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22 regular classrooms at Franklin today. Then let us calculate the class size distributions that would result for each year based on the previously questioned enrollmentforecastsif weaddednoclassrooms.
We know there is a problem this year, with five classes of 26 students. In 1999, there would be one class with more than 25 students, and in 2000, 2001 and 2002, there would be none.
Similar calculations for every grade at every school for every year until 2002 reveal that our current number of regular classrooms in the district can accommodate the forecasted numbers of students within Board policy except for four classes of 26 students and three classes of 27 students in the year 2002, compared to eight classes of 26 and one class of 27 today.
This allows the Administration to use the remaining facilities as planned for kindergarten andspecialeducationneeds.
All things being equal, most parents would prefer to have their children in classes of 19 versus 23 or 24. However, all things are not equal.
According to our former Superintendent, Dr. Mark C. Smith, there is no research to support the preference for smaller classes within the range of 15 to 30 and it will cost $4.5 million to build these extra classrooms.
Finally, the $4.5 million does not include the continuing annual operating costs of teachers and maintenance for these additional classes, which may be as much as $1 million a year.
While expensive, many taxpayers and parents might vote for the $6 million improvement and $0.8 million alteration portions of the bond and against the $4.5 million for questionable new classrooms, that is, if we were given the choice.
However,giventhe “allornone”packaging, the only way to communicate our preference to the Board is to vote down the referendum and to send the Superintendent and Board back to the drawing board to come up with alternative proposals.
They could still float a bond for $6.8 million in December to take care of needed improvements and selected alterations, but no new classrooms, and revisit the new classroom questions in the future.
Or, they could withdraw the bond altogether and pay for the improvements throughthe operatingbudgetmoneyfreed
Numbers Just Don’t Add Up To Build More Classrooms In Town’s Elementary Schools
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4
up by the debt service on old debt that is steadily decreasing until it is retired in 2002.
Or, if they were absolutely committed to the $11.7 million, they could split it into two parts and give voters a choice between improvements to existing classrooms and new classrooms.
Assuming that the Board makes no further changes to the proposed bond, Westfield should vote “no” in December knowing full well that this is not a one shot, do or die proposition.
If a majority of the voters reject the “all or none” bond package, then the Board and Administration will find other ways to “house a temporary bulge passing through the schools,” and turn their attention to dealing with other pressing educational issues and challenges facing the district.
HUNG UP!! HUNG UP!! HUNG UP!! HUNG UP!! HUNG UP!!
By Milt Faith, Executive Director
Youth and Family Counseling Service
Being Tolerant, Compromising Key to a Successful Marriage
A frustrated wife writes:
They say that opposites attract. My husband and I grew up together, went to the same schools, enjoyed each other’s family and shared the same religious beliefs. However, we overlooked the fact that we were different in some of our interests. I am very community conscious, do volunteer work and enjoy get-togethers with other couples. He loves sports, no matter what the season. He also invites some “co-workers” in for snacks and a beer without letting me know. We do have a good marriage, care for each other and our children are very happy. How do we resolve our differences and get rid of the frustration? Should I feel hopeful?
You should feel very hopeful. You have the basic ingredients of a loving marriage: you sincerely care for each other; you have a history of growing up together; you enjoy each other’s family; you share the same religious beliefs, and your children seem to be happy and well adjusted. The key to resolve the dilemma of different interests and activities rests in the ability to be tolerant, make compromises, be sensitive to the other person’s needs and as Dionne Warwick once sang, “Don’t Make Me Over.”
Continue to do “your thing” which is to be involved with community and people. Let him enjoy sports and his friends, but tell him that it is only fair to let you know, in advance, when he invites them over — just as you (I am sure) prepare him for a couples gettogether. Find mutual time to do things you both enjoy — I am assuming that there are such things.
But remember that most people don’t want to make severe changes which is interpreted as being controlling. If this becomes too difficult, a few sessions with a marriage counselor can be helpful and supportive. Instead of singing Dionne’s“Don’t MakeMeOver,”you’ll be singing the Carpenters “We’ve Only Just Begun.”
A reader writes:
You recently gave a speech in which you referred to 10 songs which focus on people’s struggles and how to resolve them. Can you summarize your thoughts?
Actually, I used the songs to identify some of our desires and how to achieve them. Thanks for asking about it. Try to listen (if some are old, believe me) and try to apply them to yourselves:
1) “Cat’s in The Cradle” — Harry Chapin. This song speaks of the development of a personality and the rela
tionship between a father and son. Listen to it and try to avoid the pitfalls of detachment.
2) “The Living Years” — Mike and the Mechanics. A beautiful song which stresses the importance of expressing feelings (particularly of love) before one dies and it is too late.
3) “Hero” — Mariah Carey. We all need heroes and models to look up to and emulate. Let us, as parents, be our children’s heroes.
4) “Soliloquy” — from Carousel.
Take pride in your child, whether a girl or boy, and enjoy the unique relationship.
5) “Hungry Heart” — Bruce Springsteen. We all yearn for closeness and emotional intimacy. Seek it in a healthy relationship.
6) “Nature Boy” — Nat King Cole. Listen to the last two lines to understand the true meaning of a caring and loving relationship: “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return.”
7) “I Am Woman” — Helen Reddy. Be proud of yourself and do not see yourself as a second rate citizen.
8) A tie: “Don’t Make Me Over” — Dionne Warwick and “You Don’t Own Me” – Lesley Gore. Stay clear of someone who wants to possess you and make you into his/her own image. Be involved with someone who accepts you, basically, as you are.
9) “Through The Years” — Kenny Rogers. Enjoy the warmth of a relationship in which you and the person you love experience a closeness and companionship which lasts through a lifetime.
10) “Little Things Mean A Lot” — Kitty Kallen. What really matters in life, really matters, are the little things we do for each other which indicate ongoing love.
An angry reader writes:
I have been angry for as long as I can remember. I know it is related to an abusive home situation. Now I argue with my parents because they never showed love, but always showed criticism. I know I have transferred this onto others and I let no one get close to me. Is there any chance this fury will lessen?
Awareness is the beginning of resolution; motivation to change, to permit closeness in relations rather than hostile rejections, continues the process. If you haven’t been in therapy, I highly recommend you see someone so that you can resolve the hostilities. I love the saying I recently read: “A chip on the shoulder is about the heaviest load anyone can carry.” Good luck! last year and developed the specifics of a
bond referendum. They referred to it as a “bare bones bond,” with no frills, no gimmicks, and certainly no extras. The Board of Education unanimously supported the proposal on October 8.
I applaud all these citizens for caring, as I do, about the future of our students and schools. I support the recommendations as I hope you will on December 15.
* * * * *
Mrs.Walshis PresidentoftheWestfield Board of Education and Chairwoman of the Facilities Committee. Under her fiveyear leadership, on the Facilities Committee, the board has approved a fiveyear Long-Range Facilities Plan, the construction of 12 new classrooms, the renovation of the field at Roosevelt Intermediate School and capital improvements to each of the nine school buildings.
Mrs. Walsh is currently in her seventh year on the school board. Since 1992,
she has served as a member of the School and Town Relations Committee, Board and Staff Committee, Curriculum and Programs Committee, Policy Committee, and Finance Committee.
Also actively involved in the community, Mrs. Walsh is a Trustee of the United Fund of Westfield and Chairwoman of the 1998 Annual Fund Campaign. She is a Director and Secretary of the Board of Directors at the Westfield “Y,” a Trustee and Secretary of the Education Fund of Westfield, and a Vice President of the statewide Garden State Coalition of Schools.
She was one of the original committee Chairwoman involved with establishing the Westfield High School Post-Graduation Party “BASH.”
Mrs. Walsh earned a degree in psychology from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York. She is a former elementary school teacher and currently manages her own consulting business.
Here’s Why Westfield Needs More Classrooms
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4
Editor’s Note: The following article by Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger is being published as a guest column to The
WestfieldLeaderand TheTimesofScotch Plains and Fanwood.
* * * * *
When French President Charles DeGaulle was once asked why governing France was so difficult, DeGaulle is said to have responded, “how can a man govern a country with 600 kinds of cheese.”
When one begins to examine the cost of operating government in New Jersey, one does not confront 600 cheeses but 611 school districts, 566 municipalities, 400 smaller independent taxing districts and 21 counties — nearly 1,600 units of government — which raise $12.5 billion from us in property taxes and then spend our money on governance which can effect as few as 100 residents (four municipalities) or no citizens at all (24 school districts).
There is no way around the fact that 1,600 taxing governments in our state are too many. What is the proper number, I can’t say. But 1,600 governments in a state our size spells inefficiency, high costs and annoyed taxpayers. We simply must become more efficient.
Heeding this call, Governor Christine Todd Whitman appointed a Property Tax Commission to look at ways we can lower our property tax bills by becoming more efficient at delivering services. The Commission studied the problem thoroughly and did its work diligently. The Commission’s report is comprehensive. While some of the recommendations are problematic, others make a tremendous amount of sense.
For too long, we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into believing that building more properties to be taxed is the way to lower taxes. As the Commission recognized, the average property tax doubled during the 1980s even though 80 percent of New Jersey’s commercial office space was built during that decade.
If growth simply equaled lower taxes, then property taxes should have fallen, not soared. We cannot build ourselves into lower property taxes; we must come up with another approach.
We who treasure home rule and selfdetermination know that compelling people to surrender local control is a bad idea. But we also know that with the right incentives, many of those 1,600plus governments will realize the value of sharing costs, which, in turn, will allow us to share in lower property taxes.
For that reason, the Legislature should pass a bill sponsored by my colleagues Assemblyman Leonard Lance (Republican from Hunterdon County) and Assemblyman Joseph Roberts (Democrat from Camden County).
This bipartisan approach provides strong financial incentives to municipalitiestoband togethertoachieveeconomies of scale and real savings to the property tax bills for their citizens.
There is something else that should happen, too. In the bad, old days “Jersey justice,” was a synonym for a flawed court system that frequently turned out unfair and unfortunate results largely dependent upon where your case was heard.
In 1947, we took a big step to curing this problem when we created a unified
CONTINUED ON PAGE 11
22nd Legislative District
Elimination of Duplicate Services Would Go Long Way to Control
New Jersey Property Taxes
By Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger
NEWS FROM TRENTON Recreation Commission Slates Holiday Concert
WESTFIELD — The Westfield Recreation Commission will sponsorafree holidayconcertonWednesday, December 9, at 8 p.m. in the Edison Intermediate School auditorium in Westfield.
The concert will feature the Westfield Community Concert Band which is conducted by Elias Zareva.
The Edison Intermediate School Broadway Singers, which is directed by Kristine Smith-Morasso, will perform music and songs of the holiday season.
Light refreshments will be served following the concert.