Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 18
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
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School Board Swears in New Members; Elects Alan Hegedus as President

Ellen Gilbert

Following the previous week’s Princeton Regional School Board election in which the proposed budget was passed and three member seats were filled, the Board held its annual organizational meeting last Tuesday evening.

After the swearing-in of returning Township representative Walter Bliss and new members Dan Haughton (Township), and Timothy Quinn (Borough), the Board unanimously elected Borough members Alan Hegedus and Rebecca Cox as its President and Vice-President. Mr. Hegedus described the current board as “as good as any board that has filled these chairs.”

It was noted that there were 380 additional voters for this year’s budget, and School Superintendent Judy Wilson expressed her thanks for the community’s support.

Two agenda items at Tuesday’s meeting were tabled for further discussion. The Professional Development Plan for 2008-09 will be back on the May meeting agenda after it is vetted by the Program Committee. Approval of a revision to the Uniform State Memorandum of Agreement, outlining the conduct of law enforcement officials within school facilities, was also tabled in anticipation of a meeting between the School Superintendent and the State Attorney General.

The Board accepted donations and expressed its thanks to the J. Seward Johnson, Sr 1963 Charitable Trust for its gift of $15,000, and the Princeton Theological Seminar for its annual donation of $72,000.

Amidst the traditional give-and-take of the Board’s regular meeting, two issues received particular attention during the Public Forum sessions.

Students Speak

In the first, a three-student contingent from Princeton High School took turns describing the need to make lessons and discussions about current events a regular part of the PRS curriculum. Asking the board to “help us become better citizens,” the students described the positive response they received from other students to the information they disseminated and thoughtful discussions they led during a recent walk-out to protest the war in Iraq. Creating clubs, they said, would not suffice, since an “unbiased” atmosphere and teacher-supplied factual information were both important.

The students emphasized that their presence was not to complain about the detentions they had been assigned as a result of leaving classes for the walk-out on March 19.

They also expressed concern about the high school sharing personal information with military recruiters under the “No Child Left Behind” act. Ms. Wilson pointed out that at least three mailings were sent to the parents of upper-class students to give them an opportunity to “opt out” of this exchange. With respect to the students’ request for classes that address current issues, she noted that faculty members and administration are taking their concerns “seriously,” and are particularly looking at studies courses as appropriate venues. Mr. Bliss, Mr. Haughton, and Mr. Hegedus all lauded the students’ initiative, encouraging them to continue to create opportunities for community participation in exchanging ideas.

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