Friday, January 4, 2013
Two current and two new members take oaths of office.
The Westfield Board of Education welcomed four newly-elected members at Thursday evening's organization meeting. Current members Richard Mattessich and Gretchan Ohlig were re-elected to three-year terms as was newcomer Lucy Biegler. Joining them is Brendan Galligan, the youngest Board member to serve in decades, who will fulfill the one-year term left vacant by Julia Walker, which Ohlig was appointed to in January 2012. The four took their oaths of office just prior to the 7:30 p.m. start of the meeting. Following the November election in which all four candidates ran uncontested, Ohlig told Patch, "I am tremendously excited for the next three years on the Board of Education. I'm grateful to have a running start to my new term and look …
Friday, December 14, 2012
Mattessich says author presented information intended to sway public without all the facts.
Westfield Board of Education President Richard Mattessich took a moment near the end of Tuesday evening's public Board meeting to address an editorial written by the staff of The Westfield Leader regarding the $13.6 million bond referendum that was voted on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The piece was published in the Dec. 6 edition of the weekly paper. Mattessich read his statement just an hour before votes were tallied. The bond referendum passed: 2,700 to 1,503. He began by saying he realized that there are residents in the community who will never vote "yes" for any referendum that would result in an increase in taxes and while that is fine, he took issue with was someone trying to sway public opinion by misusing his position. Mattessich said he …
Friday, December 7, 2012
Richard Mattessich says "we can't afford... to simply harp on the past."
Friday, December 7, 2012
On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, voters will be asked whether they want to fund a bond referendum in the amount of $13.6 million for roofs. Many in the community agree with the Board of Education that roofs are a necessity and understand that they need to pay for them. There is disagreement over how roofs should be paid for – bond referendum or reallocation of the existing operating budget. What we really can’t afford to do right now is to simply harp on the past. My view, and I have stated it many times publicly, is that we need to bond the roofs today, and we need to make sure we don’t find ourselves in the same position the next time roofs (or other large projects) need replacement. Let me explain those two positions. First – we need to …
Monday, November 5, 2012
The Westfield Public Schools will remain CLOSED ON TUESDAY, November 6, 2012.
A decision will be made regarding Wednesday, November 7, 2012 sessions no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday evening. The following buildings remain without power: Washington Elementary; Wilson Elementary; Elm Street Administrative offices. Jefferson Elementary (600 Boulevard) remains open as a warming center for those without heat. Schools were closed Monday, November 5, 2012, and will remain closed Tuesday, November 6, 2012, due to safety concerns for those travelling to and from the schools, given the number of power lines that remain down and the number of loose branches hanging over streets and sidewalks. The Board of Education will request a safety reassessment from Town safety officials later in the day on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, and …
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Nine candidates will be present for their interviews during the board's public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
The Westfield Board of Education will not videotape its Tuesday, Jan. 3 public meeting in which the Board will interview the nine candidates who have applied to fill the seat vacated by former BOE President Julia Walker. "The Board considered the value of videotaping and the impact it may have on the candidates," said BOE President Richard Mattessich. "We will be asking several questions in a limited amount of time and we would like the candidates to be able to work through their responses without the added distraction. "Unlike Candidates' Night where all citizens vote on candidates and it is important to provide the additional forum of video, the benefit here is limited. All members of the public are, of course, welcome to join us on …
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Walker asked entire board to read statement.
In a change from previous years, Board of Education President Julia Walker changed the practice for the annual reading of the Board of Education ethics statement. Earlier this year, Walker had the entire board read the statement instead of reading it alone. Walker said that she believed this would allow the entire board to understand the meaning of the statement. Check out video.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Board votes to spend over $500,000 of bonus state aid on new teachers and technology.
The Board of Education approved the use of bonus state aid for hiring purposes, defeating a tax relief proposal for the second straight meeting. The board approved spending $586,500 of the $845,449 in bonus aid that Gov. Chris Christie gave the school system on July 13 for personnel hiring and technology upgrades. The decision followed a recommendation from Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan to spend the funds in this direction. With Dolan and board members noting they want to deliver tax relief as part of the 2012-2013 school budget, the board adopted the plan Dolan delivered. She said the plan was developed based on pressing enrollment needs and keeping class sizes down in the elementary grades. Dolan’s recommendations included: Dolan…
Monday, July 18, 2011
Board places extra state aid in budget, to make final decision at future meeting.
The Board of Education punted a final decision on whether or not to use additional state aid for property tax relief or additional spending in the school district. The BOE voted during an emergency meeting late Friday afternoon to designate the additional $845,448 in state aid for inclusion in the 2011-2012 school budget, but deferred decisions on the exact spending and left open the door for using part or all of the funds for property tax relief. The board, which officially learned of the additional aid authorized by Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday, learned Thursday that they had to make a final decision on possibly using the funds for immediate property tax relief before Tuesday afternoon. Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf …
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Board members offer individual proposals not adopted in consensus.
The Board of Education’s brainstorming session to create new district goals included several proposals from board members on a variety of issues, which were discussed during the consensus discussion and were noted to be important. District officials said the other proposals were not off the table and would be looked at during the school year. Here is a list of proposals mentioned during the meeting based on the BOE member who made the proposal. Ginny Leiz – Gifted and Talented/Finances and Facilities Leiz proposed a focus on the district’s gifted and talented program, including a look at the offerings at WHS. She said this could include a study of the exact program and if changes are needed in the program. She said one area could be …
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Board of Education briefed on intermediate school enrollment.
Amid calls for more transparency and doing more for children, school district officials presented data Tuesday evening endorsing the redistricting of Washington School. Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan’s report on intermediate school enrollment showcased enrollment totals for Roosevelt and Edison Intermediate Schools which shows the two schools close to capacity entering the third year of the redistricting. The Board of Education voted in 2009 to redistrict part of the Washington neighborhood from Roosevelt to Edison, a vote confirmed in December of 2010, following an order from the state education commissioner. The redistricting, one of the most controversial decisions in BOE history, touched off a firestorm of opposition from …