2019-2020 Budget…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last week an article was written questioning the transparency of the 2019-2020 budget presentation. I will try to clear up some misunderstandings.

  • The budgeting process is a six-month long endeavor that begins in October and ends with the Public Hearing on the Budget, which was held this year on April 30.
  • The tax levy increase in the 2019-2020 budget is 1.99%. This was presented on pages 6, 8, and 12 of the PowerPoint and, in addition, the budget was advertised on April 24 in The Herald News.
  • On page 12 of the PowerPoint, the tax levy impact was detailed and discussed relative to the average assessed home. You will notice that the assessed home value decreased from $247,000 to $242,500. This information came directly from the West Milford Township Tax Assessor’s Office on February 1. This figure is calculated by the Tax Assessor’s Office and is never estimated by the School District. We simply use this figure to compute the tax levy impact on the average assessed home. Assessed home values change over time and this year it decreased by $4,500. Please also note that these figures are not the average sale price.
  • The formula used is very simple. Assessed home value multiplied by the tax rate. In this instance one number increased (tax rate) and the other (assessed value) decreased leading to an overall reduction of $2.22 on the average assessed home. Rounded to three decimal places, the tax rate increased from 2.020 in 2018 to 2.057 in 2019. The impact of this increase affects each property differently based upon its assessed value.

 

If you would like to discuss in greater detail, please do not hesitate to contact my office for a meeting.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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2018-2019 Calendar Changes…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last night, the Board of Education approved changes to the 2018-2019 school calendar and, as a result, four unused snow days will be “removed” from the end of the school calendar in June. The new calendar has been posted on our website but changes are summarized here:

 

Friday, June 14 – Last full day of school

Monday, June 17 – Half day for students; Macopin Promotion

Tuesday, June 18 – Half day for students

Wednesday, June 19 – Half day for students and staff; Last day for students and staff; WMHS Graduation

Thursday, June 20 – Supplemental Professional Development Day for staff

 

In the event there is an unexpected school closing (power outage, etc.) between now and the end of school, this calendar will have to be amended again.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Marshall Hill School…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last evening the Franklin Lakes Board of Education approved the hire of Janet Cash as Director of Special Services, effective July 1. On behalf of our students, parents, and Marshall Hill staff, I would like to thank Mrs. Cash for her service and commitment to our students. During her tenure in West Milford, Marshall Hill was named a State School of Character and she has been able to develop a culture of inclusion across general and special education. We have already advertised for this position and will involve a committee of Marshall Hill stakeholders to assist us in this process. Additional updates will be forthcoming as soon as possible.

Lastly, tomorrow, Thursday, April 4 is a delayed opening schedule for students; SACC will open at its regular time – 7:00am.

 

If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Apshawa School…

Dear WMTPS Community,

Last night, the Fair Lawn Board of Education hired Stephanie Primavera as elementary principal; her last day at Apshawa School will be July 31. On behalf of the West Milford Board of Education, our students, parents, and staff, I would like to thank Mrs. Primavera for six outstanding years at Apshawa School. During her tenure in West Milford, Apshawa School was named a State and National School of Character. In addition, Mrs. Primavera has fostered a love of reading within the school community and she will be missed by all stakeholders.

Moving forward, we will advertise for her replacement and convene a committee of stakeholders to assist us in the process. Additional information will be shared with the Apshawa community throughout this process.

 

If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Outdoor Recess and a New Hire…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Earlier this week at the Board of Education meeting, the Board unanimously hired Nina Pearsall as our new K-12 Supervisor of Special Education. Mrs. Pearsall has a B.A. in Education from Rowan University and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University. She currently works as Supervisor of Special Services in the Pequannock Township School District and prior to that served as a teacher and principal in the Little Falls Public School District. Mrs. Pearsall is a graduate of our school system – Maple Road/Macopin/WMHS – and is eager to come back to her roots. Her start date is tentatively scheduled for March 21. Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Pearsall (back) to West Milford.

Yesterday at the Superintendent’s Roundtable, Mr. Novak and I met with PTA representatives from each of our eight schools. One of the topics we discussed concerned recess at the elementary schools. The overwhelming consensus was for our children to have outdoor recess as frequently as possible. The benefits (healthy living, cardiovascular health, brain breaks, social skill-building, etc.) of outdoor recess are well-researched and documented and, as a District, we wholeheartedly support our parents and will continue to provide this opportunity to our students.

If you have any questions about these matters, please do not hesitate to call. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Awards, PSAT, Highlander Sports…

Dear West Milford School Community,

 

Congratulations to Stephanie Primavera, Principal of Apshawa School! In December, she was named a Distinguished Elementary Educator by the New Jersey Department of Education. This prestigious award is given out to a select few individuals in the entire State. The Board of Education will honor Mrs. Primavera at its January 29th meeting.

 

January is a busy month for our Highlanders. PSAT scores for students in grades 8, 9, 10, and 11 were recently received by our Department of School Guidance and Counseling and will be mailed home within the next week. In the coming weeks, our school counselors will conduct an in-class program for 8th and 11th grade students and provide an overview of the score reports. Providing all our students with access to the PSAT was a new program that began last year and we feel it is a positive step for preparing our students for college. New research indicates that students who take the PSAT/SAT more than once will realize higher scores on each successive attempt. In addition, students who retake their SATs are more likely to enroll in a highly competitive university, most likely because improved scores made them stronger applicants. Students in grades 9-11 may view their scores and search for colleges in their Naviance Account and College Board Account.

 

Lastly, we are pleased to announce that through state-of-the-art video cameras mounted recently in our gymnasium (at no cost to our taxpayers), Highlander fans can watch our indoor sports (wrestling and basketball) on their computer, on their smartphone, or on their smart TVs from the comfort of their home. Fans will have the ability to purchase either a day pass or a season pass. Both options include an easy-to-use video clipper so you can capture and share your favorite plays and highlights on social media, with family and friends, or with college recruiters. If you miss the game live, you can watch it later in the “replay” section of the website. We also plan on installing this same camera at McCormack Field in the summer of 2019. We are excited to bring live Highlander sports to the West Milford community. For more information, please click here: NJ High School Sports LIVE.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

19/20 and 20/21 Calendars, HIB info…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

At the Board of Education meeting held last night, the Board approved the District calendar for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021; these calendars are posted on our website. Please note, due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather-related closures, these calendars are subject to change.

Also, there has been some confusion regarding incidents of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) and I would like to take a moment to clarify the District’s obligations as well as the role of the Board of Education. New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act is commonly referred to as the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) law. HIB is defined as an act or communication motivated by a characteristic (e.g. race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) that occurs on school grounds, on the school bus, at a school sponsored event, or even off school grounds in certain circumstances that:

  • a reasonable person should know will physically or emotionally harm the student or damage the student’s property, that the actions would place a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or property, or
  • has the effect of insulting or demeaning the student or groups of students, or
  • interferes with the student’s education, or is severe or pervasive enough that it causes physical or emotional harm to the student.

However, not all altercations or incidents that occur between students fall under that aforementioned definition. During a conflict, name-calling, threats and other conduct that might look like bullying can occur, but there is a distinction between a “conflict” and “HIB.” Conflict is considered mutual, meaning all participants play some part in initiating, continuing or engaging in the disagreement. Bullying, on the other hand, is one-sided, and an investigation of any alleged HIB must reveal that the action meets all of the legal requirements in order to be substantiated.

A common misconception is that if a HIB investigation is unsubstantiated, no discipline occurs. This is simply not true. Although not all incidents will fall under the strict definition of HIB, this does not mean that the situation will not be dealt with appropriately. All conduct infractions are subject to the Student Code of Conduct.

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools