October 17, 2018

To the Editor:

Mr. Cochrane and the Board of Ed tell us there are 200 more students at the high school than the high school has room for, and so they have included funding for four new classrooms in their latest bond proposal of $27 million. There are, however, 280 students from Cranbury who need not be there, so any overcrowding is the result of the Board’s policy of admitting these students. Despite this, just a few months ago the BoE signed an agreement to continue educating students from Cranbury for another 10 years. They have offered no credible rationale for continuing this policy. The tuition Cranbury pays does not even cover the costs of educating the students it sends, let alone providing surplus funds for new classrooms to house them.  more

To the Editor:

This is to recommend that registered voters (NJ registration ended October 16) consider using Vote by Mail Ballots in advance of this November 6 (and other) elections.  

Advantages include: Your vote will have been cast even If you are away, are sick, disabled, or if bad weather is a problem on Election Day. Also, New Jersey’s lack of verified paper ballots in voting machines may give Mail-In Ballots a greater measure of security. more

To the Editor:

As former elected members of Princeton’s governing body, we enthusiastically support Democratic candidates Eve Niedergang and Dwaine Williamson for Princeton Council. Both have impressive records of service to our community. Both are leaders we can be proud of. The focus of their campaign is “A Princeton for All,” and they will work tirelessly on behalf of our community for a Princeton that is welcoming and inclusive, fiscally responsible, committed to affordability, and dedicated to sustainable growth. more

To the Editor:

I am writing to urge Princeton voters to join me in voting for Brian McDonald for Board of Education, ballot position #5. I’ve known Brian for more than a decade. He is someone I admire and respect immensely for his character, his strong analytical skills, and his deep commitment to this town. more

To the Editor:

I don’t know which I find most disappointing: Judge Jacobson’s decree imposing 750 subsidized housing units upon our little town, or our Council’s submissive acceptance of that decree, or the alacrity with which Princeton Future has endorsed the decree as justification for the group’s long standing vision of an urban core. more

To the Editor:

At Princeton Council’s meeting on 8 October, some of us asked that Council adopt an Indigenous Peoples Day to replace the traditional Columbus Day. We are grateful that our words fell on very receptive ears, and we particularly thank Mayor Lempert for her open embrace of the idea of declaring an Indigenous Peoples Day in Princeton. We also thank the mayor for asking Letitia Fraga, the Princeton Council liaison to the Civil Rights Commission, to initiate such discussions with the Commission, and we hope that the CRC will recommend such a declaration, with Princeton Council action to follow. more

October 10, 2018

To the Editor:

Ralph Perry’s letter [“Ideas to Help Solve Overcrowding In Schools and Reduce Cost of Bond,” Mailbox, October 3] presents a pair of interrelated data points whose joint significance appears to need emphasizing. He notes that the school system has plans to buy a particular property on Thanet Road for $12.6 million, on which its present owners are paying taxes of $230,000 a year. The selling price is disproportionate to the tax payments. Taxes of $230,000 per year project to an assessed valuation of approximately 9.7 million, not 12.6 million. If and when this transaction takes place, logically either the school system should pay less or the sellers should pay back taxes at least back to the general revaluation circa 2010 on the underassessment they have been benefiting from — preferably with interest.

John Strother

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

Regardless of which side you fall on the referendum, it is clear that Betsy Baglio and Dafna Kendal are working day and night, as current School Board members, to be positive change agents.

As a parent who has worked closely with the school board and administration over the past decade, I can understand that being a Board member is not an easy job. I appreciate Betsy and Dafna’s tenacity and resolve to delve into great detail on many topics, and actively work towards solutions. They do the hard work that I expect from a School Board member by asking tough questions and giving challenging answers. They are working to improve Board transparency and encourage community participation. I feel they are honestly trying to look at all sides, make compromises when needed, and be vocal on sensitive matters. more

To the Editor:

Princetonians attending the many School Board meetings on the proposed referendum this summer witnessed levels of division that rivaled our national political scene. The silver lining to emerge from that acrimonious process is that it propelled a truly exceptional candidate, Brian McDonald, to run for the School Board.  more

To the Editor:

As a student at Princeton High School, I have observed a number of problems that could be corrected if the proposed referendum is passed. The school is crowded, classrooms are often too hot to concentrate, and bathrooms are in disrepair.

Class sizes vary from small to large, which in my opinion is not as much of a problem as battling large crowds of students trying to navigate from class to class. The schedule allows for four minutes between classes, and it can be nearly impossible to get from one class to another in this amount of time due to the distances and crowds.  more

To the Editor:

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) held its annual Rent Party on Saturday, September 22 when over 120 people gathered at the beautiful home of Melanie and John Clarke to help us “raise the rent” to assist low-income working families in our community. Through the generosity of our supporters — and the more than 40 event sponsors — HIP raised more than $48,000 which we will use to provide transitional housing with family-focused supportive services and emergency rental assistance to help families avoid homelessness and move towards long-term self-sufficiency.  more

To the Editor:

As a resident of the Littlebrook neighborhood, it has come to my attention via the newspapers and word of mouth that the School Board is proposing to move their administrative offices, as well as buses to the Thanet property off of Terhune Road.

I would like to make the following points with regards to this issue:

First: The school system/town should first provide all interested parties in the area of their plans in detail. To find out about a plan that will impact daily life in a neighborhood via the newspapers is entirely unacceptable and possibly illegal if it affects air quality, noise levels etc. in an area that is not zoned for their proposed use at least with regards to buses.  more

October 3, 2018

To the Editor:

It’s election time, and the League of Women Voters is compiling the responses of candidates— from Senate to Princeton Council and School Board — for its online Voters’ Guide, www.VOTE411.org. Princeton voters will be able to see their entire ballot on VOTE411 starting the week of October 8. more

To the Editor:

A major objective of the PPS referendum is to eliminate the overcrowding in all schools. The following ideas will help to solve that problem and simultaneously reduce the cost of the referendum bond. more

To the Editor:

Of the major challenges facing the Princeton community, finding and providing for an affordable home is high on the list. This community has always supported affordable housing not just as an ideal, but also followed through with construction such as Griggs Farm and Washington Oaks. I have been involved with providing and maintaining affordable housing for more than 25 years as a member of the Princeton Affordable Housing Board and a commissioner on the Princeton Housing Authority.

As the community is aware, the town has an obligation to provide a total of 753 units of affordable housing by 2025. Achieving this goal will require the community’s traditional commitment to affordable housing and leadership supporting its construction. Fortunately, two candidates for Princeton Council, Eve Niedergang and Dwaine Williamson, are committed to affordable housing and will work hard to insure that the town meets its affordable housing obligation. They deserve this community’s support.

Alvin McGowen

Race Street

To the Editor:

When my family moved to Jefferson Road in 2011, there were no young children on our block. Today there are 15, ranging from the 7-month-old next door to the fifth grader across the street. Our block is living the demographic changes happening in Princeton. Young families are moving in, many of them attracted to our town’s reputation for strong public schools. That reputation — and, most important, the educational futures of our children — now hang in the balance.  more

To the Editor:

On Saturday, September 22 the Arts Council of Princeton hosted the fourth annual An Evening with Bollywood event at the Princeton Shopping Center. It was a magical evening celebrating Indian culture for the more than 1,000 attendees who enjoyed an open bazaar market, Bollywood dance performance, and a lively Bollywood-inspired dance party to top off the night.

This event would not be possible without the generous support of EDENS, Princeton Shopping Center, Uma Kapoor, whose NachNation dance troupe delighted the audience with their live performance, and the Arts Council staff and volunteers, who worked tirelessly to ensure that it was a great evening for everyone. And, thank you to the community for supporting this event — the outpouring of enthusiasm was amazing to see. more

To the Editor:

I support the letter on Princeton’s Composting program [“Sabotaged by Poor Communication,” Mailbox, Sept. 26]. I have always believed in composting and recycling. It is a priority of mine to care for the Earth that we have been privileged to inherit, and leave it in good shape for our descendants. After my move just over two years ago, we decided to use the Princeton Green Bucket program instead of maintaining our own compost heap.  more

To the Editor:

Princeton Public School buildings are in a state of decay and inadequate for today’s students, never mind tomorrow’s. Many of our students perform well despite the lousy facilities — certainly not because of them. Rankings and average test scores don’t tell the whole story. They don’t measure the opportunities lost because there isn’t enough space to offer an elective course or special subject; they don’t measure the failure of an instructor to provide adequate attention to a student falling behind because they have too many charges; and they definitely don’t measure the level of anxiety felt by adolescents navigating crowded hallways and cafeterias in addition to their own educational futures. more

September 26, 2018

To the Editor:

As we near the November 6, 2018 midterm election, numerous signs point to a “blue wave” of Democratic enthusiasm cresting over New Jersey. The fight to restore the balance of power in both chambers of Congress begins in our state, where U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, whose voting record demonstrates a strong history of defending health care accessibility, the right of women to choose, LGBT rights, and protecting the environment, faces a critical re-election campaign that depends on a strong turnout from all parts of the state.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic candidates must flip a total of 23 Republican-held seats to gain the pivotal U.S. House majority. Opportunities to flip five of these seats are present in New Jersey alone, as strong Democratic challengers Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Josh Welle (NJ-04), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), and Mikie Sherill (NJ-11) run on a platform of enacting legislation to lift up all Americans and to protect the rights we have fought so hard to secure. All these candidates are inspiring grassroots enthusiasm powered by women, people of color, and young people, reminiscent of the 2006 midterm election, where Democratic candidates flipped dozens of seats and control of Congress blue. more

To the Editor:

The need for more space at our schools is indisputable. I wholly support the high school renovations; however, have serious objections to the creation of a separate 5/6 school.

The introduction of two two-year schools would significantly affect the community feel and spirit of the district and be very disruptive. For the typical two-child family, the children would be in different schools for the majority of their school careers (six years), while for families with three or more children, they would juggle three different schools for at least four years — a logistically challenging arrangement most parents would not willingly choose. more

To the Editor:

As a proud Princeton resident and lifelong proponent of public education, I support the entirety of the Princeton schools referendum and urge fellow residents to do the same. To my mind, passing the referendum in its various parts will enable critical investments in our schools and in our children’s futures. The high school renovation is a no-brainer — no one wants to abandon the high school building for a new one, but nearly everyone generally agrees it must be expanded and upgraded. Students eating lunch on the floor in the halls and being assigned free periods because there is no classroom in which to teach them something are not sustainable conditions in one of the state’s best school districts. more

To the Editor:

We are writing concerning the current decision of Princeton University to eliminate Dillon Gym memberships for the general public and their choice not to grandfather in existing members who want to continue.

Since this decision was initially sprung upon members in late June, a number of reasons have been floated. Initially, it was due to overcrowding. Then, they simply wanted the facility to be exclusive to University students, faculty, and personnel. Now, it seems to be due to the influx of additional students in the near, but not immediate, future and the impact they will have while in school and after graduation. At that time, if still in the Princeton area, they, their spouses, and potentially their children can all join Dillon. Theoretically, the number of current members from the public will ruin this long-range plan, hence the decision to eliminate public memberships now. We think it’s safe to say that most people plan for the future, but this seems to stretch the meaning of the phrase. more

To the Editor:

As Bob Rabner correctly points out in his letter [“Resident Is Concerned About Town’s Recycling and Composting Program,” Mailbox, Sept. 19], Princeton’s composting program has been poorly managed. He incorrectly stated that pizza boxes are not allowed. Why? Poor communication.  more

To the Editor:

We are writing to let the community know that we are seeking re-election for a second three-year term on the Princeton Public Schools’ Board of Education on November 6, 2018. It has been a privilege to serve our community and our district’s students in this role, and we are committed to providing continuity of leadership on the Board of Education during this critical time for our school district.

We are results-oriented leaders with a strong focus on student-centered initiatives, a great respect for our district’s staff, and a concern for our limited community resources. During our (almost) three years on the board, we have guided the implementation of many positive changes in our district, such as: more