Board of Education Election Results

| 126 Comments

The Board of Education election for three Board members is over! Here are the results:

Mary "Terry" Kohl: 988

Eileen Frowenfeld: 951

Fran Brennan: 1029

JoAnn Sabatino-Falkenstein: 529

Tanya Andrews: 532 

The Budget passed on a vote of 978 to 728.

In a post election statement, Fran Brennan said "Thank you to everyone who voted and to all the candidates for wanting to do what's best for the children of Metuchen."

Congratulations to all the candidates for taking the time out of their busy lives to engage in this important civic pursuit and care enough about our school district to put themselves out there. Elections are tough but these candidates are, too--they are, in essence, winners all.

We will be taking a look at voter turnout from this election as well. Did the better weather and extended coverage from local media on the candidates help or hinder the outcome? We'll do our best to figure it all out.

126 Comments

Didn't the high school already have a weight room with equipment donated by Ford? Seem to remember reading about that when the plant closed. If the school wanted a fitness center, why wasn't the money for it included in the referendum?

Students at the high school can use the fitness center whether they are Y members or not.

We have a state of the art weight room - the Y fitness center. So what if it was paid for by a grant from the state, otherwise known as taxpayer dollars. Unless you're a taxpayer who also happens to be a Y member, you can't use it, despite the many articles claiming the facility was "open to the public."

Well since the town seems to have given up on academics, we really need to put up some lights on the football field. We could also use a state of the art weight room and while we are at it let's look into getting a former NFL player as a coach, maybe Brain Bozworth, I don't think he's too busy now. We could have our own little slice of Texas right here in Metuchen, I love Bar-b-cue. I can open up a sign store so parents can put up giant signs of their kids jersey numbers on their lawn. The train overpass could be painted "Welcome to Bulldog Country".This could work, really work. We should also look to open up some more shoe stores on Main St. so our "Al Bundys" have jobs waiting for them after football.

Let's not be distracted by semantics.

When they're not living with Mommy and Daddy and they're off Mommy and Daddy's payroll, then they're adults.

To answer why HP has more AP participation---Not sure, maybe the Highland Park community understands that one or two AP courses allows students to prepare for college, gives them a sense of the work needed. (BTW, an AP class covers the work of one college semester in one high school year. ) An added benefit is that more selective colleges look to see that prospective students have done well (a B grade or above) in a few AP courses. It shows that they are capable of college work.

Maybe HP encourages their students in other ways, e.g. have a higher differential, not sure. But this is a good question for school board members and leadership to ask successful schools. Discovering best practices of other schools is worthwhile.

We don't need more AP offerings. That's the specious argument part.

We need to have more kids in the offerings we already have--either open another section or fill in more spots. AP Chem had 17 or so in the class this year. AB Calc had at least 24. Add more kids and have two sections. AP US history had about 26. More kids, another section. You can have fewer sections of regular US history if you have 2 sections of AP.

Anyway, more AP participation is only one measurement to be concerned with. Then there's the # of kids who take the test who are eligible.

SAT scores, 4 year college rate, etc. Take a look at the NJ School report cards for more standard measurements that all high schools' performance is based on.

To reply to the post from 6:02... in the discussion of AP classes, most of the students are seniors, many who are 18, so yes they are young adults. These are the same young men that had to register for selective service, and are the same students that have voted in their first elections in the past couple of months. Give them the respect of being called young adults!

District size is not a specious argument. Larger districts generally have a wider variety of course offerings.

So then what is your theory for why HP has more AP participation?

3:48 Bravo for the intelligent and excellent commentary. I couldn't agree more with your insight. An excellent post! 5:30 also had some good points as well.

And remember AP participation is just one metric. The district has a number of metrics to deal with and I have faith that they can find solutions if they know that the town is behind them supporting them.

I'm not asking you to look at things through rose-colored glasses, just be more positve.

The overall class size in the AP classes at MHS and in the honor classes is most definitely not 18. Maybe if you added 10 more kids in which is about 7% the class size, you can get 2 classes of 18 in some.


At any rate, try to be positive and find solutions instead of excuses for how MHS can go up in every standard academic measurement.

The Westfield size issue is a specious argument. We don't need to add more offerings, just allow more kids in and start another section. In some AP sections at MHS we have 26 in a class and one section.

If we don't have any kids in a particular AP class like AP Chem, then we need to find out why not, make necessary changes, then encourage kids who are interested in math and science to take it--tell them why it's important. We already lost CALC BC as a year long class, let's hope that AP CHEM does not follow

Being closed minded and negative, making excuses for why MHS can't encourage more kids with AP classes is how we are sure to stay the same and never improve.

Above all, we need an attitude change in order to raise expectations.

That CAN'T do attitude of the poster above is the biggest problem to overcome when we are looking for POSITIVE CHANGE.

The HP proximity to Rutgers is really stretching it.

Forgot to include: HP's average class size is 28.

Westfield isn't really comparable. They are nearly three times the size (1780 kids) and offer 24 AP classes, with multiple sections of at least eight of them. They also have a larger average class size (24+) than we do.

Metuchen has 640 kids and offers 17 AP classes, with multiple sections of 4 subjects. Some subjects have no kids at all. Our average class size is 19.

HP is more comparable in size and offers 18 AP classes, with multiple sections in only 2 subjects. So why the higher participation in HP? Is it the proximity to Rutgers and all the college kids who live in town that makes the difference? College is always on their mind?

Can we stop calling high school kids "young adults"? High school kids, are, well, kids. They're young, but they're not adults.

I don't care about the ivies as much as the poster above.
But I'd like to see more kids go to a 4 year college.

I want to live in a town that values education and academic excellence for each child. I'm not moving when my kids graduate. Not if I know that my tax dollars are going towards giving high expectations and a good education to all kids in Metuchen. I am a big supporter of public education and of teachers.

There are little fixes that wouldn't even cost a dime.

If you look at the NJ Report cards you'll see that Highland Park has about 36% of their 11th and 12th graders in AP classes. Westfield has over 38% and Metuchen has almost 27%. And it's not just one year; the report cards show two years in a row. Why is this? Those kids aren't smarter than Metuchen's kids. That category (AP participation) isn't on the NJ Monthly rankings this year, but it has been and could be. We need to look at every standard measure of academic success(and most are of them on the NJ report cards for h.s.) and try to improve them. The NJ rankings are just a useful tool because they help us compare school districts and let us know what's possible for Metuchen. If we only compare ourselves to ourselves, we really won't know how we're doing among others. Our kids need to be prepared to compete for jobs and college spots with all the other kids in the country.

I want to see the schools system get better and for the last decade I think we as a town have just been satisfied with staying the same. Not blaming anyone here---everyone's responsible. Or maybe the town didn't know or we kind of knew, but our own kids were okay, so it was fine.

Metuchen's kids for the most part are fine and happy, well-rounded, talented young adults, but they should ALL be challenged academically too. And there's a misconception out there that honor students are not well-rounded. Most of them are on varsity teams, in academic clubs, student government, marching band, school plays, orchestra, chorus, etc.

The point is that there is always room for improvement (in every town and every schools system) and as parents and residents we should look to our BOE and school leadership to acknowledge the standard academic measurements and outcomes by which all high schools are measured. Maybe if the school leadership understood that a lot of people have a desire to see improvement in these metrics, there could be upward movement. I, like most people, want to support the schools and see them go from good to great.

It's not the 1980s.

The best thing you can do if you want to get your kid into an Ivy League college is move out of New Jersey.

The mediocrity is great crowd scare me. Is that the message that we want to covey to our children, that we hope that they grow up to be mediocre? Why try in school if all that matters is extra curricular activities and having fun? I feel like I'm reading a real-life version of "Atlas Shrugged."

The chances are that none of our children will grow up to be professional athletes. They will secure employment based upon academic performance.

I'm not saying that kids shouldn't participate in extracurricular activities, elite colleges look for well-rounded students. However, academics need to come first.

Going to an Ivy League school won't guaranty them a job, but will get them a lot more interviews. It will put them in the best possible position to succeed.

There was a long discussion about Maplewood. In the 1980s Columbia High School sent 10% to 15% of its graduates to Ivy League or the equivalent. Millburn sends 30% to Ivy League or the equivalent. The kids in Metuchen are just as smart as those in Maplewood or Millburn, but Metuchen sends about 1% to Ivy League or the equivalent. That is why the same home in Millburn sells for 5 times as much as in Metuchen.

One comment is that increased home values will lead to increased property taxes. That is nonesense. If all houses increase in value by approximately the same percentage, then the taxes paid by each home do not increase - the tax rate is just the tax revenue needed divided by the total of all property values in the Boro.

Some say that it is a matter of incomes that prevent our children from attending elite universities, but for those making under $100k an Ivy League education is free. That's cheaper than Middlesex County College.

Instead our children are going to far less impressive private universities and paying the equivalent of full Ivy League tuition for an education that won't open the same doors.

Claims of elitism are just an excuse not to try harder. If we don't shoot higher, we certainly won't succeed in improving our reputation. If we don't improve our reputation, the doors of this nations elite universities won't be open to our students.

Do we want to be a town people move into only for the schools and then move out of after their kids graduate? Why so much focus on property values? Your house is a place to live, not an investment property. If you're sticking around, you're better off with a lower valuation and lower taxes. When my house is sold, I'll be dead.

People who plan on leaving town as soon as the ink is dry on their kids' diplomas are the ones who care so much about property values. They have no interest in the future of the town, only in bleeding the rest of the taxpayers dry to pay for their kids' education. That is not the kind of town Metuchen used to be, and not the kind of town I want it to become.

The point is not to promote mediocrity. The point is to recogize that it's not a choice between a four year college and flipping burgers. There are many choices in between the two that can result in lucrative careers.
You are not doomed if you don't start out at a four year college. And let's not forget that there are some pretty mediocre four year colleges.

Perhaps the state DOE should change the question to more accurately reflect reality. If the question was "Do you plan to pursue a four year degree or a two year degree?", then kids who plan to go for two years at Middlesex and transfer to Rutgers or elsewhere would be counted in the four year numbers.

10:53 is more accurately the voice of Metuchen today but hopefully not tomorrow. If we don't think academic standards of measurement are important, we'll be always "somewhere in the middle."

The percentage of kids going to a 4 year college has been somewhat stable for many years. But the point should be to try harder and do better.

Poster at 10:45 am says it all. Seems that most people here are content to breed mediocrity...who cares if the number of kids going to 4 year colleges continues to decrease.....who cares if it hurts property values...who cares if we pay a small fortune year-over-year for our school taxes....

I stray from the pack and believe that our kids have much reater potential and we need to find out what is the catalyst for the decline.

It's not one extreme or the other. Somewhere in the middle there is reason.

Who cares about academics or getting into college? Let the kids have fun. This whole New York attitude of wanting to have a great school system is such a downer. And school rankings. Who cares? They are only numbers. We should make up our own rankings. We could be number one in fun! Hey, NJ Monthly rankings look at below!!! Watch out Camden we are gunning for you!!

6:27, there is a new group of people on the BOE. Mrs. Frowenfeld was a challenger when she was first elected three years ago. Mrs. DeVries and Mr. Small have been on for 2 years and three new people were elected last year. There are only three people left from the "Ron" years.

I posted about the "self-reporting" aspect of the four year college statistic on this board and I'm not on the BOE. It's stated right there on the School Report Card.

Thank you, poster at 8:27. I am the poster at 6:27 and I really am a "reasonable, concerned parent," but I also am a paid active member of CQE. I was hesitant to reveal that because of the automatic response that a lot of people on this blog have when they hear that someone is a member of CQE.

I appreciate Mrs. Sinatra's forums too and I do have faith that she'll listen to the community. She will if we are willing to attend meeting and voice concerns.

It was at CQE's urging that the Superintendent graciously decided to hold the forums. CQE urged people to come out to a BOE meeting in the fall to show support for academic concerns. At any rate the organization doesn't take credit for the forums, rather credit is due to all the people who came to that BOE meeting and voiced concern. Credit is certainly due to the Superintendent because she came up with the idea of the academic forums.

I hope everyone continues to come to the forums. Attendance was way down at the second one. Continue to come to the BOE meetings too.

I really like Metuchen Matters because it allows the community to have good discussions about education, academics, etc. We should all be talking. What I find particularly upsetting is the name calling and taunts. Let's try to have a real discussion.

Actually, I was born and raised in Metuchen and am a graduate of the school system. I chose to move back to raise my own family as I love this town. I have children currently in the school system and am an active volunteer. I think our students have a lot of potential and I don't mind paying a premium for positive outcomes. I do mind paying a premium and not seeing quantitative value for my school tax dollars. I would like to see school taxes go to improving the curriculum and the school rankings, not for the compensation of certain highly paid administrators.

Thank you.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

You are right in that measurements are important.

But coming up with a new measurement, one that is specific to Metuchen, is what will bring us further away from where we want to be.

The measurements used in the rankings are the academic measurements that all schools across the country use. They are the standards of measuring academic success.

We should not worry about NJ rankings per se. But if we improved all those measurements, we'd just so happen to go up in the rankings. At any rate, our district would go from good to great!

You are right in that measurements are important.

But coming up with a new measurement, one that is specific to Metuchen, is what will bring us further away from where we want to be.

The measurements used in the rankings are the academic measurements that all schools across the country use. They are the standards of measuring academic success.

We should not worry about NJ rankings per se. But if we improved all those measurements, we'd just so happen to go up in the rankings. At any rate, our district would go from good to great!

I'm not CQE and to me this just sounds like a reasonable, concerned parent. If the powers that be don't like to hear the voices of the community we won't go anywhere. Terri Sinatra seems to want to hear them, having the forums. I hope the suggestions offered there are considered.

Measurement is often the most important part of a process and can't include all key factors. But measurement is the name of the game in determining the success of anything. If you don't think the current method of measurement is appropriate, at least come up with a new, better one.

Well thank goodness, someone said it!!
Face it, we're where we are because people have accepted the status quo and now we have the status quo for another year.

Well thank goodness, someone said it!!
Face it, we're where we are because people have accepted the status quo and now we have the status quo for another year.

Sounds like CQE.

Unfortunately it's the incumbents who got us in this mess. unable to face the facts that standard measurements are important too. I hope they realize that they need to pay attention to outcomes, not just the nitty gritty details of curriculum, etc. Without looking at the outcomes, you cannot see if all your hard work in curriculum is paying off. It becomes just spinning your wheel. No one on the BOE has a clue that we need to improve SAT scores, AP participation and scores, and the % of graduates who go directly to 4 year colleges. If they believe that, we have not heard one of them publicly say so. Their only defense to the 4 year college rate is that the numbers are self reporting. That's the answer one of them is giving around town.
I voted for one new person. I was hoping that we could get a different group of people and the stranglehold on the board would be gone. A new dynamic should emerge, but that won't happen until next year. To the poster above, go to a BOE meeting, tell them your thoughts. They don't like people who challenge the status quo. Maybe they feel like they're being criticized, but they have to get over that. In fact, they are elected to serve the community and to do the best for the kids. But it's the only way to get this district back on track by speaking to them publicly at a meeting. The public has to realize too that the district is going in the wrong direction. But they tend to dismiss any one or any group that brings that to their attention.

Someone's bound to ask about the 2 year college stigma. There is no stigma. But years ago,the 4 year college rate became the better standard to use (not 2 year college rate) to see how well a h.s. is performing. And this has nothing to do with the magazine's ranking. It's a number that you'll find on school profiles and NJ report cards. It's not personal, it's how school performance is measured.

I can't believe this discussion. I can't believe there are people in town that want our district to be stagnant. Every organization, every company works to improve - if you don't you go down- out of business. You must not be succeeding in your workplace with logic like that. I voted for the incumbents, because in my mind the other candidates seem to want to spend money on the wrong thing and add more cost, instead of concentrate where we need to. If you are not always looking to be better you may very well get your wish - because if that becomes the goal of this town - I'm outta here - I am not interested in living in an Abbott district or anything close to it.

It's pretty political now. Think about the key player and players in town.

It's pretty political now. Think about the key player and players in town.

Moving BoE elections to regular elections would make them more political than they already are becuase then you'd have to take party sides, which isn't what the BoE is about.

Leave the BoE elections in April and deal with the poor turnout.

Moving BoE elections to regular elections would make them more political than they already are becuase then you'd have to take party sides, which isn't what the BoE is about.

Leave the BoE elections in April and deal with the poor turnout.

Wealthier towns have better schools not because they spend more money on the education but because they typically send kids to their schools that come from families that expect their kids to actually learn in school. Look at the bad schools, why are they bad? Why do some towns actually pass laws that says the parents have to attend a parent teacher meeting?

The fallacy is that money improves the education. It doesn't. Teachers willing to teach and kids willing to learn are all that is really needed. Throw in some good books and what else is there? Computers are nice but are they needed?

The choice is not between 4 year college or nothing. Some people just don't get the stigma attached to starting at a two year. I bet there are many kids like the poster above who started at a two year and finished at a four year. Whether you do it because of money issues or maturity issues or because you screwed around in high school an dhave finally decided to get serous about your education, heading off to a two year college doesn't mean you're destined to pump gas. And not everyone who makes a good living goes to work in a suit.

If you're involved in an organization and think it is doing a good job at whatever its mission is, and some new person comes in and says "you're doing it all wrong" and wants to change everything, why would you welcome them? Some people get involved just to put something on their resume and some do it because they genuinely enjoy helping the community.

The district factor group has nothing to do with the academic program of the schools in the district. It is the socio-economic ranking of the school district, based on 6 factors:

1) Percent of adults with no high school diploma
2) Percent of adults with some college education
3) Occupational status
4) Unemployment rate
5) Percent of individuals in poverty
6) Median family income.

It just so happens that wealthier districts generally have the best school systems. That was part of the reasoning for the Abbott decision. To take money from the wealthier districts and give it to the poorer districts. But you can't duplicate the helicopter parents, so it didn't work.

Nice!
Why attend a four year college? Why attend colllege at all?
Tell your kids education isn't really needed-it ok-always need someone to pump gas, or clean the yards-
Nothing wrong with it-but without education prepare for a lifetime of friendly's and blockbuster.
Brainy boro indeed. What a crock

That's right. Most of want value for the checks we write.

It's not money only. A lot of it is attitude. Expectations.

Oh gawd, if you've drank the kool-aid about $ = children's educational well-being and property values, then please zip it already. Just remember that there are some of us still unbrainwashed who don't relish the opportunity to write even bigger checks to Metuchen every quarter.

More people might get involved if the people already involved in town stopped bad-mouthing the new comers. So much negative gossip going on about this one and that. It makes me wonder what the motivation is of the people involved in this, or any number of organizations in town. If you cared about the organizations, you'd welcome new folks in with open arms, even those not like you. If you're using the organizations to get the best for you and yours, well then I guess you'd be threatened.

But remember, you don't know who is commenting here just like you don't really know what the people you're gossiping and complaing to really think. The holder of a reputation is often the last person to know what their rep really is.

New York.

And remember, we're talking about school districts. Why shouldn't we try to aspire to be like the academic better districts? Why should we be comparing ourselves to GH districts? Is that in the plan of going from good to great?

Sure, but ask a realtor which DFGs sell better in every economy.

The economy has more to do with real estate prices than whether our DFG is GH or I.

Pretty sure the real estate market did fine in Metuchen in the 1990s.

I wouldn't mind if people stopped buying up nice little capes, tearing them down and making them into ugly monstrosities.

Ask a realtor if there is no benefit in being an I-district? I don't think they'll sell houses faster or at a better price if we were a GH district.
You make no sense and you encourage lying.

Bad advise all around. Only a fool would pay for your advice.

If we were a GH district people wouldn't be comparing us to places like Summit.

Why would we want to be GH districts?

There is no benefit to being an I district.

Talk like that from a BOE member could send all of the people who make this an I-district packing. Let's hope you're joking.

No one is tracking the outcomes. We're basing all this conjecture on where kids self-report they plan to go, not where they actually go or where they eventually graduate from.

Metuchen, Maplewood and Bridgewater also "send" another 15-20% of kids to two year schools, so in all three districts around 90% of kids go on to college. Let's not forget these 4 year college numbers are "self-reported." So a more accurate statement would be: X% of students claimed they planned to go to a four year college. Maybe the guidance counselors at the higher ranked schools tell the kids to answer four year no matter where they are going.

Maybe everyone should underestimate their income for the 2010 census takers and we can go back to being a GH district.

Penny wise and pound foolish.

Who has been watching the academic outcomes of 12 years of school?

I guess we have good people watching the $$$.

Yes, I too have relatives who came out of the Maplewood school district. But when they graduated it was a well-respected school district.
Maplewood is not great anymore.
Anyone who is interested in academic excellence in the public schools of NJ would not be moving to Maplewood.
It's still a lovely town with lovely houses and nice families and abeautiful little downtown and now their train is even a direct line to NYC (which it wasn't when my relatives moved there for the schools in the 1990s). Today the schools are subpar compared to other NJ schools.

Someone said they wanted their taxes lowered for average students but we already pay less than average taxes for our kids.

State Avg Cost per Pupil - $12,910
I District Avg cost per pupil - $13,102
GH District Avg cost per pupil - $12,996
Metuchen Cost per pupil - $12,180

Seems to me like we're getting a good deal for our money!

2:25, As for the people who moved to Maplewood, they are happy and their kids are happy. My nieces went to Columbia High in Maplewood; both went to college and graduate school. One is now a professor at the University of Vermont, and the other works for the forest service in Colorado monitoring endangered species.

Why are you so focused on that magazine's rankings and that one statistic?

Be careful what you wish for.

There's that New York attitude! We don't need it.

I don't feel sitting back and accepting the downward direction that the schools are going...for the earlier comment "some people in town care too much about academics and reputation. I think we just shouldn't care so much about what other school districts do."

Well, I do care about academics and reputation for a lot of reasons, one being that a substantial amount of our taxes are school driven and for that we should be getting much greater value for our tax dollars. The end product simply is substantiating what we are putting into it. Who is benefitting, our students or highly compensated administrators?

There is something wrong with the system...if everyone is OK with our schools producing average kids, then please cut back our taxes!!!

Right, that will NEVER happen....

Thanks for the information. I thought I might have to move to Maplewood to avoid the pressure. Sound like I'm there already. LOL,

With all the talk about Maplewood, I decided to look the town up on the NJ Monthly rankings (not that anyone on this board really cares) but that idyllic place where someone's friend decided to move to avoid the pressure-cooker atmosphere of Summit, intrigued me.

Here's what I learned. There are 47 I-districts in the NJ rankings list, both Metuchen and Maplewood are I-districts so it's easy to compare.

Here's the deal for the latest rankings:

Among the 47 districts, the 3 lowest ranked are:

#86 Metuchen/ sent 63% (an anomaly, granted) to a 4 yr. school
#88 Maplewood/ sent 74% to a 4 yr. school
#89Bridgewater/Raritan/ sent 72 % to a 4 yr. school

Looks like your friend made the wrong choice for her kids. I don't know when she moved there, but no one has been going to Maplewood for the schools for a while.


Thanks for the Maplewood info.

Apparently South Orange - Maplewood is the one school district in the state with an elected board that also has a "board of school estimate" that prepares the school budget, and they don't vote on it. Strange. Last year there was a bill introduced to eliminate all "type I" school districts - the term for the kind with mayor-appointed boards, and make them, and the one Type II district with a board of school estimate (SO-M) all function the same way and be covered by the same rules. The bill eliminating the budget vote is a different bill. I'm guessing it's mostly Abbott districts that have appointed boards. Can't find a list of them.

Thanks. Yes it is south orange, not east orange. so they are elected. now do they vote on the budget in Maplewood? I know at one time they did not and they had appointed members of the BOE.

1:05, that must have been in the past that they had an appointed board. Here is the current description from their web site:

Responsibilities of the Board of Education

The Board of Education is the governing body of the South Orange - Maplewood School District with responsibility for developing policy to ensure the proper care, management and control of District affairs. The Board consists of nine citizens elected at large by the voters of South Orange and Maplewood. Board members serve three year terms, with three members of the Board subject to election each year.

But if you depend on the town council to fund the schools, then you are putting a lot of faith in people who may not be as concerned with the schools as the school administration. I'm not so sure how that works and if it's wise to eliminate the budget vote. I think that the school board appointee would also be in the puppets of the council. It seems right to keep the town and the schools separate.

There are a lot of districts that don't vote on the budget. As a matter of fact, Maplewood is one of them. They don't have to worry about the budget going under. The school board is appointed by the mayor. Actually it's East Orange/ Maplewood so I'm not sure which mayor appoints, but the BOE is not elected. The pending bill sounds like a good deal. One way of reducing the pressure here, no elections, just appoint.

Hey, 9:18! You didn't read me right. I'm like you, I like Metuchen.
I said, If I cared about the numbers, then I'd moved to Summit.
Sounds like Maplewood where your friend moved has the right idea.
No one should ruin Metuchen with their high-brow ideas. The kids don't need the pressure.

Of course stealing a sign is a real issue. What is ridiculous is the person who keeps whining that there are signs around town during election season.

Someone cared enough about the signs to steal some of them. Isn't that a real issue?

I think the pending bill does eliminate the vote on the school budget, unless the district wants to exceed the cap.

Alternatively, they could combine the school election with the primary election in June.

Some people really hate those signs.

Cut it out already about the signs - what a ridiculous concern in the midst of the real issues people are addressing here.

The problem is that you cannot vote for a budget in November for a year that started the previous July ...

The only way to move the Board of Education elections to November would be to remove the public vote on the school budget.

True the school budget year starts July 1, but the budget has already been established and any new board members elected in April have no effect on the budget until the following year.

The annual budget review process usually starts in December, so November would be workable for new school board members to come on.

Then there would be more lawn signs in the fall and none in the spring. Some people would probably get confused about who was running for what.

I believe that one of the reasons for having the elections in April is that you want to know who is on the Board of Education and whether or not the budget is set before the next school year starts. There is legislation under consideration that would move the election to November, and to eliminate public vote on the school budget.

I'd like to increase the number of people who care, not just make it easier for them to vote. Apathy is hard to cure.

Moving them to November would increase the number of people voting in the school elections. Isn't that a goal?

The reason they were put in April instead of November was to make them non-partisan and less political. Not sure moving them to November is a good idea.

Is it really that hard to get to the polls three times a year or to request an absentee ballot?

As Jana said, people in other countries risk their lives to vote, while here in Metuchen, even in a presidential election, almost 3000 people stayed home. (Metuchen had 6,987 out of 9,809 registered voters go to the polls in November 2008.)

The number of registered voters is somewhat inflated by people who have moved out of state or died and were not removed from the rolls, and also by women listed in both their married name and birth name.

Do we really want a higher turnout at our school elections? If we do, then wouldn't shifting the elections to the regular election date be a good idea?

Summit's figure from last year was 83% to 4 year colleges, not 90%. This statistic is a "self-reported" figure, meaning it's where the kids say they are going, not necessarily where they actually go. I know people who moved out of Summit because they thought it was too stressful for their kids. They moved to Maplewood. They described Summit as a "pressure cooker." If that's what you want, by all means, move to Summit.

Last year turnout was 1500 voters out of 9000 registered, for a 16.67% turnout, and the margin was 59% yes, 41% no. This year turnout was 1700 voters out of 9800 registered for a 17.4% turnout, a slight increase, and the margin was 57% yes, 43% no.

I agree. We should be comfortable to be who we are. Anyone who is unhappy with Metuchen should move back where they came from or find a better school system.

I think that some people in town care too much about academics and reputation. I think we just shouldn't care so much about what other school districts do. I don't care that Summit sends like 90% of the students to 4 year colleges. If I did, I'd move to Summit.

The people making a big stink over the NJ Monthly rankings were all at the meeting where the Novak presented the data. It included a handout that all in the audience got. They didn't need the minutes, they needed to listen.

If you have an agenda and the data doesn't support it, you can chose one of two paths. Modify your agenda or ignore the data and continue to advance it. CQE chose the latter and may now perish.

8:35, all they would have to do is post the minutes from the meeting where Novak gave the explanation. Presuming, of course, the minutes give a thorough account of what he said.

2yr colleges are a great route for many kids and families. The ranking certainly doesn't let you know how many kids dropped out of the 4yr colleges they started. My only beef is that knowing this is a factor that matters on the NJ monthly list, and knowing how much that list matters to many residents in town for many reasons, why the heck doesn't the high school prepare a report explaining a spike? It really would have either put to bed an issue that wasn't important or helped the district focus more clearly on one that was. Without that knowledge, debates are full of conjecture.

6:49, it's not about straight A's. It's about taking a demanding courseload. Haven't you been paying attention? According to some, if you are getting straight A's in "regular" classes, you're not challenging yourself.

Wow, 7:37, either that's incredibly ignorant or you're being sarcastic.

Metuchen HS has had different levels of classes going back decades. They weren't always called Honors and AP, but they had them.

Besides, state law requires a curriculum that meets the needs of students of all abilities.

Jana, we do know what the whole district thought. We know that 83% of the registered voters don't care about the school budget or who is on the board of ed. Simple as that.

I didn't see anyone putting down 2 year colleges on this board. I hope the BOE encourages more kids to go to 2 year colleges from Metuchen. They shouldn't feel pressure from anyone to have to get more kids into 4 year colleges. Why is there a stigma attached to a 2 year college. Too many people are overly interested in name brand colleges. They spend their money on SAT prep classes and private counselors. Middlesex is an excellent college.

Stop putting down 2 year schools. Wise parents and students choose Middlesex over a 4 year in many instances---one can take all transferable courses and a fraction of the cost of a 4 year school. I graduated MHS in the mid-80's woefully underprepared for college (mostly my own fault). I graduated MCC with a 4.0, transferred ALL my credits to Rutgers and graduated with a 4.0. I think MCC prepared me very, very well. I am nearing completion of a graduate degree at UPenn.

I agree with that AP classes are a way of puffing up the curriculum.
I think that we should do away with all honors/AP.
Let everyone be given the same work, no one should have an advantage over anyone else in the class.

This is a public school. If you want better than what everyone else has then go to a private school. I voted for the incumbents and I'm proud that they are here for another 3 years.

Not everyone agrees with you about AP classes. It is mostly a way for kids to impress colleges. It's a waste of time. Many kids want to focus on other things in high school besides trying to get AP grades. Honors classes are not for everyone. All that homework doesn't leave any time for what's really important. Becoming well-rounded and knowing about life.

If you want to leave Metuchen, be my guest and take your New York attitude with you! I love the small town feeling of this borough. I'm here to stay.

Going to a school without AP classes can cost a student significant $$$, especially in the case of an accountant. My high school did not offer AP courses, which made it so that I had to take a 5th year (CPA requires 150 credits) at the private university that I attended. Total extra cost.... $33,000. Thanks, NJ- highest property taxes in the nation, third highest income taxes and it is still not enough to provide something that school districts in the middle of nowhere provide.

Oh and whoever voted to approve the budget should be ashamed of themselves. Everything is cheaper these days- the government has even acknowledged that we are in a period of negative inflation... yet local budgets are still increasing. Thanks again, corrupt Jersey. Can't wait to get the hell out.

Unbelievable! From the talk on this site, you would have thought there would have been a record turnout. Clearly, some people are willing to talk the talk but not walk the walk and get themselves into a voting booth. All the candidates should be proud of making the efforts they did, whether they won or lost. And parents who didn't vote lost their opportunity to have a democratic voice in whether they agreed with or disagreed with the budget and the Board's response to issues over the last few years. Now we won't really know what the whole district thought and that makes progress harder for those who asked for our opinions. People die in other countries to vote--wonder what it will take from our lackadaisical democracy to drive home the point that this is how we have a voice in our government, local and state and nationally.

Racist?

My kid takes all regular classes and he's an straight A student!

Yeah, I agree. We should not try to be something we are not. If you don't want to go to college, you don't have to. And if people want AP classes that's there business. We should not try to be something we are not.

Become great again.

It's good to know that this schools system will stay exactly the same for a looong time! YAY! Who needs nonsense about 4 year colleges. I'm proud of 2 year colleges or no colleges. Let's hear it for getting rid of all that talk about academics. I'm proud of Metuchen schools and the way they been running.

Who are you asking?

Did you bother to vote?

And CQE while you're at it

Please make the campaign ads go away.

Metuchen has around 9800 registered voters, so 1700 voters is around 17%. So, 83% of voters didn't even bother to go to the polls.

Yay!

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