994, 1995 and 1996, respectively.
“This is contrary to the U.S. experience of declining births since 1990 and suggests that home re-sales are to younger families of child-bearing years,” stated Ms. Weissman.
On October 8, the Westfield Board of Education received a recommendation from a Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Capital Projects to build 16 additional elementary classrooms to accommodate the current student population.
“These new projections,” stated Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Foley, “further support the need
for more classrooms at the elementary level. The bond referendum proposed by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) which will be presented for public vote on December 15, will also give us the ability to make major capital improvements to our aging schools and to equip them with the technology infrastructure to enhance our curriculum and improve communication.”
Dr. Foley added that, “Ms. Weissman’s new projections reflect even greater numbers of students that I had forecasted and greater than the numbers originally considered by the CAC in developing the bond proposal.”
The current elementary school student board totals 2,650 in six schools. In 1979, a total of 2,272 students in Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade attended eight Westfield schools. In the 2003-2004 school year, Ms. Weissman projects the enrollment to increase to 2,745 elementary students.
Westfield Library Sets Holiday Family Night
WESTFIELD – The Westfield Memorial Library will hold its annual Holiday Family Night on Monday, December 21, from 7 to 8 p.m.
Children in kindergarten through grade 4 will celebrate the season by creating holiday decorations and listening to Christmas tales.
Youngsters in attendance must be accompanied by a parent or adult. Inperson registration begins on Monday, December 7. Participants must be Westfield Library members.
Famous Smoked Ham
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F FF FFor the Holida or the Holida or the Holida or the Holida or the Holiday yy yys Now! s Now! s Now! s Now! s Now!
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and for your Hanukkah Celebration
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• Prime Rib Roast (first cut) • Filet Mignon • Homemade Kielbasa • Fresh Turkeys, Capons, Ducks & Geese
• “Elegant” Crown Roast Lamb or Pork