Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hundreds jam PHS cafeteria for BOE budget presentation

$8 million shortfall must be resolved.

A last-minute move of the Plainfield Board of Ed's work/study session from the PHS conference room to the cafeteria caught many people by surprise (including me, guided by the location on the online agenda).

By the time I got from Park Avenue to the Kenyon Avenue lot, found a space, and hoofed it to the cafeteria, Business Administrator Gary Ottman was just finishing up on the budget presentation.

Walking in, it was clear why the meeting had been moved. The entire cafeteria was packed, with only a few spaces at tables in the rear of the room. My estimate: between 500 and 600 attendees.

Ottman was ending with the growing bite out of the district's resources taken by charter schools, basically concluding that without legislative or structural relief by the state, the fiscal picture for the Plainfield school district was grim indeed.

This year's shortfall is $8 million and is projected to grow each year.

When the public was given an opportunity to speak, there were about a dozen or so questions and comments. Among the most powerful was that of Plainfield Education Association (PEA) president Eric Jones, that "if things keep going the way they are, we'll be broke in four or five years."

The District has hired a consultant, who spoke briefly, outlining the approach they are going to take with the state: to appeal to the state through what is called a "waiver request" for relief from the burdens put upon the district by the city's charter schools.

When one speaker criticized the Board for not having taken stronger action against the charter schools, Board President Emily Morgan reminded the audience that last year, her first as President, she had signed a strong letter to the state urging the denial of a charter to yet another school slated for Plainfield -- and that Plainfield prevailed when the State denied that application.

Ottman said that a balanced budget proposal must be submitted to the County Superintendent of Schools by next Tuesday. The District will have to make that document available to the public.

The final budget must be adopted by the June business meeting. Look for more information on the district's website here.

Theresa Ann Moroney Teacher and Plainfield bookstore owner was an avid reader and adventurous cook Theresa Ann Moroney of Plainfield, N.J., died on Jan. 19, 2017, from complications of breast cancer. Family and friends are invited to join together to honor Terry's life at The Landing, 311 Amwell Rd., Hillsborough, N.J., on Sunday, Jan. 22, for brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Terry was born on March 24, 1944, in Summit, N.J., to Mary Gallagher and David Moroney, the seventh of nine children. She graduated from St. Teresa's Grammar School, Summit, in 1958, and attended three high schools: Summit High for two years, followed by a year at Madison High, before graduating from South Plainfield High in 1962. Terry attended Fairleigh Dickinson University while working night shifts at her sister Catherine's diner, becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college with a B.A. in English in 1967. While at FDU she served as editor for the school newspaper. After graduation, Terry and her sister Grace travelled across the country. Terry began her teaching career at Westfield High in 1967 and continued at Plainfield High. In 1972 the call of the highway beckoned once more, and she and Grace continued their cross-country exploration. Upon returning to New Jersey, Terry met and married the love of her life, David Beck, and soon welcomed two sons into her world. In 1980 she reentered the work force, teaching adult education in Plainfield and New Brunswick, N.J., a vocation in which she took tremendous pride. In 1992 Terry returned to high school, teaching at North Plainfield until her retirement in 2009. In 1997 Terry opened "Another Look Books" in Plainfield. A labor of love, the used book store served the downtown community until closing its doors in the early 2000's. Terry was active in the Cook School PTA, and while at North Plainfield she served as advisor for the school newspaper and lent her aid to countless students; she took particular joy in helping her ESL students apply to college. She was an active member of the Plainfield Historical Society and the Democratic Committee in Plainfield. Terry was an avid reader and adventurous cook; the two pursuits birthed an extensive and lovingly used library of cookbooks and personal recipes. Terry was predeceased by her husband, David Michael Beck, in 2014. She is survived by her sons, Andrew David and Richard Evelyn; her daughter-in-law, Christine Beck, and grandsons, Damien Carter and Alexander David. The seventh of nine children, Terry is survived by her sister, Constance Costello Rooney. She was predeceased by her brothers, David, Richard, and James, and her sisters, Margaret, Catherine, Rosemary, and Grace. In New Jersey, Terry will be missed by her sister-in-law, Kathleen Moroney; nephews, Charles Femminella and his wife, Charlotte Ryden, Christopher (Gretchen), Sean (Karen), and Mark Moroney (Kelly); nieces, Regina and Renee Femminella, Maureen Pena (Joseph), Sandra Roberts (Steve Kosciolek), and Jennifer McBride (Sean); in Virginia, by Moyra Moroney; in Arizona, by her brother-in-law, Paul Beck and, in Hawaii, by John Beck; and many grand-nephews and grand-nieces. - See more at:

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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