FIFTY CENTS 232-4407
Scotch Plains – Fanwood THE TIMES
OUR 40th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 15-99 Published Every Thursday USPS 485200
Periodical – Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, N.J. Thursday, April 15, 1999
of of of of of
— Serving Scotch Plains and Fanwood Since 1959 —
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
Edward J. Saridaki, Jr.* Morris H. "Butch" Gillet* Jessica D. Simpson* Victoria Manduca
Dominick Bratti Ava McNamara Dr. Donald E. Sheldon
Five Candidates Battle for Two Scotch Plains Seats on BOE; Simpson Faces Challenge From Manduca for Fanwood Seat
By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
Three seats. Seven candidates: four veterans, three novices. Time will tell if Tuesday's election will change the complexion of the Scotch Plains- Fanwood Board of Education as it did last year when newcomers bested a two-term incumbent.
In Scotch Plains, candidates are incumbents Edward J. Saridaki, Jr. and Morris H. "Butch" Gillet; Dr. Donald E. Sheldon, former Board president; and rookie contenders Ava McNamara and Dominick Bratti. There are two three-year seats open. Scotch Plains holds seven seats on the nine-member board.
One seat is open in Fanwood where incumbent Jessica D. Simpson will square off against Victoria Manduca, who is making her third run for the board.
During the campaign, the candi- dates spoke of the direction the board should take in the future and identi- fied priority areas.
Mr. Bratti, a seven-year resident, said, "I found that the (elementary) student/faculty ratio is above average...not that it's overcrowded, but I'd like to get it down."
He also mentioned the "older fa- cilities" that need attention, plus the need to improve teacher negotiations.
"We need to coordinate the whole curriculum and education of chil- dren, and all that's associated with it, with the goal towards improving quality," Mr. Bratti explained.
He indicated the board needs to address the state's heightened in- volvement in curriculum issues.
"The board has to work within the standards," said Mr. Bratti, "and make it work" for the local district.
Concluding six years of board ser- vice, Mr. Gillet identified such areas as enrollment, state curriculum re- quirements, block scheduling as an
effective use of time, the training and supervision of new teachers and ex- pansion of co-curricular activities and sports as board priority items.
"All of these things have to be dealt with in the constraints of the money we have available and the time de- fined as a school day," concluded Mr. Gillet. "These are complicated issues that will take a dedicated board mem-
ber, such as myself, with experience, skill and a level head to help make the correct decisions for our school district."
Mrs. McNamara addressed prior- ity issues such as the "upgrading and expansion of facilities; new state- mandated standards and testing; middle school leveling; and the con-
Voters to Decide Fate of $39.4 Mil. School Tax Levy This Tuesday By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
On Tuesday, April 20, voters in Scotch Plains and Fanwood will be asked to approve a $44.6 million Board of Education budget for 1999- 2000. Of the total budget, $39.4 mil- lion, the figure which will appear on the ballot, is funded by local property taxes.
"This year's proposed budget is an important step forward for our students, while increasing the total budget by only 1.88 percent," stated Board President August Ruggiero. "Our staff, under the leadership of New Jersey Superintendent of the Year Dr. (Carol B.) Choye, pro- posed cost-effective educational im- provements to meet our students' needs."
"Our Board of Education gave strong support for these proposals,
but found ways to reduce or postpone expenses in order to reduce the tax impact.
"School taxes would increase by only 1.54 percent in Fanwood and 3.13 percent in Scotch Plains even though we face a net reduction of revenues from outside sources.
"All expenditures were carefully scrutinized in order to arrive at a budget which contains only what we think is necessary to give our stu- dents a sound education. This budget is close to $600,000 below the state's allowed spending growth limit," the board President explained.
"All nine Board of Education mem- bers voted their approval for this budget and I urge the public to show their support by voting for this bud- get on April 20," Mr. Ruggiero stated.
The administration and board have built into next year's spending plan more than $600,000 in improve- ments. These include: additions to staff and enhanced supervision of new teachers; an expanded world languages, music and art curricula; new textbooks at varying grade lev- els for reading and language arts, math, world language, science and health; and after-school preparatory classes for the state Grade Eight Per- formance and High School Profi- ciency Assessments.
Further improvements include: a modified eighth-grade elective pro- gram; additional Internet labs at the middle and high schools; new ath- letic teams; technology; and profes- sional development opportunities for staff.
On the average assessed home in Scotch Plains, the school tax increase amounts to $115 per year. Add to that figure the proposed six-point mu- nicipal tax hike, which asks taxpay- ers to pay an additional $69 on the average assessed house. On average, residents are looking at a total prop- erty tax bill of approximately $5,957, $184 over 1998.
Obligations to the county do not factor into residents' tax bills as Union County taxes are not expected to rise above last year's 91 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Fanwood residents fare better with an annualized increase in the school tax of $49.80 on an average assessed home.
In addition, the Borough Council recently approved a $5.6 million municipal budget for 1999. For the third time in five years, the budget reflects a zero percent increase in municipal taxes.
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Dean Oil Property Applicants are Scheduled to Return Before Planning Board on Monday for Concept Hearing
CONTINUED ON PAGE A-12
By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Times
Borough officials have revealed that LaGrande Realty Associates, LLC, which recently proposed an apartment complex for the Dean Oil site in Fanwood, may be making another bid to bring the project to fruition.
The partnership, comprised of Vincent Bontempo and John D. Mollozzi, is on the Fanwood Plan- ning Board's schedule for its Mon- day, April 19, agenda session at 8 p.m. for a concept hearing, The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood learned on Monday.
During last Thursday's regular meeting of Fanwood's governing body, Councilman Joel Whitaker, who sits on the Planning Board, de- fined a concept hearing as an oppor- tunity for individuals to "sketch out what they have in mind" and to gauge their chances for success prior to actually submitting an application to the board.
LaGrande Realty Associates had initially proposed a three-story, 36-
unit apartment building for the acre- and-a-quarter Dean Oil property, which is located on the corner of LaGrande Avenue and Second Street, and has been dormant since the com- pany closed up shop there a decade ago.
Area residents rallied against the concept, arguing the multi-family dwelling was too intense a use for the site, which is zoned as general-com- mercial. Opponents, organized as Fanwood Citizens for Responsible Development, maintained the pro-
posed building would pose traffic and parking hazards, while also put- ting a strain on local schools, recre- ational facilities and emergency ser- vices.
Originally scheduled for February 24, the Planning Board postponed its initial hearing on the developers' application when the large public turnout exceeded the permitted ca- pacity of the room.
LaGrande Realty Associates sub- sequently scaled back its proposal to a two-story, 24-unit complex, but then unexpectedly canceled a second
hearing date that had been set for March 25.
It was unknown at press time whether the applicants planned to further revise their application. Offi- cials noted last week that while the Planning Board meeting is open to the public, there will not be an oppor- tunity during the concept hearing for comments by members of the com- munity.
Under other business at last week's council meeting, members of the governing body passed a resolution adopting the site plan for and autho-
rizing development of a passive pocket park on a parcel of Watson Road property.
Fanwood was awarded $125,000 in grant money for the endeavor through Union County's 1998 Project Pocket Park Program, which the bor- ough will match through funds and in-kind services.
Councilwoman Karen M. Schurtz, who chaired the Pocket Park Com- mittee appointed by the governing body last year to develop concepts for the park, presented a multi-colored
Seven Candidates for School Board Face Off at Forum On Issues Ranging From Contract Negotiations to Leveling
By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
Board representatives and Parent- Teacher Association (PTA) members were among the 70-plus residents
who attended the Board of Education Candidates' Night at Scotch Plains- Fanwood High School (SPFHS) Mon- day night.
The forum is an annual event spon- sored by the Scotch Plains-Fanwood
PTA Council during which candi- dates respond with prepared answers to questions from the PTA and the SPFHS Junior Statesmen Associa- tion (JSA), and also extemporane- ously answer questions from the au- dience.
The forum was taped for broadcast on Channel 34.
When asked how each candidate would improve the climate of con- tract negotiations between the board and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Edu- cation Association, candidates agreed that the time to work toward a better relationship is now.
Challenger Dominick Bratti of Scotch Plains said, "I don't have a problem considering a generous in- crease in wages, but teachers have to understand that we want a partner- ship."
Incumbent Morris H. Gillet, also of Scotch Plains, indicated the board tried to make improvements during the most recent negotiations without success.
"Both sides have to be realistic to start," he stated. "We should negoti- ate face-to-face, not in the media."
Fanwood candidate Victoria Manduca suggested negotiation woes "may be the result of poor communi- cation between the administration and teachers." She proposed meeting
with teachers on a school-by-school basis.
Scotch Plains challenger Ava McNamara recommended "begin- ning negotiations the minute the old contract is settled." She also called for more information to be dissemi- nated to parents and residents, and to negotiate without a paid professional negotiator.
"What's lacking here is a clear understanding of where each side is coming from," said board incumbent Edward J. Saridaki, Jr. of Scotch Plains. "What's lacking is trust." He called for "honest, forthright dis- course."
Township resident and former Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of
Education President, Dr. Donald E. Sheldon, called the time between negotiations a time to "build support from parents and taxpayers and to build trust...to establish relationships among the leaders of the groups before (it) degenerates into hostility."
Board incumbent Jessica D. Simpson of Fanwood stated, "Both (sides) must agree to do things differently. I would encourage open communication among the board, teachers and parents."
Her recommendation to lock both sides in the same room on June 29 (the night before the contract expires) until an agreement is reached met with ap- plause.
In response to the JSA question re-
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Editor's Note This special School Election Preview of The Times of Scotch Plains- Fanwood is being presented to all residents of Scotch Plains and Fanwood to inform voters about the school board candidates and proposed school tax levies. This issue also serves as our seasonal subscription drive.
A Special Opinion and Editorial Section features columns from our elected officials, including our Governor, State, Union County, Scotch Plains and Fanwood Mayors and governing bodies, as well as Congres- sional leaders. We thank them all for their submissions.
Producing a special edition of this kind takes a lot of hard work and, of course, a dedicated staff. We thank all of them for their efforts.
Please note The Times will offer live coverage of election results on our Internet web site, www.goleader.com, after 9 p.m. Tuesday night.
David B. Corbin for The Times
IN FULL BLOOM…The flowering trees lining the driveway of this home on West Broad Street in Scotch Plains offer colorful proof that spring has definitely arrived. Recent mild weather, albeit with some cooler days in between, has encouraged local residents to pack up their winter gear and start spending more time outdoors.
Page A- 12 Thursday, April 15, 1999 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
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Dean Oil Site Applicants To Return Before Board Controversy Ensues
Over Proposed 1999 SP Budget; Tax Hike
By FRED ROSSI
Specially Written for The Times
SCOTCH PLAINS - Democratic and Republican members of the Township Council argued again last week about the proposed $16.07-million 1999 Scotch Plains municipal budget, which calls for a six-point increase in local taxes. The two parties disagreed on everything from the size of the surplus to the effects of spending it completely. Even when a decade actually begins and ends was debated.
At the Council's agenda meeting, Democratic Mayor Geri M. Samuel al- lowed Republican Councilmen Will- iam J. McClintock, Jr. and Martin Marks a chance to expound on their own proposal for financing this year's budget appropriations with a "zero tax increase."
The discussion got off to a tense start when Councilman Marks reminded the Mayor that last month, when the bud- get had first been presented at the March 23 Council meeting, she had ruled Councilman McClintock and him out of order for attempting to discuss it.
When Democratic Councilman Tarquin Bromley wearily told the GOP members that, "if you've got something to say, then say it," Councilman Marks said the Democrats on the Council were "not in a strong position to be preaching ethics."
Mayor Samuel interrupted Council- man Marks by urging everyone to "get off our high ethical horses."
Referring to last year's election cam- paign, Councilman Marks pointedly told Mayor Samuel that "you (the Demo-
crats) criticized us for irresponsibility, but, now, I don't think you're being responsible."
The subject quickly turned to the surplus, which Councilman McClintock said was a "record $3.05 million at the end of last year." The Mayor quickly challenged that figure, saying that $660,000 of the $3 million was in an inter-fund, an accounting mechanism, which inflates the level of the surplus and, as Township Manager Thomas E. Atkins pointed out, will be retired at the start of next year.
"But it's there now," Councilman McClintock retorted. "Let's use it." He then joined Mr. Marks in stating their belief that the surplus invariably regen- erates itself to a higher level than origi- nally anticipated.
Noting that he was in the midst of formulating his ninth budget in his tenure on the Council, Councilman McClintock said many of the pres- sures of this year's budget will likely not be there next year, pointing to such things as milder winters resulting in less plowing, the one-time cost related to the Labor Day 1998 storm and smaller increases in pensions, health insurance and other payments.
The Democrats' response to these points was, essentially, how do you know? Mayor Samuel said it was too risky to base budget and tax decisions on assumptions based on previous ex- perience. Councilman Bromley likened the GOP approach to taking one's fam- ily on an extended vacation today in the hope of making a higher salary later.
"Discounting the $660,000 figure from the surplus total, then taking away another $540,000 which represents the six points would then reduce it (the resulting surplus) to slightly more than $1.8 million. "This level", she claimed, "would threaten the Township's AA bond rating at a time when Scotch Plains is planning several new bond issues."
Mr. McClintock said he would be comfortable with $1.8 million in black ink on the township's books and ex- pressed his belief that at least some of the surplus would be regenerated.
In a brief exchange, the Mayor and Councilman Marks debated the exact start of the present decade after she rebuffed Republican claims that the six-point tax increase being proposed was the biggest in Scotch Plains in this decade.
"In 1990," the Mayor said, "the in- crease was eight points."
Councilman Marks said the decade of the 1990s runs from 1991 through 2000, while the Mayor put the decade's start a year earlier.
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Five Candidates Compete For SP Seats on Board; Two Vie for Fanwood Spot
stant battle to raise the level of literacy district-wide."
She also called for the board and community to assess how the impact of new state standards for "language re- quirements will impact on our current curriculum...."
"The bottom-line for this district is the quality of education which it affords its students," she stated. "We need to review all issues presented to the board from all angles and sides to make the best decisions for the future of our chil- dren and our community."
Mr. Saridaki, who seeks re-election to his second term on the board, stated, "My desire is to move in the direction of improvement for all students academi- cally; more accountability within the district, both financially and educa- tionally; and better communication on all issues with the community, includ- ing potential changes that are in discus- sion and/or preliminary planning stages.
"A positive direction would be more recognition that our schools belong to the residents of our community, that our community is intelligent, and therefore decisions that impact the quality and/or cost of education should be made only with a maximum of public input," he continued.
A five-time board president, Dr. Sheldon emphasized the following as the number one priority for the board: "recruiting, mentoring and providing opportunities to develop the profes- sional skills of outstanding new teach- ers to fill replacement and new positions....This has to take priority over all other needs, for the quality of the teaching is the backbone of the educa- tional system."
Dr. Sheldon also pointed to facili- ties' improvement, revision of curricula and appropriate professional develop- ment to better prepare for the 21st cen-
tury, reaching out to community mem- bers with information and encouraging public participation, maintaining class sizes, increasing special education ser- vices and ongoing prudent fiscal man- agement.
In Fanwood, Ms. Manduca criticized the state's "School to Work proposed code" which contains such "poor ele- ments" as "annotated diplomas for spe- cial needs children, career indoctrina- tion beginning in the elementary schools...and comprehensive student tracking."
"A second issue of importance is the gradual elimination of nationally- normed standardized tests," she con- tinued. "At the present time, there are no standardized tests until third grade and none after seventh grade."
She called the present state tests "un- proven and ambiguous."
"A third issue is the elimination of academic leveling at the high school...," said Ms. Manduca. "We need to keep and enhance our current programs rather than 'teaching to the middle.'"
"We must ensure that greater num- bers of our students excel in school," said Mrs. Simpson, a board member since 1992. "Our success will be mea- sured in achieving and exceeding state curriculum content standards. The new state tests...have posed some problems for our children. We must examine our present practices and find ways to help them improve."
She indicated the board should focus on "appropriate professional develop- ment without sacrificing precious in- structional time;" address the needs of school facilities; and effect a change in its relationship with the Scotch Plains- Fanwood Education Association that supports the professionals while "ac- knowledging the fiscal realities of our community."
site plan for the property to elected officials and others in attendance at the meeting.
The plan includes a 75-foot by 130-foot all purpose field surrounded by a walkway, with landscaped areas and 17 parking spaces. Several areas outside the main field have been left in reserve in the event the Fanwood Recreation Department wants to es- tablish fitness stations in the park in the future, Councilwoman Schurtz said.
The park plan calls for "low- maintenance" trees and shrubbery, including ornamental grasses, along with various sized benches and Victorian light fixtures, she explained. According to Mrs. Schurtz, the committee hopes the all-purpose field can be used for activities ranging from picnics to concerts, poetry readings and other cultural programs.
Officials and committee members envision the pocket park as comple- mentary to the Patricia M. Kuran Cultural Arts Center, formerly known as the Carriage House, located di- rectly opposite on Watson Road.
The historic building has long been home to the Philathalians theater group and has been tapped by the borough for further cultural arts pro- grams such as the recently inaugu- rated Poetry Reading Series.
The pocket park proposal sparked a controversy last year, with some residents arguing that all or part of the grant money should be used to refurbish existing parks. Some also believed the Watson Road site – mea- suring slightly less than an acre — should be left in reserve for ratables or other purposes.
Councilwoman Schurtz said a va- riety of development proposals for the site had been considered over the years, among them senior housing and supplemental commuter park- ing, but that the property was ulti- mately found not to be a "viable spot" for any of these options.
She said that in addition to reha- bilitating the Watson Road site, which had become blighted in recent years, the pocket park project would correct a drainage problem on Watson Road without dipping into municipal funds, and the borough would retain pos- session of the land.
The governing body will hold a special meeting on Monday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers for a public hearing and to present the pocket park plan to residents of Fanwood.
In a separate part of the meeting, two ordinances were unveiled amend- ing the Borough Code. One of the decrees establishes a policy regard- ing repairs to sidewalks damaged by borough trees, while the other ex- pands on an existing ordinance re- lated to sexually-oriented businesses.
According to Mr. Estis, the mu- nicipality would pay the cost of lift- ing the sidewalk slab, trimming any necessary tree sections and replacing the slab if the Borough Engineer determined that the roots of a bor- ough tree had raised the sidewalk two or more inches.
For sidewalks raised between one and two inches by borough tree roots, the municipality would pick up the tab once the engineer had identified
the problem and the council's Public Works Committee judged it to be a safety hazard, Mr. Estis explained. He said such problems caused by tree roots along county roads would be addressed by the county.
The second ordinance adds hospi- tals and child care centers to the list of places from which sexually-ori- ented businesses must be at least 1,000 feet away.
Such businesses are already pro- hibited from operating within 1,000 feet of residences, houses of worship, schools, playgrounds or resort areas.
Officials passed a resolution ask- ing New Jersey legislators to support several bills dealing with what has commonly become known as the "Y2K problem."
With the approach of the new mil- lennium, there has been concern that computer software or chips may not work properly because they are un- able to correctly process the year 2000.
Companion bills S-1421 and A- 2511 would exempt a public entity from liability in a civil action for property damage or personal injury resulting from, or caused directly or indirectly by, "the failure of com- puter hardware or software or any device containing a computer pro- cessor to accurately or properly rec- ognize, calculate, display, sort or oth- erwise process dates or times."
Two other Assembly bills, A-2592 and A-3303, would permit munici- palities and counties to adopt special emergency appropriations to cover Y2K computer expenses. These costs could also be spread out over a five- year period to avoid significant prop- erty tax increases.
Finally, Bill A-2477 would pro- vide for a "supplemental appro- priation of $10 million to the Divi- sion of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs to fund a year 2000 munici- pal grant program." The bill would enable municipal governments to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to address potential problems related to Y2K.
A resolution was also approved opposing legislation which would amend the New Jersey Employer- Employee Relations Act to pro- hibit a public employer, such as a town, from implementing the last, best offer during contract negotia- tions.
Members of the governing body supported the New Jersey League of Municipalities' position that A-179 and S-618 would give unions the power to prolong negotiations in- definitely, which the league main- tains would have a "devastating" ef- fect on property taxes.
At the outset of the meeting, Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly issued a reso- lution in honor of the 25th anniver- sary of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood UNICO, as well as several proclama- tions.
One of the proclamations honored Travis Kipping on having recently become an Eagle Scout – the highest rank bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America. The others saluted April 11 through April 17 as National Library Week; April 24 as Clean Community Day in Fanwood, and the month of April as National Poetry Month.
Fanwood Post Office Changes Box Locations
The Fanwood Post Office has an- nounced location changes for two of its area collection boxes.
The blue mail collection box, located at 241 Coriell Avenue at the corner of Martine Avenue, will soon be removed from service.
The nearest collection box to the Coriell Avenue location is 120 South Martine Avenue.
In addition, due to safety issues brought before Postal officials, the box in front of the Post Office at 275 South Avenue will be relocated to Municipal Lot No. 1 at the rear of properties on the west side of Martine Avenue between LaGrande and South Avenues.
The new schedule for pickup at the municipal lot box is 9 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
FOR APPLICATION AND INFO CALL OR WRITE :
(908) 889-4804 PO Box 222, Fanwood 07023
Y Y Y Y Y Free Swim Lessons for Children
Y Y Y Y Y Large Pool with Lap Lanes
Y Y Y Y Y Separate Kiddie Pool
Y Y Y Y Y Activities for Children
Y Y Y Y Y Adult & Children's Parties
Y Y Y Y Y Undefeated Swim Team for 20 Years Fanwood TV-35
Weekly Schedule Thursday, April 15, 8:00 P.M.
Fanwood Council Meeting of April 8, 1999
Saturday, April 17, 7:00 P.M.
Fanwood, 100 Years of Gold
Saturday, April 17, 8:00 P.M.
Monday, April 19, 7:00 P.M.
Fanny Wood Day 1997
Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 P.M.
Three Seasons in The Sun - The flower gardens of Fanwood
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
garding board funding for extracur- ricular activities, the slate supported providing students with opportuni- ties to explore different areas of in- terest.
Several candidates expressed the need to see a detailed proposal, in- cluding such information as the num- ber of students who would be in- volved; what students would get out of the experience; equipment needed, and a principal's evaluation of the proposal.
From the audience, Golden Agers Club President Jeanette Rotella asked, "Is there not one among you who will say 'I promise not to raise the budget above what it is for two years?"
"I'd commit to keeping it as low as possible," stated Ms. Manduca, who noted, "there's probably some money squirreled away."
"I don't think it's possible to main- tain at the present level with in- creased enrollment and the need for expanding facilities and hiring new teachers," said Dr. Sheldon.
Mr. Bratti called it a "mistake" to ask candidates who have not served on the board to comment, as "we don't have as much of a sense of the budget" as the incumbents.
Karen Torpey of Scotch Plains asked incumbents to identify their personal initiatives on the board. Mr. Saridaki pointed to an investigation into alternative health insurance op- tions that precipitated a premium savings of nearly 15 percent; hiring of a new auditing firm, and initial discussions on the school-to-work mandate.
Mrs. Simpson listed more manda- tory reading at the high school level;
vocal opposition to the Union County Magnet High School for Science, Mathematics and Technology that drew support from other districts, and a personal "sense of activism."
Mr. Gillet took a different approach, focusing on the "group effort" he sees as characterizing board activities.
"It's hard to define where some- thing starts," he stated. "How it's effected is what counts."
A question about the effectiveness of "Chicago Math" from a parent from Evergreen Elementary School drew the liveliest response.
Replies ranged from "It's not right, and it's not working" from Ms. McNamara, to "It helps (students) learn to think" from Mrs. Simpson, who acknowledged that the math- ematics program can be "confusing and intimidating to parents."
Scotch Plains resident Debbie Grafox asked Dr. Sheldon to explain how the district evaluates the success of a new program that has been intro- duced into the curriculum. He admit- ted such evaluation is a "weak area" for the district.
Mary Kaiserman of Scotch Plains expressed concern about the discrep- ancy in leveling (grouping by aca- demic ability) between Park and Terrill Middle Schools. To date, Park levels sixth- and seventh-grade stu- dents in mathematics, and eighth- grade students in language arts. Terrill levels students in both sub- jects at every grade.
Parents' past concerns about the inequity of the system prompted the administration to convene an evalu- ation committee.
Mrs. Simpson revealed that a rec- ommendation had been received by the board which called for leveling to begin in mathematics in grade 7, and in language arts in grade 8. The same levels would be in place at both middle schools.
In response to another question, both Mrs. McNamara and Mr. Bratti acknowledged that they did not at- tend board meetings to learn what goes on there, but chose instead to watch them on television.
Forum Focuses on Issues From Contracts to Leveling
SCIENCE FUN…School One Elementary in Scotch Plains held its annual Science Fair on March 12. Over 100 students participated in this popular event. Pictured with their exhibit, entitled "Magic Writing," are: Alana Batts, left, and Sarah Yi. Both are second-grade students in Jill Slivinski's class at School One.
Recreation Departments Set Three Vacation Adventures
SCOTCH PLAINS — New Provi- dence, Mountainside and Scotch Plains Departments of Recreation have com- bined to offer three vacation trips.
During the weekend of July 17 and July 18, there will be a tour of Brandywine Valley. Tour highlights will include en- trance to the Brandywine River Mu- seum, Longwood Gardens, with dinner in the Terrace Restaurant including a concert. Deluxe overnight accommoda- tions and a continental breakfast will be included.
The group will visit Winterthur with lunch at the famous DuPont Hotel. Cost per person will be $260 for single room, $215 for a double, $190 for a triple and $170 for quads.
Tour highlights for the Niagara Falls and Toronto, from August 19 to 22, will include viewing falls illuminated, a ride on the "Maid of the Mist" and exploring the towns of Niagara and Toronto and three night's accommodations with some breakfasts and dinners included.
A $100 deposit person will be re- quired upon reservation. The cost per person is $605 for a single accommoda- tion, $465 for double, $425 for triple and $390 for quads.
The Williamsburg trip is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, October 14 to 17, with two days in Williamsburg, Virginia, including guided tours of Cart- ers Grove Plantation, Berkeley Planta- tion, and the Fredericksburg Battlefield.
There will be accommodations for three nights, including some dinners and break- fasts. Single occupancy is $635 per per- son with doubles prices at $480, $440 for triples, and $410 for quads. This trip will also require a $100 deposit per person upon registration.
For further information or questions, please call (908) 322-6700.
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