WALTER R. BLISS JR.
To the Editor:
It has been a privilege to serve on the School Board these last three years as the District has added new facilities, reached a new contract with the teachers, appointed a new superintendent, and developed an energetic, pro-active approach to student achievement.
There is still much to be done. I ask for your support in voting yes on the budget questions.
Particularly from my standpoint as head of the Facilities Committee, now that we have created the spaces to help achieve our program goals, it is necessary to operate and maintain them. This budget provides that support in the most economical fashion.
I ask voters to come to the polls to affirm the budget questions, and for those living in the Borough, my candidacy. We have a great school district. We can only keep it that way with your participation.
To the Editor:
Princeton residents and taxpayers properly agonize over the property taxes which, at about 50 cents of every dollar, go to support their schools. Annual increases, which in recent years have outpaced inflation, are not sustainable in the long run. There is reason, however, to view this reality with other than alarm.
Few taxes (none come to mind) represent as real and near-certain a return on investment as does our local school tax. Princeton property values in recent years have escalated at an even greater rate than our expenditures on our schools. A school budget average increase of several hundred dollars per residence typically is matched by a property value appreciation measured in the thousands. In other words, a multiple of the tax increase is returned in the same year; who wouldn't be delighted to make such investments in any other investment arena? Granted, this entire increase may not be due to our schools, but surely the academic excellence we enjoy is a primary driver to underlying demand for real estate in the area.
Our recent investment of over $80 million in our schools, overwhelmingly passed by the voters four years ago, is just now being enjoyed as excellent learning space, enhancing the educational experience for all of our children as well as their teachers. This is a strong statement that we will not relegate education to a secondary priority through under-funding. Princeton is seen as a highly desirable community in which to live and raise families; premier schools are an absolute and vital necessity to sustaining that reality.
We are blessed to have such a long-standing record of performance in the Princeton schools. Please acknowledge your continued support by voting on April 19 for the continued investment in our children and in our community.
ALAN K. HEGEDUS
To the Editor:
I urge Princeton residents to approve the Second Budget Question at the school election on April 19. It would provide $1.9 million in funding for broadening academic achievement, increasing participation in music and athletics, and enhancing school security.
Why can't this be accomplished in the regular school budget? Because State-imposed budget restrictions, the escalation of operating costs beyond the control of the Board, negotiated salary increases needed to maintain our excellent faculty, frozen state aid, and the unfunded mandate of No Child Left Behind, simply leave no room in the base budget for innovation of any kind without separate voter approval.
A "yes" to the Second Question would fund new initiatives to ensure that in fact no child is left behind in the Princeton Schools. The goals include early mastery of core skills by all students, proactive individualized attention to students' needs and learning styles, and aggressive remediation of individual achievement issues, especially with respect to reading, writing, and math. The Second Question would also provide our elementary schools with specialized assistance in dealing with individual behavioral problems and in developing more effective outreach between school and home on the whole range of issues affecting student success.
These initiatives will affect every student. They also will produce long-term savings in the form of reduced costs for special education and remediation. Especially important in this regard is the contemplated expansion of in-district preschool programs.
The Second Question provides funding as well for expanded instrumental music and athletic programs at the middle school, in part to ensure that more students have the confidence and skill to participate in these activities in high school. It also bolsters security at the middle school and high school. The proposal provides the funding for two additional school monitors together with administrative support. This is an investment in our peace of mind.
I believe that all Princetonians, not just the parents of Princeton schoolchildren, have an important stake in the success of the Second Question. The Princeton Schools are the pride of our community and help to make Princeton a highly desirable place to live. Yet our schools require the support of all of us if they are to maintain their high standards while continuing to improve. For more information please consult www2.prs.k12.nj.us.
R. BLISS JR.
To the Editor:
I am writing to inform residents of Princeton about developments in Hillsborough that may have an enormous impact on the quality of life in our town. Our local governments must quickly pay attention to the threat if they are to protect us.
There are plans to create what the developer has called "one of the largest multi-product transload facilities in the country" on Veterans Affairs Supply Depot land just off Route 206. (A transload facility is a place where goods and materials are moved from rail to truck and vice versa.) The VA has issued a 35 year lease with IRG, a California-based company, for its 165 acre depot, and a division of the Raritan Central Railroad of Newton, Mass., has in turn announced its deal with IRG for the transshipping point.
The announcement should give us all pause. Yet it is currently being publicly welcomed by most Hillsborough Township officials; they seem to be pleased about the prospect of jobs and possible tax revenues and seem to be ignoring the adverse environmental impact of heavy truck traffic, not to mention potential dangers associated with materials that might possibly be shipped through the site.
Why, you may ask, should we in Princeton care? Think thousands of trucks, many of which will be traveling south and snaking through the center of our town onto Stockton and Nassau and quite possibly onto Mercer, Washington and Harrison. It doesn't matter that Route 206 is not on the National Network for Trucks; the trucking industry reserves the right to send eighteen wheelers anywhere they please and the State of New Jersey has historically done little to restrain them.
The situation is made worse by "improvements" to the road. Anyone who has driven north on Route 206 recently will note the great new expanses of asphalt in Somerville. There are plans, currently being resisted by Montgomery Township, to build a Hillsborough bypass that will move more traffic quickly south on a widened Route 206 and straight into the heart of our historic, residential town.
Princeton Borough and Township should be saying no to the transload facility and they should continue opposing the further widening of Route 206 to our north. As they do so, and as they contact officials in Washington and Trenton, we want everyone to know that Princeton residents are solidly behind them, that we feel strongly about protecting the safety of our roads and the quality of life in our town.
We should also be encouraging the Borough and the Township to work with residents to review the entire length of Route 206 in Princeton so that drivers on State Road, Bayard Lane, and Stockton Street clearly see that they have entered a residential area and understand that they must drive appropriately.
To see a copy of a petition on this issue or to obtain more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
The Princeton Girlchoir hosted its annual spring benefit concert on Saturday, April 2. "Absolutely a cappella" showcased the talents of two award-winning a cappella groups Princeton based Key of She and New York City based Pieces of Eight. The successful evening brought together community members and Princeton Girlchoir friends and families to enjoy fabulous a cappella music and help raise money for our tuition assistance fund.
This year marks the 16th anniversary of the Princeton Girlchoir, a nonprofit community choral organization serving more than 180 girls in grades three through 12. Girls from more than 26 schools in central New Jersey and Bucks County, Pa. participate in the organization's choirs each year.
We are deeply grateful to everyone who attended the concert and to all who made it possible. We would especially like to thank our corporate underwriters and sponsors. These include American Express Company, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, The Times, Innovex, Mayflower Cleaners, Mercedes Benz of Princeton, Dahlia's Flower Shop, Document Depot, Main Street Catering, Princeton Day School, Shop-Rite Liquors of Pennington, and Webb Mason. We also would like to thank Anne Fahey, John Baker, John Kunz, and Andrew Babick.
Many thanks to the Princeton community for your wonderful support!
To the Editor:
I am addressing this open letter to all concerned citizens of Princeton Township and Borough. The fight against the proposed jazz night club on Route 206 on the current site of Mike's Tavern and adjacent properties is coming to a head.
The owner of these properties, Stephen Distler, plans to build a 10,000 square foot jazz club in our midst, operating seven days a week, with late shows every night. Are you concerned about traffic, parking, noise, and additional trash collection on our residential streets?
If so, make your voice and concern heard. Unless you act, Mr. Distler's application appears headed for final approval at a special meeting of the Zoning Board, now scheduled for April 20.
Please attend this meeting, April 20, at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Township Municipal Complex Main Meeting Room, 400 Witherspoon Street.
Unless you attend and stand up and ask to be heard, there will be no accountability to oversee the Zoning Board's actions, nor any means to contain Mr. Distler's plans in the face of massive community opposition.
To the Editor:
Please join us in front of the Clark house on the Princeton Battlefield on Mercer Road on Sunday, April 17 for the annual Great Strides Walk to Cure Cystic Fibrosis. The Mercer County Executive, Brian Hughes, will join with the representatives of 101.5 FM and some members of the Princeton High School Studio Band to start the walk at 12:30 p.m. Registration will begin at noon with warm up exercises and children's crafts to prepare us for the two mile walk. There will be prizes, music, sandwiches, and water bottles as well as new "Breath of Life" wristbands.
We need to find a better treatment and a cure for this fatal disease. Children afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis suffer lung infections, shortness of breath, sinus problems, dehydration, and digestive disorders. With the best treatments available they will live long enough to finish college but not long enough to take their place in the corporate or professional world.
The gene responsible for this fatal disease has been isolated, the mechanism of the disease is understood, and the problem can be solved. With the resources, the intelligence, and the scientific prowess available, CF could become the paradigm for the cure of other genetic diseases.
Last year the Princeton walk contributed $115,000 to the national effort to cure CF. More than 91 percent of the money raised by the CF Foundation is designated to treat and cure Cystic Fibrosis. The Wall Street Journal has rated the CF Foundation as "one of the charities you can trust" based on this record. You can help with your prayers, energy, talents, and donations.
With your help on April 17 we can change the meaning of the initials CF from Cystic Fibrosis to Cure Found. For more information, please call (609) 683-9577 or e-mail the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at www.cff.org.
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