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OUR 108th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 4198 FIFTY CENTS 2324407

The Westfield Leader — Serving the Town Since 1890 —

Thursday, October 8, 1998 USPS 680020 Periodical – Postage Paid at Westfield, N. J.

Published Every Thursday


Campaign ..... Page 5 County .......... Page 21 Editorial ........ Page 4

Mountainside Page 2 Obituary ........ Page 11 Religious ....... Page 10

Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 13

Neighborhood Council To Welcome Residents

At Debut Street Fair

The Westfield Neighborhood Council (WNC) will hold its firstever, allday street fair this Saturday, October 10, at Cacciola Place. The rain date is the following day, October 11.

Council Executive Director Ezella Johnson said she is looking forward to meeting Westfield residents at the event, which will feature activities for all ages.

“We’re anticipating a good turnout,” Ms. Johnson said, adding that the WNC is planning for “900, up to a thousand people,” from throughout the community.

The WNC Center is located at 127 Cacciola Place, between Central and South Avenues. The street will be blocked off to traffic for the event.

Fair publicity organizer Lois Sarvetnick said the fair will also serve “to acquaint people with the neighborhood and the work of the council.

“It gives people the opportunity to see the accomplishments and achievements of the WNC. It’s a part of (Westfield) that a lot of people may not know about,” Mrs. Sarvetnick said.

The 30yearold, familyoriented organization services a neighborhood that was designated last year for revi talization through the efforts of the

Westfield Neighborhood Preservation Committee to receive state funding.

Mayor Thomas C. Jardim kicked off the efforts with a tree planting ceremony at the WNC center in May.

Longtime Westfield resident Mrs.


Local Man Is Robbed At Gunpoint


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

A Westfield man was robbed Sunday night by two suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun, as he walked in the 200 block of Windsor Avenue en route to a convenience store.

The pair then fled in a vehicle with a third suspect, according to the 41yearold victim, who was uninjured. No one has been apprehended in connection with the incident, which occurred shortly after 10 p. m., according to police.

The victim said he was confronted

GRINDS TO A HALT... A rented tub grinder gets a time out for repair at the Westfield Conservation Center on Lamberts Mill Road. The halfamillion dollar piece of equipment turned tree trunks and limbs into 100,000 yards of fine grade mulch since the day after Labor Day. Westfield Department of Public Works employees Richard Edge, left, and Arthur Brown, pictured in the foreground, said they have about three days of grinding left to finish off the debris from the storm.

Jeanne Whitney for The Westfield Leader PAVE PARADISE... Pictured is one of several sites in Westfield’s Tamaques Park, near the shuffleboard courts, where the town Recreation Department wants to put a parking lot, for a total of 71 new parking spaces. Some area residents have objected to the measure, calling it a “degreening” of the park and claiming that existing lots are under used.

Parking Lot Plan For Tamaques Hits

Residents Hard By JEANNE WHITNEY

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

The Westfield Recreation Commission listened to residents’ objections Monday, and then voted 53 in favor of proceeding with a project to add 71 parking spaces at Tamaques Park. Commission member Christine Nugent abstained from voting but did not indicate her reason. Earlier, Ms. Nugent described the parking lot project as a “short term solution” to traffic in the park.

Apparently, the plan to add three new parking lots and enlarge two others in Tamaques was okayed by the Town Council as part of the Recreation Department budget for paving.

Dickson Drive residents Michael Ancona and his wife Monica Felsing, said they collected 100 signatures of neighbors and parkgoers who opposed the project.

Ms. Felsing said neither she nor any of the residents she contacted knew about the proposed paving over of grassy areas for parking until contractors began marking the area for clearing.

“It’s a classic example of taxpayers’ money being wasted without the informed consent of the people,”

Ms. Felsing said. Estimates put the cost of the project at over $70,000.

Mr. Ancona said he sought First Ward Councilwoman and Republican mayoral candidate Gail Vernick’s help in halting the proposed work at the park. Councilwoman Vernick admitted, “I’m looking into it for the citizens. I’m the citizens’ advocate.”

At Tuesday’s Town Council agenda meeting, Mrs. Vernick urged the council to consider the issue at the council’s public meeting next week, Tuesday, October 13. Reportedly, it is now on the agenda for the meeting.

Councilwoman Vernick said last week that she would walk through Tamaques Park with Recreation Director Glenn S. Burrell in order to see the proposed locations for the 71 spaces.

Members of a homeowners association near the park asked the Recreation Commission to delay work on the lots and put together a coalition of residents, recreation department, commission and council members to look at parking and safety concerns in Tamaques Park.

Chairman of the Recreation Commission Seymour Koslowski


Court Challenge to Business District SID Tax Raises Questions of Fairness

For Commercial Property Owners By JEANNE WHITNEY

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

“A rising tide floats all boats.” This is what Beth Peterson, Executive Director of Downtown New Jersey, Inc., believes happens when communities make “a leap of faith” — as she calls it — to create a special improvement district (SID) in their downtowns and add a tax on commercial property to support the districts.

For example, she indicated, when commercial downtowns thrive, residential property values remain stable — if not rise.

Downtown New Jersey (DNJ) is a statewide advocacy organization for viable commercial districts and serves as an information clearinghouse when communities seek the “howto” of revitalizing their downtowns.

Yet, an ongoing court challenge to the SID tax by two Morristown commercial property owners, questions the fairness of the measure. Reportedly, the State Supreme Court will now consider the constitutionality of the SID tax after trial and appeals courts upheld the commercial property owners’ claim that the tax was “unfair” because homeowners in the

district are not taxed. According to Ms. Peterson, the contestants lost a previous appeal charging that a SID tax was outright illegal.

Regardless, the 1986 legislation that allowed special improvement districts has led to the creation of nearly 40 SIDs in the state, including one in the Westfield downtown.

Director of Westfield’s Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) Michael LaPlace called the Morristown challenge to the districts, “a pretty isolated case.”

“I think if we saw more cases like this around the state, then it might be

more of a concern,” Mr. LaPlace stated. He explained that the Morristown case is limited to challenging the fairness of taxing commercial property owners but not residential properties within the same special improvement zone.

The Town of Westfield has drawn the boundaries of the improvement district to exclude residential property, according to Mr. LaPlace.

“I really feel that we’ve nipped that (issue) in the bud,” he remarked.

With an annual budget of about $240,000, the DWC’s role is to adCONTINUED


Council Members Continue to Differ On Allocation of Parks Funding By PAUL J. PEYTON

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

The partyline split on how to spend town and matching Union County “pocket park” matching grant funds should be resolved next Tuesday when a resolution on how to spend the funds is placed on the agenda for a vote by the full council.

While council members agreed to place the resolution on the agenda, officials and council members, at this point, are still in the dark as to how the final wording will read.

One proposal by Republican First Ward Councilman Gregory S. McDermott, a member of the council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Parks and Fields, earmarked $120,000 of the funds on improvements at Sycamore Field behind the south side fire house and another $80,000 towards projects at the town’s largest park, Tamaques Park.

Another plan by Democratic Third Ward Councilman John J. Walsh proposes to divide the money among several new projects.

Council members urged the two to meet privately to reach a compromise between the two plans.

Mr. McDermott said it would be a “slap in the face” for the council not

to support the recommendations of the Recreation Commission.

He urged the council to “move on some projects and bring some closure” to proposals on the council’s capital improvement plan.

Democratic Mayor Thomas C. Jardim said he can not see a “philosophy” behind the plan to fund projects already authorized for the council’s capital budget plan versus new “necessities” before the council.

Councilman Walsh said the Westfield Soccer Association has presented a $20,000 proposal to make improvements at Sycamore.

“I think $120,000 is a heck of a lot of money to throw in when we have fields that are really sucking wind,” Mr. Walsh stated.

Mr. McDermott said the soccer association’s proposal would pay for grading and seeding of the field. He noted that the association was not aware of the extensive plan now under consideration.

“Their philosophy was that if you are going to do the field, do it right,” he said.

Republican Third Ward Councilman Neil F. Sullivan said he was in favor of “transforming Sycamore Field into


Planning Board OKs Subdivision; Woodpile in Yard Must be Moved By BOBBIE BALDASSARI TURSI

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

The Westfield Planning Board heard one appeal Monday night, ultimately granting conditional approval for the subdivision of a Lamberts Mill Road lot.

Westfield attorney Vincent Loughlin represented applicant Michael Mahoney of Edison and lot owner Robert L. Alpern.

Mr. Alpern intends to sell the rear portion of a lot to Mr. Mahoney, who plans to build a singlefamily home on the site. The new lot will front on Clarence Street.

Two large sheds and a massive woodpile are currently located on the portion of the property to be sold to Mr. Mahoney. The woodpile, stands some six feet high and measures seven feet by 50 feet wide.

Once the property is subdivided, the woodpile and one shed will be relocated onto Mr. Alpern’s property.

Board Chairman Martin E. Robins stated that, “when this new lot is created, Mr. Alpern’s property will become very crowded with these structures.”

He added that “the shed is intrusive; to be able to accommodate all this activity, the neighborhood would benefit by some type of screening or vegetation.”

Austin Street resident William Villane, owner of Villane Construction, a third generation family business, addressed the Planning Board,

saying, “I live directly behind the proposed lot, and this wood pile is a little more than just a woodpile,” he stated. “We are adversely affected by the location of this pile.”

Mr. Villane also said “this is practically a commercial lumber yard. When the lot is subdivided, where is Mr. Mahoney going to put all this stuff?”

“Speaking as a resident and a builder, one of the existing sheds is too high (12 feet), and there is hardly any yardage,” he continued.

Mr. Villane’s son, Don Edward Villane, who also works for the family firm told the board he was worried about grading, drainage and underground utility easements for the new lot.

Town Engineer Kenneth B. Marsh informed the younger Mr. Villane that the applicant will submit a grading plan to the town. Mr. Mahoney said any drainage or underground utility easements will have to be addressed to Mr. Alpern.

“We are concerned about the aesthetics of this lot and how it will affect the quality and value of our lots; there will be too much crowding and squeezing of the back and side lots, ´ Don Villane stated. “We want to keep the area upscale looking.”

He then asked the board whether there was an ordinance limiting the amount of wood that can be stored on a residential property.

The board revealed that there is no ordinance limiting the amount of

wood and individual may store on their property. One member said, “theoretically, you can cover your entire yard with wood.”

William Villane responded to this by stating that “this is an unusual situation – something you would see in Maine, north country; this is a lot of wood.”

Mr. Robins assured Mr. Villane that he had a right to be concerned about the aesthetics of this property.


School Board Addresses Backlog on Special Ed. Evaluations; SAT Scores Exceed State, Nat. Levels By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

The Westfield Board of Education opened its regular meeting of Tuesday night with a bit of good newsthe combined average of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) for the 1998 graduating class of Westfield High School was 1113, results which are 96 points higher than the national average of 1017 and 108 points above the state average of 1005.

According to the board, a total of 98 percent of the graduating class took the SATs, which is the largest percentage in recent history. The

board congratulated five seniors who received perfect 800 scores on the SAT I and seven students who earned perfect scores on the SAT II.

Board President Darielle Walsh expressed her satisfaction with the student’s performance.

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our high school students,” she stated. Superintendent of Schools Dr. William J. Foley reported that the Special Department of the Westfield Public Schools has obtained extra help to keep the “backlog” on IEPs (Individual Evaluation Performance) under control. IEPs are needs assessment profiles on Special Education students conducted to determine what

type of programs they require. Dr. Foley noted IEPs should be completed by the end of October. He noted that it would be important to work on solutions to prevent a future backlog problem.

He suggested obtaining extra help for the Special Education Office to process the IEPs more quickly. He noted that it would be useful to get the child study team members online to generate the IEPs.

In recognizing the backlog crisis, Dr. Foley stated, “We had a major change in staff over the summer and a significant increase in IEPs.

Board Member Annmarie Puleio suggested providing the child study teams with laptop computers to enter

codes into the IEP template. Board Member Eileen Satkin noted that it could be useful to supply a secretary for each child study team.

Director of Special Education Services Theodore Kozlik, explained that the IEP backlog would be cleared up by today, October 8, or tomorrow, October 9.

“We have to evaluate if we want child study teams to become data entry clerks,” he stated.

Dr. Foley concluded, “The time has come that we need help now.”

Board Member Thomas Taylor asked Dr. Foley if he noticed any adverse effects on students as a result of the backlog. Dr. Foley responded

CONTINUED ON PAGE 12 BOE to Hear Report From Citizens Group On Bond Referendum

The Westfield Board of education will meet this evening, Thursday, October 8, at 8 p. m. in Cafeteria B of Westfield High School, 550 Dorian Road, to address a report by the Superintendent of Schools Citizens Advisory Committee on the proposed $11.7 million bond referendum.

The board will vote on whether or not to proceed with pursuing the referendum for public vote in December.


Page 12 Thursday, October 8, 1998 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION



Sarvetnick, whose husband, Harold, took on organizing the inaugural event, said, “It’s a viable neighborhood. (Its residents) are anxious to get more involved with the community.”

A varied entertainment mix will be showcased on an outdoor stage. Other planned activities include fairway games, children’s rides, lunch and homemade sweets baked by volunteers at the center’s kitchen.

A ticket booth for the rides, as well as food, will be located at the WNC

Neighborhood Council Fair Welcomes Residents

center. “We hope we have a beautiful day,” Ms. Johnson said. “We’re saying our little prayers.”

Performers will include: the Westfield Fife and Drum Corps, choirs from the Bethel Baptist Church, Deirdre Shea’s School of Irish Dance, a blues band, a reggae band, The Music Studio Jazz Band, several Step and Drill groups, and gospel singers from the First Baptist Church of Linden.

by the gunman, who demanded his wallet, while the second suspect circled him from behind.

After the victim relinquished his wallet, the two suspects headed toward a small, lightcolored vehicle parked nearby, where a third suspect waited at the wheel.

The gunman was described as a black male with a thin build, between 5 feet, 10 inches and six feet tall, and wearing dark clothes, according to Detective Sergeant John M. Parizeau of the Westfield Police Department.

The other suspects were also described as black males wearing dark clothing, the sergeant confirmed.

The suspects’ vehicle, which had square taillights, was last seen traveling north on Ripley Place, Sergeant Parizeau said. After being robbed, the victim said he alerted a homeowner on the block to call police.

The sergeant noted that no other incidents had been reported recently in the vicinity of Windsor Avenue, which is a residential area.

Local Man Is Robbed At Gunpoint



· A Clark Street resident reported the theft of approximately $2,000 worth of jewelry from her home.

· Francine Mariann Brenner, 29, of Cranford was arrested and charged with shoplifting $360 worth of clothing at a North Avenue department store, according to police.

Authorities said Brenner was also wanted on three active warrants, two from Elizabeth and one out of Cranford. Bail was set at $1,580.


· A resident of Tuxford Turn reported the theft of a Schwinn bicycle from her rear yard.


· Bread was reported stolen from an Elm Street store, according to police.

· An employee of a North Avenue eatery told police he was assaulted by his boss and a fellow employee in the kitchen area of the establishment.

The victim stated that his employer threw a glass of water in his face, and that the other worker threw him against a wall, injuring his left arm. No charges have been filed in connection with the incident, authorities said.

· A bicycle of unknown value was removed from a garage in the 400 block of Washington Street.

· A Mountain Avenue resident re ported that someone broke the driver’s

side rear view mirror on her vehicle while it was parked on West Broad Street.


· A brass trumpet was reported stolen from the music area at Roosevelt Intermediate School on Clark Street.

· A resident of France reported that someone scratched his rental car while it was parked in the northside train station lot.


· A motorist reported that her windshield was broken by an object which was thrown at the car as she was traveling in the 600 block of Willow Grove Road.

· A Cranford Avenue resident reported that an unknown person or individuals smashed the rear window of her 1998 Mercedes Benz while it was parked on South Euclid Avenue.

· Approximately $3,600 in property, including a ring, clothing and linens, was reported stolen by a resident of Mountain Avenue. The victim told police she believed the thefts occurred over a period of several weeks. There are no suspects in the case, authorities said.

· A Kimball Avenue resident reported that someone used a slingshot type device to hurl an object at his car as he was traveling north on Chestnut Street, scratching the vehicle’s front passenger door.


Parking Lot Plan for Park Hits Residents Hard

said the need for parking in Tamaques has grown by leaps and bounds since the park was designed 25 years ago.

However, a Village Green resident, Robert Wederich responded, “But the need for a green park hasn’t changed in 25 years.” In fact, Mr. Ancona added later, the more crowded and busy life becomes, the more need there is for respite in a park, for example.

Residents objecting to increased parking say rescheduling of soccer, baseball and other team sports would reduce the crowding in the park. Some suggested permits for teams that would control the number of cars allowed in the park per team. Others asked for a study of exactly how many new spots are needed.

Mr. Ancona suggested simply closing the park to any more automobiles when a limit is reached. Republican candidate for council and commission member Thomas Cusimano suggested closing the park on weekends to car traffic like Central Park in New York.

Commission members and residents who opposed the plan agreed that there are safety issues along the

Tamaques oval drive due to cars parking on both sides of the street during “peak use” of the park. Evidently, there is little room for parked cars, moving cars, runners and rollerbladers on the drive at the same time.

Most agree that a no parking ordinance along the drive would heighten safety and residents said it would force street parkers into existing lots.

Residents said the existing lots are often unfilled while parked cars line the oval drive.

In a compromise proposal, Recreation Commission member Jonathan W. Jones wanted to consider adding only 24 spaces to the park and eliminating parking on the oval drive. Mr. Jones lives near the park on Dickson Drive.

Commission member and Councilwoman Janice Weinstein and Mr. Cusimano voted with Mr. Jones against the 71 space plan.

Town Engineer Kenneth Marsh told commission members that maneuvering around trees in paving the new parking lots was possible and would save trees. The five commission members voting in favor of proceeding with the project as planned agreed to save the trees.

Mr. Marsh told Town Council members on Tuesday that residents opposing the parking lot “harassed” workers at the site last week. Earlier, Director Burrell claimed the sites had been “vandalized” in that surveying stakes were removed and blades of grass with pink marking paint had been yanked out of the ground.

Mr. Ancona said he and Ms. Felsing had sought to discover from workers at the park sites who authorized the project and had made repeated telephone calls to town department offices.

Mr. Ancona noted that he had not received a call back from Westfield Mayor Thomas Jardim about the parking project. He said Engineer Marsh told him it would be a month before work on the parking lots began.

Recreation Director Burrell told Commission members on Monday that the paving contractor “would have been prepared to start on (the lots) next week.” Prior to the Commission vote in support of the project, Mr. Burrell described the measure saying, “It’s only 71 spaces.”

The recommendation to proceed with the project will next go to the Town Council.

Voting in favor of the plan were Commission members Seymour Koslowski, Chairman, Dr. William Bonsall, Melvyn L. Coren, Linda Pickering and Maureen Regan.


Court Challenge to Business District Tax Raises Questions

minister Westfield’s special improvement district. Mr. LaPlace said he will release recommendations to the Town Council this fall, on further improvements to the downtown.

Ms. Peterson said the Morristown court challenge will test whether the benefits of an SID tax outweigh the costs.

“There are intangible benefits — that you can’t measure — to having a SID,” Ms. Peterson said. For example, “Why does a customer come to Westfield?”

There is a need for SIDs, Ms. Peterson confirms. She likened the situation to that of school districts, where residents without children in the system might object to paying taxes to the Board of Education. This is a “shortsighted” view, according to Ms. Peterson. A thriving downtown will benefit the entire town, she said.

A court decision on the Morristown case could be three months in the waiting. According to a September 29 StarLedger report, one Justice involved in the decision, Gary S. Stein, said about the Morristown community, “It’s hard for me to fault the

city for its efforts.” However, he added, “It’s hard for me to imagine they could not refine the assessment system and see if SIDs could do a better job of allocating costs.”

Ms. Peterson said her DNJ organization is “just kind of waiting to see what happens.” Evidently, if the courts should declare the SID tax “illegal” in the Morristown decision, improvement districts statewide would be hit by the fallout.

“It seems unlikely,” Ms. Peterson claimed, “there is a need for the SIDs.”

Westfield’s SID tax amounts to about 30 cents on $100 of assessed commercial property, according to the town Tax Collector’s Office. For example, if a building at 50 Elm Street in the downtown is assessed at $386,000 the SID tax amounts to $1,158 a year on top of the $15,362 town tax bill.

Westfield business and property owner Joe Spector, Chairman of the SID Board of Directors, agreed that for a smaller property in the downtown, the SID tax would run between $1,500 and $2,000 a year.


Council Members Differ On Allocation of Parks Funding

Sycamore Park” by completing the upgrades as proposed.

Councilman McDermott noted that by completing a few projects instead of partially funding a wide range of proposals, the town can begin setting standards for town parks by bringing the fields up to snuff.

“I think if we can do field by field and do it correctly, I think we can eliminate problems further down the road,” Councilman McDermott explained. He said now that the town had found a “match” for town funds to complete Sycamore improvements, the council “would be losing a great opportunity” to complete the work.

“I just think there are other more pressing needs — like the Gumbert bathrooms,” responded Councilman Walsh.

Mayor Jardim said it would be a “very, very large mistake” for the council not to fund the Gumbert improvements.

The projects in Mr. McDermott’s plan received the support of the Westfield Recreation Commission Monday night.

However, Democrats on the council, led by Democratic Third Ward Councilman John J. Walsh, a member of the committee, supports spreading the funds to additional requests from the community, including new bathrooms at Gumbert Park.

Westfield Baseball League (WBL) President Nick Gismondi, who attended the meeting with several other league representatives, told the council that bathrooms at Gumbert are “not a luxury, they are necessity.”

Councilman Walsh said the field has never had bathrooms and that portable toilets were vandalized and burnt to the ground earlier this year. The field is used primarily for league baseball games.

Mr. Gismondi said the league fears that if it does not receive funding from the parks and fields program, residents, knowing of the availability of the “pocket park funds,” will be reluctant to give donations during the league’s fundraising drive.

The WBL has also sought storage space and a concession stand along with additional fencing to protect pedestrians from foul balls hit out of the two fields.

Third Ward Councilman Sullivan, in support of improvements at Sycamore, said that with plans to scrap the use of Memorial Park, other “out of circulation” fields will end up taking “more of the pounding” by organized sporting events. He said the Sycamore improvements have been before the council “for many, many years.”

Councilman McDermott proposes to spend $60,000 of the county’s

matching grant funds for sprinkler and irrigation systems as well as the grading and seeding of the field.

Mr. McDermott claimed sprinkler systems do not work well because they need constant maintenance and must be turned on and off. Town Engineer and Director of Public Works Kenneth B. Marsh said he has not heard of any “unusual” problems with these systems, noting that the system was installed at Houlihan Field.

The council authorized the other half of the estimated $120,000 in improvements during capital budget meetings earlier in the year. Another $55,000, split between town and county funds, would pay for a picnic shelter at Tamaques.

Another $25,000, split between county and town funds, would go towards improving the condition of the playing fields. The park is used for baseball, softball (men’s and women’s leagues), and football.

Mr. Walsh’s report does not include the Tamaques Park improvements. The report instead focuses on funding the Gumbert bathrooms, planting additional trees at Clark Park along with additional benches, shrubs and plaques at an estimate of $10,000.

He suggests another $10,000 to be spent on a proposal by the Rake and Hoe Club for “touch and scent garden” at the corner of Rahway Avenue and Shadowlawn Drive geared for the handicapped including wheelchairbound persons. The club has estimated a total cost of $20,000.

Councilwoman Walsh’s recommendations also include $5,000 to complete a “pocket park” on Central Avenue as proposed by former Mayor Raymond Stone. The final $5,000 would be earmarked for creation of a park on townowned land at the corner of Waterson Street and Rahway Avenue.

Mr. Robeson was a performing artist and human rights advocate who lived in town during his youth from 1907 to 1910.

Mayor Jardim said failure for the council to fund the park would be “a real opportunity missed.”

Fourth Ward Councilman Lawrence A. Goldman said he believes heavy uses of fields in town, such as sports organizations, should pay per use, to help maintain the fields.

The Mayor said he would like funds also set aside for the repair of the concrete overlook at Mindowaskin Park. The entire project proposed by the Friends of Mindowaskin Park is estimated to cost $125,000. Mayor Jardim said he would like the council to fund around $25,000 of the cost to help the Friends’ fundraising efforts. that members of the child study teams

were sent out to evaluate the situation. But, angry grumbles and responses of “no’s” from parents at the board meeting indicated that this was not done to their satisfaction.

Dr. Foley turned to the issue of the $11.7 bond referendum proposed by the board to improve schools in the Westfield school district to ease the enrollment crisis, maintenance problems and technology needs.

He noted that the Citizen’s Advisory Committee held their final meeting to evaluate bond issues on Sunday, October 4. He stated that their report to the board was filed and the committee will report its findings on Thursday, October 8.

He extended his thanks to the committee for their hard work. “This is a testament to the commitment in this town to try to improve the public schools,” he stated.

Dr. Foley reviewed the importance of the referendum by addressing the enrollment crisis.

“We continue to expect high elementary school enrollment and in higher grades,” he said.

He also noted that the issue of enrollment is a concern at the special education level due to increased enrollment in the schools. He noted that when the last bond was up for review by the board, “the board rightfully took a conservative point of view (with regard to enrollment), but it is not enough.”

Dr. Foley addressed the needs of maintenance issues. He cited the fiveyear facilities committee report regarding the maintenance needs.

“As we balance the educational needs of the district, we could not fund the necessary projects. We simply did not have the money,” he explained.

Dr. Foley noted the technological needs of the schools.

“Schools are not wired or connected. What we need to do is to provide an infrastructure. Buying new computers is not part of this bond, but wiring. We lack that framework, that fundamental structure. That is what we are faced with in this referendum. We simply do not have the money to do it,” he stressed.

He noted that he hopes that by 2000, classrooms will be online. He concluded that this technological improvement would not happen without a referendum elected prior to the end of this school year.

“A lot of work has gone into this. I think it is time we come to a decision,” Dr. Foley.

Dr. Foley later stated, “This is a great school system. We (the board) care very deeply about it. If we do not have necessary space, how can we keep the level of quality and standards?”

Mrs. Puleio noted that the referendum would not restore fine arts in the elementary schools by providing art and music classrooms.

Board Member Susan L. Jacobson added, “We are wise to not include art and music in the bond because people felt we didn’t need to spend money on that (in the last bond). Hopefully, someday down the road we can do something.”

The board will meet this evening at 8 p. m. in Cafeteria B of Westfield High School at 550 Dorian Road to solely address the bond issue. The board will vote on whether or not to proceed with pursuing the referendum for public vote in December.

Mrs. Puleio stated that the Long Range Planning Committee will meet on Thursday, October 15, to discuss the intermediate schools and high school.

Board Member Arlene Gardner announced that the Policies Committee will meet on Tuesday, October 13. Mrs. Jacobson noted that the Finance Committee will meet soon to discuss the upcoming budget for next year in order to prepare it for presentation.

Under finance items, the board rejected a bid for an elevator addition at the Westfield Board of Education Administration Building on Elm Street. The bid was rejected because it was estimated over the board’s specified amount. The board will revisit the issue at its first November board meeting.

The board also decided to table the issue of a contract between the Board of Education and Union County Educational Services Commission for the rental of Lincoln School for the period of July 1, 1999 to June 30, 1999 at a rental of $122,200. This issue was also tabled at the August 31 board meeting.

The contract, which was arranged for a oneyear lease, is being considered for a threeyear agreement.


School Board Addresses Backlog on Special Ed.

Mr. Mahoney interjected by saying, “how do you enforce a woodpile — send an inspector to measure its height every day?”

With that, the board moved to approve this application contingent upon four conditions.

One of the sheds must be completely removed from the property; the wood pile is to be moved and placed five feet from the property line of the subdivided lot; the wood pile must not be higher than six feet, and trees must be planted along the lot line between Mr. Alpern’s property and the new property for screening and buffering purposes. The tree line should extend to where the remaining shed will be placed, board members determined.

In an interview with The Westfield Leader the following day, Don Villane said, “We are not protesting this site; we are all for new construction, but my family and I own 10plus lots located directly behind and diagonal to the proposed new lot, and we are protecting our own interests,” Don Villane said afterwards.

Mr. Alpern is expected to comply with any future ordinance regulating woodpiles.


Planning Bd. Approves Subdivision;
Copyright 1999 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood