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Schepisi: Murphy’s policies are ‘crushing’ the middle-class

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file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

River Vale NJ, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi speaks with reporters at a press conference on Feb. 14, 2019, about why public opinion polls increasingly show that Gov. Phil Murphy is taking New Jersey in the wrong direction.

Schepisi says, “We must work together, put aside partisan posturing and implement policies to ensure affordability for the middle class. NJ’s tax increases and Governor Murphy’s policies are crushing our middle class.”

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Court Ordered over development Scam Facing Bergen County

CBD high density housing

May 8,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

River Vale NJ, Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi laid out the forced court ordered over development facing Bergen County :

This is what is happening all over the State of New Jersey. Over the past several weeks I have spoken with Mayors from all over the State who are begging for help.
I couldn’t agree more with Mayor Keith Misciagna. Our communities are being destroyed by ridiculous over development all throughout the State. A couple of factoids regarding our current regulations:
1. If a suburban community builds affordable housing it is prohibited from giving preference for that housing to its own residents in need. So the divorced single mom who is losing her house, the family who can longer afford their home because of a loss of a job or a medical crisis cannot receive preference for the affordable housing being built or the housing no longer counts for a community fulfilling its obligation.
2. A community may not build more than 25% of the affordable housing in its community for seniors or it “doesn’t count” towards their obligation (and a community cannot give preference to their own seniors who have lived in the community paying taxes). Likewise, a community may not build more than 25% of the affordable housing in its community for those with special needs
3. Any Urban Aid Communities in the State have no obligation to provide ANY further affordable housing. However what would have been their obligation gets divided up and split among the suburban communities. By way of example, Jersey City has given out new construction building permits for over 37,000 units over the past several years. Under the affordable housing guidelines it would have had a obligation to provide approximately 7,000+ units of affordable housing. Jersey City is an Urban Aid community so it has no obligation. However those 7,000 units get split up and sent to our communities.
4. The financing available to communities to build affordable housing through governmental programs was manipulated by the legislature so that 40 percent of all available money MUST GO TO URBAN AID communities which have no affordable housing obligation.
5. There are currently over 40,000 foreclosed homes in this State that could be used as affordable housing but the powers that be refuse to allow them to be counted.
6. Section 8 housing or affordable housing with vouchers has historically not been counted as fulfilling affordable housing obligations in a community.
7. If you are a community trying to recruit business and jobs, you are penalized and your community now gets hit with additional numbers of affordable housing you must provide for in your total calculations.
8. The environmental impacts and a community’s infrastructure, schools, roads, capacity of volunteer services are not permitted to be taken into account under current regulations.
The system is so broken.
Help us fix this. MAKE YOUR VOICES BE HEARD IN TRENTON.

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Glen Rock Police : No matter where we live, no one has the luxury of saying “this is a quiet town and nothing like happens here”.

glen rock police!

A MESSAGE FROM THE GRPD

February 17,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Glen Rock NJ, the Glen Rock Police commented o their Facebook page , “The members of the Glen Rock Police Department extend their deepest sympathies to the community of Parkland Florida. Unfortunately, as we have seen time and time again, schools, religious facilities, shopping malls, night clubs and public buildings continue to be targets of active shooters. No matter where we live, no one has the luxury of saying “this is a quiet town and nothing like happens here”. But this does not mean that we must live in constant fear. We can and will protect ourselves!

In recent years the GRPD has increased training and purchased additional equipment to aid officers in responding to any issue which may arise at our schools and elsewhere in the community. Lessons learned nationwide have shown that local law enforcement needs to be able to respond quickly and cannot wait for assistance to arrive from outside of the community before taking action.

‘Emergency action planning’ and ‘situational awareness’ practices are ever evolving. The GRPD’s training methods, equipment and even uniforms have been modified greatly in recent years as law enforcement adapts to prepare for a potential active shooter response. Like every other law enforcement agency, the GRPD is fully prepared to respond. Likewise, our schools have greatly changed their procedures as well as training for their personnel and drills with students. Our current student body has come up thought their school years with lock-down, hold in place and evacuation drills as common place as fire drills.

What can a private citizen do?
• Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
• Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
• If something seems out of the ordinary, report it!
If there is an active shooter:
• If you are in an office or class room, stay there and secure the door.
• If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
• Immediately take cover (hide behind something hard that will stop or slow bullets), or circumstances permitting, enter an unaffected building.
• In the event neither cover nor entering a building is possible, run in a zig-zag fashion away from the sound of gunfire.
• As a last resort, if you have no avenue of escape, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.
CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!”

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Reader sugests annual “impact fees” for every unit above the usual permitted density

CBD high density housing

Does The garage allows developers to count the parking spaces there as required parking for the new developments? Since we are screwed by former council approvals the only way to cover the added costs of these new units is to charge ongoing annual “impact fees” for every unit above the usual permitted density. If 50 units are built where 25 is the usual permissible then the additional should bee charged for each bedroom multiplied by the cost of annual student expenditure . So if It costs $20,000 per year per student in the BOE budget,, and a unit has 2 bedrooms,then an annual impact fee of $40,0000 plus assessed real estate taxes. So 25 extra units have 50 extra bedroom require $1,000,0000 annual fees to the village.

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Governor Christie Rolls Out His Last Budget

Chris_christie_theridgewoodblog

March 1,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Governor Christie unviels his final budget as governor ;

“This is the ninth time I’ve come before a joint session to address our state’s budget. Each time I’ve had specific goals in mind; guiding principles to follow. Government should get smaller. Taxes shall not be increased. Our core commitments must be met. Each time, with varying degrees of struggle, harmony and acrimony, we have reached these goals – I have stuck to those principles. Let me assure you that today will be no different.

– Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey State Budget Address, February 28, 2017

The Fiscal Year 2018 budget will be the eighth and final state budget of Governor Chris Christie’s tenure. When Governor Christie entered office in 2010, New Jersey was enduring an unprecedented fiscal crisis, with an immediate $2.2 billion mid-year fiscal deficit, as well as an unthinkably large $10.7 billion projected budget gap for Fiscal Year 2011 — more than a third of the prior year’s budget. At that time, it was uncertain whether the State would be able to meet its payroll within two months.

The staggering $13 billion two-year gap represented the culmination of years of reckless tax-and-spend policies and shortsighted budgeting practices that ignored economic realities. While state and national economies faltered, spending in Trenton under the previous administration continued unabated at unsustainable levels — increasing 58 percent from 2001 to 2008. The previous governor’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget was propped up with temporary income tax hikes, corporate surtaxes, reliance on one-time federal stimulus funds, temporary employee furloughs and other desperate gimmicks.

Today, Governor Christie is presenting his eighth consecutive balanced budget built on a foundation of fiscal restraint and responsibility. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget will fund $2 billion less in discretionary spending than was spent in Fiscal Year 2008.

The Governor’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget:

•       Calls for $35.5 billion in State appropriations, a 2.6 percent increase, largely due to non-discretionary costs.
•       Contains $2 billion less in discretionary spending than the Fiscal Year 2008 budget.
•       Includes the largest pension payment in New Jersey history with a $2.5 billion contribution to the State’s defined benefit funds.
o   This will bring total pension contributions by the Christie Administration to $8.8 billion.
o   That will be more than two and a half times the total contributions made by all governors combined during the 16-year period from Fiscal Year 1995 through Fiscal Year 2010.
•       Renews the Governor’s commitment to higher education in New Jersey. Overall, higher education funding is maintained at a total of $2.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2018.
•       Proposes a seventh-consecutive year of the highest amount of school aid supporting Pre-K through Grade 12 education in New Jersey history. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposes more than $13.8 billion for education, an increase of $523.2 million.
•       Provides more than $17 billion in direct and indirect property tax relief, nearly half the total budget, including $13.8 billion in school aid and $1.5 billion in municipal aid.
•       Continues more than $1 billion for direct property taxpayer relief programs:
o   423,300 seniors and citizens with disabilities will receive an average Homestead Benefit of $511, while 169,500 other homeowners earning up to $75,000 will receive an average Homestead Benefit of $397.
o   138,200 seniors and citizens with disabilities will continue receiving Property Tax Freeze benefits averaging $1,401, while 25,100 new beneficiaries will receive their first year of benefits averaging $219.

Investing In New Jersey’s Transportation Infrastructure
Today, Governor Christie proposed a $400 million supplemental appropriation in this Fiscal Year. These funds will be invested and spent quickly over the next 100 days to address bridge deficiencies and road conditions in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Further, these funds will be used to expedite technology enhancements and other infrastructure improvements for New Jersey Transit and will allow the New Jersey Department of Transportation to deliver the largest construction program in state history. The results will be smoother roads, safer bridges and a more technologically sound mass transit system.

In October 2016, Governor Christie signed legislation that reauthorized the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority Act. As a result of that legislation, Governor Christie’s fiscal 2018 budget provides a record $2 billion State Transportation Capital Program. The Program includes over $1.3 billion for State and local highway and bridge projects, and another $677 million for mass transportation projects.

Ensuring Access To Care While Keeping Down Costs
The NJ FamilyCare program currently provides comprehensive health care coverage to more than 1.8 million New Jersey residents at a projected $4.2 billion cost to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The program serves individuals eligible for both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and represents a partnership between the State and the federal government. The NJ FamilyCare program, while having some of the highest income limits in the nation, has traditionally provided health coverage exclusively to low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities. On January 1, 2014, Governor Christie expanded the program, using 100 percent federal funding, to provide health coverage to low-income childless adults.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget represents the fourth full fiscal year of the NJ FamilyCare expansion, and while a fraction of the costs associated with this eligibility group have shifted to the State budget, the expansion continues to represent a tremendous value for New Jersey. Since the Governor’s decision to expand NJ FamilyCare in 2014, an additional 487,000 uninsured New Jersey residents have gained coverage under this program. Not only did this expansion provide reliable medical coverage to many formerly uninsured residents, the infusion of federal dollars has generated meaningful savings to the State budget. Through Fiscal Year 2018, the shift of State costs to the federal government combined with the reduction in demand for Charity Care has resulted in a cumulative savings of $2 billion to the State.

Commitment To World-Class Healthcare
With the goal of ensuring a stable and accessible hospital system that provides care of the highest possible quality, the Department of Health’s budget makes significant investments in three hospital subsidy programs: Charity Care, Graduate Medical Education and Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments.

•      Charity Care. Governor Christie’s expansion of NJ FamilyCare has led to a dramatic increase in NJ FamilyCare enrollment, which continues to be funded almost entirely by the federal government. The associated decrease in uninsured residents has reduced by more than half the documented claims for uncompensated care submitted by New Jersey’s hospitals. Since the expansion took effect on January 1, 2014, 487,000 low-income residents have gained health insurance through NJ FamilyCare, a 38-percent increase in program enrollment. This fundamental shift allows for a $25 million reduction in State funding for Charity Care in Fiscal Year 2018.  The Fiscal Year 2018 budget provides $252 million in combined federal and State support to offset the costs hospital facilities incur in treating the uninsured.
•      Graduate Medical Education (GME). The Fiscal Year 2018 budget increases support to New Jersey’s teaching hospitals by $30 million, with the total amount available through the Graduate Medical Education program now totaling $218 million. This marks the third year in a row that funding for this critical program has been increased, with the total amount available now more than triple the funding provided when Governor Christie took office. This enhanced commitment to GME will help to ensure that New Jersey residents have continued access to an adequate number of well-trained doctors.
•      Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP).  Funded at $166.6 million, the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program was launched in Fiscal Year 2014 as a replacement for the Hospital Relief Subsidy Fund. The program continues to reward innovation and quality by distributing funds to hospitals based on measurable improvements in health outcomes.

Continued Emphasis On Community-Based Care And Services
Governor Christie is committed to fundamentally changing the way services and programs support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, by moving away from a system that has historically focused on institutionalization to one that emphasizes home and community-based services and supports. To this end, resources have been refocused to provide people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the ability to live as independently as possible with the proper supports.

The five-year Olmstead settlement agreement, signed February 2013, covered fiscal years 2013 to 2017 and required 600 placements over that time period. By the end of Fiscal Year 2018, the Department expects to have placed a total of 737 individuals, well exceeding the requirements of the Olmstead agreement due in large part to the acceleration of placements from the closure of North Jersey Developmental Center and Woodbridge Developmental Center in Fiscal Year 2015.

In addition to the Olmstead commitment to move individuals with developmental disabilities out of developmental centers, Governor Christie’s determination to provide services in the community includes funds to develop additional community placements and services that divert admissions to developmental centers. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget provides $89.7 million of new State and federal funding to create community placements and services, including Olmstead placements.

As a result of reforms initiated under the Medicaid Comprehensive Waiver, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are living independently or with family are becoming eligible for substantially increased in-home support services for which the State will receive a federal match. When the Supports Program is fully implemented, it is expected to generate approximately $100 million in matching funding on previously State-only costs to create an estimated $200 million program, which will allow for the further expansion of services.

Family Services
The Fiscal Year 2018 budget continues and enhances the Christie Administration’s commitment to providing a wide array of services to children and families throughout New Jersey through Department of Children and Families (DCF) programs.

•       Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P). The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a total of $986.6 million in State and federal funds for the operations and services provided by this DCF Division that is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect
•      Children’s System of Care (CSOC). This program helps more youth remain at home, in school and in their own communities, while still receiving the full scope of services they require, and provides coordinated care for more than 61,000 children and adolescents. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a total of $592.5 million in State and federal funds for the operations and services provided by this Division, an increase of $24.3 million over the fiscal 2017 Appropriations Act.
•      Family Success Centers.  The Governor’s proposed budget protects funding for these centers which are community-based organizations that provide a wide array of services ranging from day care, resume writing and parenting classes to domestic violence prevention and substance use disorder services. The number of Family Success Centers in New Jersey will increase to a total of 58 in Fiscal Year 2018.

Lead Safety
Through continuing and increased appropriations, Governor Christie’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget continues to address lead concerns in New Jersey, ensuring the State remains a national leader on this issue. Governor Christie has added $10 million in additional State funding to effectuate the update in lead regulations to make New Jersey’s standards for identifying elevated blood-lead levels in children consistent with those of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Department of Community Affairs will continue working through nonprofit organizations to remediate lead-based paint hazards affecting low- and moderate-income households in New Jersey.

The Fiscal Year 2017 budget provided $10 million to reimburse school districts for costs related to lead testing between July 13, 2016, and July 13, 2017. School districts that tested their water during that time period can continue to seek reimbursement in Fiscal Year 2018 from unexpended Fiscal Year 2017 balances.

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Reader says our taxes have increased astronomically in Ridgewood

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file photo

We want to stay in Ridgewood but on a significantly reduced income it may not be possible. Yes, our mortgage is long paid, But our taxes have increased astronomically. Our quarterly payment is more than my Social Security for 4 months, so all my Social Security for the year goes entirely to taxes. Thank heavens my husband also has Social Security but it is not enough to cover all other expenses .A reduction in taxes could make the difference between staying here or selling our 4 bedroom Colonial to a family with children. Such a family would cost the Village way more in services than we do now.

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Executive Order, to force schools, businesses, etc, to allow men to use girls’ locker rooms and toilets

RHS Toilet
June 11,2016

by Ron DuBois

Since the President saw fit to issue “guidelines” in an Executive Order, to force schools, businesses, etc, to allow men to use girls’ locker rooms and toilets, I’ve been following the fallout. Shortly after the decree, some schools and stores began welcoming trans-sexuals, and other gender-confused people, to use whatever bathroom or changing facility they identified most with. One reason given was that such persons should not be made to feel uncomfortable if, for example, they are males who believe they are really females trapped in mens’ bodies, and would prefer to use the ladies room rather than the men’s room.I don’t want to go into the usual arguments, like male predators wanting to see females in various stages of undress, but I wonder – if a male wants to use the female bathroom or locker room because he feels uncomfortable using the male facilities, did the President think how uncomfortable the girls might be with men coming in gawking at them? Transgendered people make up well under one percent of the population; why are we trying to accommodate their feelings at the expense of the, say 50 percent of females in the population, who will now be made to feel uncomfortable? It seems to defy logic, when maybe 80 or 90 females have to be made uncomfortable, so one male/female doesn’t.

Well, about a week after this started, I thought of an answer, but didn’t say anything because I was sure lots of others would also think of it. To date, I haven’t heard or read about anyone proposing my solution. I believe it’s because certain people (in power) on both sides don’t want a simple solution. It really isn’t about inclusiveness for all, it’s about breaking down the traditions that have served us well, like honesty and morality, like traditional marriage and the family, like teaching schoolkids about American History and the Constitution, and making them proud to be Americans. The actions of Progressives and others show just how astute Benjamin Franklin was, when he said the Constitution was only for a moral and religious people, and was totally inadequate for any other.

So here is the solution I propose. Every school, and every large store, has facilities to change, try on things, and go to the toilet; they have multiple places for these accommodations. Schools, for instance have faculty bathrooms, as well as student bathrooms. Since the  number of transgenders, cross-dressers, etc at each school, store or business is miniscule, only one toilet will be needed to accommodate them (maybe more on a college campus with thousands of students). One of the faculty bathrooms can be set aside for this purpose. Large facilities, institutions, and stores also have enough bathrooms to set one aside so transgenders, etc can use a toilet or change, without embarrassment.

For showering, I can only suggest that if someone is uncomfortable showering with others who have the same genitalia, they wait until they get home to shower. I do not advocate males being allowed to barge into a female shower room, and shower with them. I also believe that if a man wants to use the female showers, it should only be allowed if he has undergone the full medical change, so he is now a woman, like Bruce Jenner did. Just because a man feels feminine one morning does not give him the right to shower with the girls at school.

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Schools are helping police spy on kids’ social media activity

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By Karen Turner April 22

Schools in Florida are renewing a program that monitors their students’ social media activity for criminal or threatening behavior, although it has caused some controversy since its adoption last year.

The school system in Orange County, where Orlando is located, recently told the Orlando Sentinel that the program, which partners the school system with local police departments, has been successful in protecting students’ safety, saying that it led to 12 police investigations in the past year. The school district says it will pay about $18,000 annually for SnapTrends, the monitoring software used to check students’ activity. It’s the same software used by police in Racine, Wis., to track criminal activity and joins a slew of similar social media monitoring software used by law enforcement to keep an eye on the community.

SnapTrends collects data from public posts on students’ social media accounts by scanning for keywords that signify cases of cyberbullying, suicide threats, or criminal activity. School security staff then comb through flagged posts and alert police when they see fit. Research suggests that 23 percent of children and teens have been cyberbullied. Studies connecting social media and suicide have not shown definitive results, but there has been research that suggests that cyberbullying leads to suicide ideation more than traditional bullying.

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Ridgewood CBD : Better planning, more trust needed

3 amigos in action Ridgewood NJ
photo by Boyd Loving
NOVEMBER 13, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2015, 12:31 AM

Better planning, more trust needed

To the Editor:

Sept. 30 was a great night for Ridgewood. Hundreds of residents bore witness to our council approving, by 4-1 vote, four important studies required to make a truly informed decision on a high-density housing amendment that could change the character of our village forever. Based on a motion by Councilman Sedon, amended by Councilwoman Knudsen, studies for financial impacts, school impacts, infrastructure and a comprehensive traffic review, were all approved.

For the first time in years, residents felt that their voices were being heard. Rather than the frustratingly expected, rushed approval of the out-of-scale high-density ordinances, we instead heard a vote that began restoring our trust.

Unfortunately, at this Monday’s meeting, our council took a scary turn towards breaking that newfound trust. Residents in attendance witnessed several members — Aronsohn, Hauck and Pucciarelli — offer commentary questioning the council’s commitment to the studies, with an angle seemingly against prompt commissioning. It further came to light that no work has commenced towards planning any of the studies, despite the matter’s urgency.

Further disturbing were statements by several council members indicating that they couldn’t recall what studies they voted for on Sept. 30, despite the vote’s place in public record. Interestingly, all the residents in attendance knew the vote. A review of the Sept. 30 video shows that all council members were fully aware of the motion and were given opportunity for further clarification. By the time the vote occurred, there were no such clarification requests and the “multiple studies” motion was put forth by the village clerk: “Infrastructure Study,” “Financial Study,” “The School Impact Study,” and “a Comprehensive Traffic Study as outlined by Councilwoman Knudsen: CBD, surrounding neighborhoods, entire Village.”

Knudsen, Sedon, Aronsohn and Hauck voted “Yes.” Pucciarelli voted “No.”

These studies are so important because our Planning Board, despite years of deliberation, strategically missed the mark, never “planning” in a comprehensive manner. Their process was too reactionary to the zoning-change applications. Studies used were too site-specific for proper master planning, leaving many questions unanswered in a process akin to spot zoning.

Regarding one study, Councilwoman Knudsen explained: “… there has never been a comprehensive traffic study done of the Central Business District proper, the adjacent communities and/or the village as a whole. It becomes incredibly relevant when we consider that there are four large parcels being considered for high-density development, coupled with the North Walnut Redevelopment Zone with an assisted living facility of … 76 units per acre, upwards of 98 (units). And coupled with the fact that we are pursuing a parking garage that will add over 300 vehicles to an already narrow, difficult, congested corner of Broad Street and Hudson. So when you take all these collectively, it really becomes imperative that we conduct our due diligence and get this right. So, I think that, to the question: What traffic studies have been done? Not enough.”

“Not enough” is not good enough. Ridgewood needs better. Better planning. Better process and a better foundation for trust.

Please promptly commission these incredibly important studies.

Dave Slomin

Ridgewood

http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-letters-to-the-editor/ridgewood-news-letter-better-planning-more-trust-needed-1.1454595

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Some schools in North Jersey dropping midterms, finals

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Some schools in North Jersey dropping midterms, finals

DECEMBER 20, 2014, 11:23 PM    LAST UPDATED: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2014, 11:28 PM
BY HANNAN ADELY
STAFF WRITER |
THE RECORD

It looked as if Wayne High School students would miss the equivalent of 30 days of new instruction this year because of tests, trips, assemblies and snow days.

So school officials did something radical; they got rid of midterm and final exams.

“Kids go to school because they enjoy learning; they want to explore and they want to learn about themselves,” said Michael Ben-David, assistant superintendent of Wayne schools. “That doesn’t come from taking [tests] that take up large chunks of the school year.”

Wayne is one of several North Jersey school districts that have dropped midterms and finals, a staple of education for as long as anyone can remember. The motive is partly to regain instruction time as standardized tests take up more days each year. But school officials say they’re also tossing out the traditional, high-stakes exams as they look at the larger issue of how to determine what students have learned.

Acting state Education Commissioner David Hespe said the decision to drop teacher-generated midterms and final exams is innovative and “makes perfect sense for districts.” All school districts in New Jersey, he noted, are already required to give end-of-course exams provided by the state, which could make midterms and finals redundant.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/some-schools-in-north-jersey-dropping-midterms-finals-1.1173233