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BOE supporter says , if don’t like the high taxes move to Texas

Ridgewood_BOE_theridgewoodblog

if you can’t handle Ridgewood’s tax burden, then i suggest you MOVE. nobody is holding a gun to your head to live here. if you don’t want to pay state income taxes or don’t want to deal with high property taxes go to Texas!

if you can’t pay our taxes then you’re clearly too poor to be living in ridgewood.

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Valley expansion plan under fire

Valley_Hospital_theridgewoodblog

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Valley expansion plan under fire

Saturday, March 22, 2008
Last Updated Saturday March 22, 2008, EDT 9:48 AMBY BOB GROVESThe cost of Valley Hospital’s proposed expansion would threaten Ridgewood’s taxpayers and the future of the facility, critics charged.

Valley’s $750 million plan to replace two of its older buildings with three new ones over the next decade could balloon, with interest, to $1 billion — and that would require the hospital to earn an additional $40 million a year for 25 years to pay it off, said Paul Gould. He is a member and spokesman of Concerned Residents of Ridgewood, a neighborhood group that has opposed Valley’s expansion plans for months.

“Where will it come from?” Gould said. “Will we end up with another Pascack Valley?” The Westwood hospital went bankrupt and closed last year after building a $50 million addition.

On the contrary, Valley’s plan “is vital to its success,” said Maureen Curran Kleinman, a hospital spokeswoman.

“If Valley is not allowed to renew over time, we will not be the hospital that the community will choose for its medical care in the future,” Kleinman said in a statement. “It will impede our ability to attract the best physicians and staff, and the hospital would be at risk of facing the same unfortunate fate as Pascack Valley and many other New Jersey hospitals that have been forced to close their doors.”

The Ridgewood Planning Board is deciding whether to approve separate requests, by Valley and by Concerned Residents, for changes in the village’s hospital zone ordinances and master plan. Those changes would either allow the hospital to expand or preserve the surrounding neighborhood.

Beyond financial concerns about the hospital’s plan, Gould and other members of his group worry how much Valley’s expansion would cost the village.

“Taxpayers would absorb the additional infrastructure costs of roads, fire and police, which are paid for by the residents of Ridgewood,” he said.

If, for example, Valley increased its occupancy rate from its current 87 percent to 100 percent, to help pay for the expansion, that could add 80,000 car trips on village streets to the hospital per year, on top of 600,000 vehicle visits already made there annually, Gould said.

While other area hospitals have expanded or renovated in recent years, Valley’s $750 million plan is one of the most ambitious.

Gould’s group is worried that Valley will suffer the same fate as Pascack Valley, which succumbed to a $100 million annual debt after it opened an addition. The hospital closed in November.

“We do not want another bankrupt hospital,” Gould told the Planning Board during a public hearing this week.

But Valley officials say the hospital is not in financial danger.

Valley would finance the first phase of its expansion, estimated at $420 million, through tax-exempt bonds, fund-raising and existing cash, “as is typical financing for not-for-profit hospital projects,” Kleinman said.

Even after the project is complete, Valley’s debt will be “manageable and moderate in comparison to other hospitals,” Kleinman said.

Gould conceded that Valley “is very profitable today,” he said. At a time when many of the state’s hospitals are struggling financially, Valley hospital has $225 million in cash and investments and a $46 million debt, according to tax filings. Revenue increases by 8 percent each year, Gould said.

But to pay for the hospital to pay for the expansion, Gould said, net patient revenue would have to increase by an additional 8 percent a year. How will the hospital do that when it’s only adding three more beds to its current 451? he asked.

Valley officials have repeatedly said their building plan is being done to bring the hospital up to modern medical standards, not to bring in more patients. Will the hospital have to increase what it charges patients? the neighborhood group asked.

“Valley’s charges are among the absolute lowest of any hospital in the state,” Kleinman said. “Even after the project is in place we will still have charges well below other hospitals in New Jersey.”

The neighborhood group also claims that the Planning Board, through its attorney and other professional advisers, has already been negotiating with Valley officials about some terms of the expansion before it has been approved.

David Nicholson, chairman of the Planning Board, said its professionals had met with Valley officials, but denied that they had “negotiated” any of the proposal.

“The implication that this matter is already decided is simply not true,” Nicholson said.

Kleinman said the hospital met with village professionals to discuss the hospital ordinance and make a recommendation to the Planning Board, but not to negotiate terms of the proposed expansion.

E-mail: [email protected]

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Valley Hospital ‘at a pivotal point’

>Valley Hospital ‘at a pivotal point’

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Last Updated Tuesday March 11, 2008, EDT 9:01 AMBY BOB GROVESThe Valley Hospital needs more space to handle advances in medical technology and provide better patient care, officials said Monday.

“The hospital is at a pivotal point in its history,” Audrey Meyers, Valley’s president and chief executive officer, told the Ridgewood Planning Board. “Valley must be allowed to evolve over time.”

About 200 people, including supporters and opponents of Valley’s expansion plans, attended the public hearing. Valley’s $750 million plan includes adding a parking deck and replacing two buildings with three new ones, increasing the hospital’s size by 67 percent.

Although modern surgery involves less-invasive techniques, it requires bigger equipment than can be accommodated by Valley’s existing operating rooms, Meyers said. Under the plan, Valley would add just three beds to its existing 451 beds, but the hospital wants to make all its room private in keeping with current standards of care, Meyers said.

The population of Valley’s service area is relatively stable and expected to grow by only 4 percent in the next 10 years, she said. “The demand for change at Valley will be driven by changes in technology and patient care delivery,” she said.

Opponents say the proposed 80-foot-tall hospital buildings don’t belong in the residential neighborhood because they would overshadow homes as well as Benjamin Franklin Middle School.

Answering concerns by nearby residents that the expansion would increase traffic, Meyers said that the hospital’s nine off-site facilities have already eliminated more than 673,000 car trips per year to the hospital’s main campus.

Tuesday night’s special Planning Board meeting at George Washington Middle School was its fourth public hearing on Valley’s proposal.

The next meeting will take place next Tuesday, when Concerned Residents of Ridgewood, a group that opposes the hospital’s plan, will make their arguments before the Planning Board.

In January, the residents group applied to amend the village Master Plan and its hospital zone ordinance to “limit its impact on the community and preserve the village’s residential character.” The group also asked the Village Council and the Planning Board to amend the ordinance to change the minimum distance — from the current 40 feet, to a proposed 80 feet — that hospital buildings must be set back from North Van Dien and Linwood Avenues.

“We want further clarification about whether the hospital has changed any of its positions from 12 months ago — particularly the magnitude and scale of the proposed development — following the public outcry,” Paul Gould, a member of the group, said before the meeting.

David Nicholson, chairman of the Planning Board, said the board would consider the request by the hospital and concerned residents “as legitimate and equal” and will consider them simultaneously. “The board will then make its decision whether it will consider any changes — one or the other or one of our own devising — to the ordinances,” he said. “My hope is we will make a decision by the end of April.”

E-mail: [email protected]

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Wheres the Beef?

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>NEWS FROM THE ED CENTER via rps eNews

Beef Recall Update The RPS district is in regular communication with Pomptonian, our food services provider, about the NJ Department of Agriculture beef recall.

Until the recall has been fully satisfied, the district has elected to remove beef from all K-12 menus.

The Right Gift at the Right Price

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Valley Executives on “Schmooze Patrol”

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Susan Sherrill, Editor of The Ridgewood News, photographed at a recent social event with Audrey Meyers and Megan Fraser of The Valley Hospital. This photograph appears on page 136 of the most recent “201 Magazine.”

The Fly wonders if Ms. Meyers, The Valley’s President and CEO, and Ms. Fraser, her Director of Marketing and Public Relations, were trying to ensure favorable print media coverage of The Valley’s Renewal Plan.

A picture is indeed worth one thousand words . .

1-800-FLOWERS.COM

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Reader says ,Sorry Charlie ……

BOE_theridgewoodblog

>Charlie, you’re perspectives are reasonably well stated, but are unfortunately hopelessly outdated. I rarely derive much insight from your comments. Usually, you just come off sounding like a sycophant.

Years of stone-faced neglect and brainless posturing on the part of the Ridgewood district’s BOE have led us to the current curriculum crisis. In no small part, this is due to people, like yourself, who fail to take seriously the role a BOE trustee fills in seeing to it that the school district serves the interests of its residents and taxpayers, and those interests only.

The Ridgewood district does not exist to provide Assistant Superintendent Botsford with a big-budget playground to conduct her constructivist experiments, or to curry favor with Pearson Publishing, or to scoop up a fancy doctorate degree from Montclair State University, or to hold great sway when she jets down to the Big Easy to provide lectures to like-minded curriculum development administrators, as she plans to do next month.

There’s no question you have a right to speak your mind. And the fact that you tend to do so in complete sentences places you a cut above many who frequent this board. But for once, could you take a breather from your single minded support of the current BOE trustees? Even if they are comfortable having you as their sole defender in the Village of Ridgewood, which I tend to doubt, you should let them speak for themselves. In consideration of the upcoming election involving the seats currently held by Ms. Brogan and Mr. Bombace, I would much rather hear a straightforward defense/explanation of the BOE’s recent actions/inactions coming from the respective mouths of these two incumbents, or even from Ms. Brogan’s buddy Laurie Goodman, than to continue to be lectured by you.

1-800-FLOWERS.COM

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The Now Infamous Letter ?

>This is NOT PJ’s comment, but MY comment, which you can see posted under the headline “Pro BOE reader…”I DID NOT address the comment as “Hello Everyone” – this intro was inserted by PJ.MY intro was “Hey, bbwool,” responding to bbwool’s accusation. So my “basically” pokes fun at his use of the word “basically.” And, of course,the “lie” refers to what bbwool claimed and the liar is, of course, bbwool.thanks a bunch, pj, for making it look like i was calling “everyone” a liar.

*My mistake PJ

Hello Everybody .

I found that letter from Frances to Brooks and she DID NOT tell him not to come. so what YOU said was…ummm…”basically” a lie. which makes you “basically” a liar.

in fact, she gave him a heads up on the math discussion in our district. furthermore, her polite communication enabled Brooks to respond in kind. it gave him a chance to publicly explain his position and i must say, he did it well and graciously.

bbwool, why did you say the Ridgewood Blog “proudly” posted her letter but not tell us the whole truth, that it also posted Brooks’ response??

but hey, everyone, you don’t have to take MY word for it because here is the parent’s letter and Brooks’ response from the May 9, 2007 blog:

“Dr. Mr. Brooks,

I am a Ridgewood parent of three children in our public schools and I, like many others here, have been made aware of your pending position as our new superintendent. Our Board may not have advised you of this, but you should be aware of the present climate in our district with regard to the “Investigation” math curriculum. Several articles and ‘letters to the editor’ have appeared in our local paper over recent weeks. If the Board kept you in the dark with regard to this protracted circumstance, there may be little left for you to do but to give it your deepest contemplation. The link below is but a sample of the present discussion underway.

Respectfully,
Frances”

http://www.lindamoran.net/blog_teen/2007/04/the_disaster_at_plainview_old.html

“Dear Ms. Edwards:

Thanks for this note. I’d like to make a few comments about the link you attached. The math wars, like the whole language wars of the past decade, are based on a false dichotomy: traditional education v. progressive education. Good instruction focuses on the needs of the child – every child, one by one – and no one approach meets the needs of all children.

The math issue is interesting in that the battle seems to be pitched around algorithmic fluency v. conceptual understanding. They are not mutually exclusive. Both are essential for mathematically literacy. Students who learn algorithms procedurally without conceptual understanding aren’t truly fluent because although they are able to answer questions correctly on tests (when the questions are posed in the precise format the students are used to seeing), they often have difficulty knowing whether to (and how to) apply that algorithm to new and different situations. Teaching for conceptual understanding helps children develop efficient strategies for computing. Understanding the concept that underlies the algorithm helps students know how and when to apply it, helping them to become more proficient in solving new, differently presented problems and/or more complex problems.

Programs don’t teach children, teachers do. Good teachers vary their instruction – and their materials – based on student response.

Respectfully,
Marty Brooks”

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2007 – The year of embattled Superintendents

>It’s only June and four public school superintendents in our area have already gone down for the count. What’s the rest of 2007 likely to bring?

Here’s the scorecard thus far:

Brooks, Marty – Ridgewood; parental dissatisfaction with TERC – declined to accept position

Calabro, Joanne – Fort Lee; plagiarized speech to National Honor Society students – contract not renewed

Dime, Janis – Paramus; tainted soil cover up – out on paid administrative leave

Nuccetelli, Maria – Wayne; clash over management style with BOE – contract not renewed

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Who were the other candidates for Superintendent?

>The Fly is curious. Has anyone filed an OPRA yet to determine the names of candidates #2 & #3? Were any internal candidates being considered? Reportedly, there were over 30 applicants.

It’s difficult to believe that BOE members are going to appoint another interim Super instead of just tapping the next person on their list. Could it be that Marty Brooks was the only candidate they ever looked at?

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Brooks Declines Ridgewood Superintendency

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From the Village Website!!!

Brooks Declines Ridgewood Superintendency

Dr. Martin Brooks has informed the Ridgewood Board of Education that because of personal reasons he will not accept the Superintendency in Ridgewood. It is the position of the Board that before Dr. Brooks’ arrival he was made to feel unwelcome. Anonymous phone calls, emails, blogs, and web postings by some community members questioned his integrity, ethics and educational philosophy. The Board considers this to be a most unfortunate situation for the Village and schools. It is not reflective of Ridgewood’s supportive community and its values.After an extensive nine-month process, using criteria and specifications developed in collaboration with the community, the Board selected Dr. Brooks to be the next superintendent. Some in the community took exception to the Board’s decision and have undermined the process.At its June 18, 2007, meeting, the Board will discuss the hiring of an interim superintendent and the initiation of a second superintendent search. As always, the Board will continue to focus on the education of more than 5,600 students in the Ridgewood Public School system.