Posted on

We have a Race for the Ridgewood School Board

BOE_theridgewoodblog

August 2,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, looks like Ridgewood and Glen Rock will  both have contested school board races in the 2018 . As previously reported on the Ridgewood blog Monday July 30th was the deadline for candidates to file to run for a board seat in November.

In the Village of Ridgewood, there is a contested race for the one three-year term. Cristopher Kaufman  has taken up the challenge ,running against incumbent President of the BOE Vincent Loncto .

Loncto a former chief financial officer was sworn in as the Boards choice in 2011 after board member Charles Reilly resigned earlier that year. Loncto was picked as a replacement to finish out Reilly’s term because of his strong financial background.

Kaufman we are told is running on the “Commitment-Understanding-Respect” slogan.

In Glen Rock, five people are currently vying for three, three-year terms. The candidates running are: Sharon Scarpelli, Bryon Torsiello, Gregory S. Franz, Robert C. Scherer, and Alisa Svider.

Posted on

Ridgewood School Board Election Debate Moves to the Village Council

July 18,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, While the tone deaf Ridgewood School Board has continued to reject the idea , the Village Council is considering moving the Board of Education election back to April so that residents once again have a say on the school budget process.

According to local resident Steve Kim , “The cost of the budget vote is less than $2 per resident per year. You can maybe buy a cheeseburger at McD for that price. Turnout (measured by votes cast) has not been any better in November vs April.April gives us the budget vote. The poll is the most straightforward and democratic way for the residents to express their views. It’s a good way to have an added control, a sanity check, on the $110,000,000+ budget.”

The Village Council discussed moving the election in order to give people a chance to vote on how their tax dollars are spent.”It is time we talked about it,” , said Mayor Ramon Hache. The Ridgewood Council intends to exercise its authority to move the Ridgewood Board of Education elections back to April, restoring the public vote on the school budget. Mark your calendar for Village Council meeting July 18.

The Mayor said the matter would be discussed at the Village Council’s next meeting Wednesday. Members of the Board of Education have been invited to attend the meeting Wednesday.

The Ridgewood Board of Education approved a massive $110 million budget for the 2018-19 school year,  with a 4.3% increase including  and nearly $95 million local tax levy.

Under a state law that went into effect in 2012, a local board of education or municipal governing body could decide to move their municipality’s school board election from April to November. Doing so meant residents lost the ability to approve their school district’s budget for that coming year as long as the budget remains until the state-mandated 2 percent increase cap.

Posted on

Ridgewood School Board Responds to Calls to Move BOE Elections to April

cottageplaceBOE_theridgewoodblog

Hope you are enjoying a pleasant summer! On July 10 the Board of Ed sent the following letter to the community regarding the Annual School Election:

Dear Community Members,

On July 3rd, Heather Mailander, Village Manager, notified us by e-mail that the Village Council would be discussing moving the Board of Education election from November to April at their July 11th meeting and at their July 18th meeting they may consider adoption of a resolution to change the election date effective April, 2019.

The Board of Education supports the idea of engaging the public in discussions on moving the Board elections from November to April. However, we believe that it is a discussion that should take place at our Board of Education meetings this Fall, after our residents have returned from summer vacation.
In order to move a School Board election from November to April, notice must be given to the county clerk no less than 85 days prior to the third Tuesday in April to take effect for that year’s election. That would be January 21, 2019. Therefore, there is sufficient time for us to thoughtfully consider this change and to provide adequate time to collect input from our residents.

By way of background:

In the past, School Board elections and budget approvals were conducted in April every year.

On January 17, 2012 Governor Christie signed legislation that permitted communities to move the April annual school board member election to November, while, at the same time eliminating the vote on a district’s proposed budget so long as that is at or below the tax levy cap, including defined allowable waivers. School districts that voted to move their elections to November were prohibited from moving the election back to April until four November School elections had occurred. In 2016, the state extended that moratorium by two years. That moratorium expired May 31, 2018.

The Ridgewood Board of Education originally refrained from moving our election to November until almost two years after the law permitting us to do so had passed, preferring to observe the impact of this law across the state. After discussing this issue at several public meetings during 2013, and after publishing multiple articles in The Ridgewood News encouraging the public to provide feedback, we elected, in a 4-1 vote, to move the election in our public meeting of November 18, 2013.

Currently, a total of 528 or 97% of the New Jersey school districts have moved their annual school election from April to November, and only15, or 3% hold their annual school election in April. Only 5 of Bergen County’s 76 districts vote in April.

The major reasons considered by the Board for moving the election to November were as follows:

● Declining voter participation rate in the April elections. In April 2013, voter turnout hit an historic low with fewer than thirteen percent of voters casting a ballot. We believed that voter participation would increase if the school election were combined with the general election.

● Election costs. The district has saved over $43,000 per annum by combining the school election with the general election in the Fall. The Board has not been assessed any costs associated with the November elections.

● During the period in which we held our public discussions, we received a small number of emails and only eight members of the public spoke at public comment on the issue of moving the election. Three favored moving the election to November, four did not, and one was non-commital.

● And finally, moving the election to November brought the budget approval process in line with the way all New Jersey municipalities, counties, and the state decide on their budgets.

We on the Board look forward to speaking further with the public about this important issue this Fall.

Sincerely,

The Ridgewood Board of Education Members

Posted on

Ridgewood Board of Education Meeting June 4th

Ridgewood_BOE_theridgewoodblog

June 3,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, At all regular meetings, two opportunities are provided for citizens to make comments. The public comment periods will be scheduled after presentations and approximately 9:00 p.m. or just prior to the end of the meeting, whichever occurs first. The first opportunity may be limited by the presiding officer to conclude at about 8:00 p.m. in order for the Board to continue with its scheduled agenda. The second opportunity will occur at about 9:00 p.m. at the discretion of the presiding officer taking into consideration a break point in the agenda.

At every opportunity for public comment, citizens are invited to comment on subjects on the agenda or general topics.
At the discretion of the presiding officer, public comments may be permitted at other times.

Persons wishing to speak must, upon being recognized, rise, sign in, and state their names and addresses. Each speaker shall be limited to four minutes. The Board Recorder will note the time. A speaker who has not finished in the allotted time will be directed by the presiding officer to summarize quickly and relinquish the floor within 30 seconds.

Comments shall be limited to issues. If personal remarks or discourteous statements are made, the presiding officer shall require the speaker to stop. No person will be recognized for a second time until all others asking to speak have been heard.

AGENDA https://www.ridgewood.k12.nj.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=15287018

BOARD OF EDUCATION Ridgewood, New Jersey
JUNE 4, 2018 Education Center
Executive Session 6:30 p.m.
Regular Public Meeting 7:30 p.m.

Posted on

PARCC Refuseniks Face Major Set back

April 20, 2011 John de Rosier editorial cartoon

May 24,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, from “It takes  a Ridgewood Village Facebook page ;

“Please join me in contacting Mr. Jeffrey Hauger, Director of the Office of Assessments for the NJ State Department of Education as we have just been notified that students in the class of 2020 no longer meet graduation requirements if they did not take the PARCC this year. The previous requirements meant that if you took the PARCC ELA Grade 9 and PARCC Algebra 1 and passed, you had met the requirements.

The Department of Education did not notify RHS of the updated requirements until after our tests were already administered, forcing them to be partially re-administered next week. Our school has tried unsuccessfully to appeal this decision and it has been denied. I have many issues with this test, but I really have an issue with them continually adjusting their requirements. Enough. He can be reached at 609-376-3960 or [email protected]

Posted on

Reader says Expect a move to expand the schools, with its resulting new bond to raise the money

kindergarten-cop-comedy

For details on the misinformation about the effects of additional apartments in Ridgewood, all you have to do is examine the poorly supported assumptions used in the decision to move to full day kindergarten. The town relied on a study (contracted for by developers) that concluded, with no real evidence, that the additional housing would bring no more than 50 students into the school system. The school board then argued that with 50 new students, the district would have roughly 4 additional students per grade. They did not look at existing apartments to get a sense of students per unit. The number 50 probably is a very low figure. Look at your own neighborhood to see the ages of kids when new families move to town. The distribution is not even across the ages. There is a high percent of kindergarten or younger students in new arrivals. It is rare that a new junior or senior arrives. The majority of new students in the first year will be in kindergarten, creating a bubble of overcrowding, one that will move through the schools and which will be continued as younger siblings move into the school system. Rather than 4 new students in kindergarten, we are more likely to see 15 or 20, based on past experience. The rooms do not exist for an additional kindergarten room or for anywhere near that many additional students in the existing classrooms. Expect a move to expand the schools, with its resulting new bond to raise the money.

Posted on

Members of the Ridgewood Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Fishbein will host residents for coffee and casual conversation on Monday, May 14 from 7-8:30 p.m

Dan Fishbein 10

New Date for Coffee & Conversation is May 14

May 9,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, Members of the Ridgewood Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Fishbein will host residents for coffee and casual conversation on Monday, May 14 from 7-8:30 p.m. Please join them at the Education Center, 49 Cottage Place, Ridgewood. Residents are welcome to drop in and share their thoughts, questions, suggestions and concerns.

Posted on

Ridgewood Board of Education Passes Massive $110,000,000 School Budget

for sale Ridgewood_Real_Estate_theRodgewopodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

May 8,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, as expected the Ridgewood Board of Education passed a massive budget increase of 4.3%, your tax hit is 3.6%. Two members of the board had great suggestions, and the other three don’t seem to care  what public say had to say . All three need to be replaced and have needed replacement for some time .

During the presentation, they basically the BOE took 2% is for granted, but needed to justify 1.62% which is above 2%.
They killed the ridiculous windows project, but replaced it with different capital projects.
James Morgan tabled an amendment to the budget, in which these two newly added items were not a priority, so they can probably wait until the referendum, and let’s keep the budget under 2%. His amendment was defeated 3-2.

They spent a lot of time pretending they were cost focused as usual , which no one believes but frankly its school performance that’s lacking  .

College-Ready Student Performance :
High school students take AP® exams to earn college credit and demonstrate success at college-level course work. U.S. News calculated a College Readiness Index based on AP exam participation rates and percentages of students passing at least one AP exam. The index determined which types of medals (gold, silver or bronze) were awarded to top-performing schools. College Readiness Index 53.6

 

Posted on

Ridgewood Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Set New Date for Coffee & Conversation

coffee_ridgewopodblog

New Date for Coffee & Conversation is May 14

May 2,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Members of the Ridgewood Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Fishbein will host residents for coffee and casual conversation on Monday, May 14 from 7-8:30 p.m. Please join them at the Education Center, 49 Cottage Place, Ridgewood. Residents are welcome to drop in and share their thoughts, questions, suggestions and concerns.

Posted on

Reader says the teachers’ current contract is almost up. I would expect job actions to begin sometime next year in anticipation of a new round of negotiations

Ridgewood Teachers

This post is not appropriate for a public forum. We can disagree without name calling and snarky remarks about our neighbors. The level of anger and nastiness in all debates in Ridgewood is over the top. Our current council election is a disgrace. I feel terrible for Mayor Knudsen and will definitely not be voting for her opponents given the sleazy and dishonest statements that they are circulating about her.
As for the school board – newcomers to the school budget woes need to take a step back and educate themselves about how we got here. It is not the fault of the the 5 volunteers who have run unopposed for the last few elections because no one wants that thankless job. You should be thanking them – not abusing them.
If you really want to know how we got here go back 2 years to the last teacher contract negotiation. This board held the line against unreasonable teacher demands as long as they could. Over a year, and in the face of destructive job actions that impacted kids in the schools every day. In the end the dispute went to a state mediator who pretty much gave the teachers what they wanted.
So if you really want to stop this from happening again, stop wasting your time beating up on these people and educate yourself on the state contract resolution process. Take your concerns to your state legislators. Because the teachers’ current contract is almost up. I would expect job actions to begin sometime next year in anticipation of a new round of negotiations.