March 22, 2017

After lengthy preparations and deliberations, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) last Thursday approved a tentative budget of $95,702 million for the 2017-18 school year, an increase of 4.88 percent over last year, with an anticipated 4.7 percent rise in the tax levy.

School taxes on the average Princeton home, assessed at $821,771, would increase by $223.95, a 2.5 percent hike.  more

As repairs to New Jersey’s oldest bridge and the construction of a new bridge next to it move forward, a portion of Route 206 will be closed completely from July through October, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) announced at a public information meeting yesterday. more

Keeping their momentum high in the volatile contemporary political environment, the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) gathered Sunday at the Suzanne Patterson Center behind Monument Hall to plan for the coming months and to endorse candidates for Assembly, State Senate, Mercer County Sheriff, Freeholder, and Princeton Council. more

March 15, 2017

The way forward for Princeton Charter School and the Princeton Public Schools remains cloudy two weeks after Acting State Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington approved the PCS request to expand by 76 students over the next two years.

PPS has filed an appeal of the decision and will request a stay, while PPS and PCS have also sued each other for violation of the Sunshine Law [Open Meeting Act]. more

As President Trump and Republicans in Congress re-affirm their determination to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), growing voices of dissent and mounting complications threaten to prolong the debate.

“It’s a tumultuous time in health care as we approach the seventh anniversary of the ACA,” said Heather Howard, director of the state health reform assistance network, Woodrow Wilson School lecturer, and Princeton Council member. more

March 8, 2017

The N.J. Acting Commissioner of Education on March 1 approved Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) proposal to expand its enrollment by 76 additional students, but the conflict that has raged in Princeton over the past three months since PCS submitted its application is not over.

Princeton Public Schools (PPS) announced yesterday that it will be filing an appeal of the decision with the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, and the Board will also file a request with the Acting Commissioner Kimberley Harrington to stay her decision. more

Hundreds of students, faculty members, and others crowded into more than 60 different teach-in sessions at Princeton University’s Frist Campus Center Monday, as part of a Day of Action in responding to new Trump administration policies and the current political climate.

The event was organized by Princeton Citizen Scientists (PCS), created by graduate students after last November’s election, and Princeton Advocates for Justice (PAJ), a coalition representing more than 25 different campus organizations advocating for human rights. more

In reflecting on how he arrived at his current position as co-owner, with his brothers Carlo and Anthony of the Terra Momo Group of local restaurants, Raoul Momo thought about a subject much in the news recently: immigration.

“My parents were immigrants,” he said. “They came to America in 1960. I was born in 1961. It’s a melting pot culture. We have the rich food cultures here thanks to immigrants. The fact that my parents were immigrants is part of the history of this country. Immigrants have brought with them the great food cultures, and the melting pot has so much potential for the future.”

Including Teresa’s Caffe and Mediterra on Palmer Square, Eno Terra wine bar and restaurant in Kingston, and The Terra Momo Bread Company on Witherspoon Street, the Momo’s restaurant group “all started with Teresa Azario Momo, our mother, who was born in Bergamo, Italy, and our father, Raul Momo Marmonti, who was born in Chile.”  more

March 1, 2017

A coalition of student groups will be hosting a “Day of Action” at Princeton University next Monday, March 6, in response to the Trump Administration and the current political climate. Staff and students will attend a series of teach-ins, workshops, and panel discussions at the Frist Campus Center, exploring issues of human rights, the environment, international peace, and security С all channeled toward the goal of organizing and taking action.  more

“DYNAMO OF ENERGY AND CARING SENSITIVITY:” Reverend Alexis Fuller-Wright, most recently from Farmington, Maine, has taken over the pulpit at Christ Congregation and looks forward to leading the church in new directions, with emphasis on the church as a relevant presence in the community and the world.

Reverend Alexis Fuller-Wright, Pastor Alexis as her congregation knows her, explained that “God is still speaking, continuing to point us in new and interesting directions, and our job is to listen.” more

In the wake of last week’s White House rejection of the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, the Princeton Public Schools have stated that the District’s transgender policy will remain in place.

The state of North Carolina became the focal point of the “bathroom debate” a year ago when it barred transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match the sex on their birth certificates, and last week’s directive from the Trump Justice and Education Departments came only after a clash between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with Mr. Sessions finally prevailing. more

February 22, 2017

Acting State Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington is scheduled to render a decision by early March on the Princeton Charter School (PCS) request to add 76 students.

Both PCS and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) face related law suits in the state courts over violations of the open public meeting act (OPMA, the sunshine law); both PCS and PPS have filed opposition statements, responses, and additional statements with the commissioner in making their cases, some before and some after the January 31 deadline for public comment; the conflict has raged in the media, with many letters to the editor and paid ads on both sides of the argument; and the commissioner has received petitions and thousands of letters from both sides, as well as a resolution from Princeton Town Council opposing expansion.  more

The beleaguered PARCC test suffered another blow last week when the State Assembly Education Committee voted С 10 yes, one abstention С to support a resolution that would strike down regulations adopted by the State Board of Education in August 2016 that made PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) a graduation requirement.

The standardized assessment has been the target of much criticism from local educators, teachers’ unions, and community members, with many parents in Princeton choosing for their children, particularly at the high school level, to opt out of taking the tests. more

Shock waves continue to reverberate through academic, scholarly, and scientific communities, even though the White House executive order of January 27, 2017, banning entrance to the U.S. for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely, has been temporarily suspended by federal court order. more

February 15, 2017

Princeton and 16 other universities filed an amicus curiae brief on Monday in a civil action which the attorney general of New York and others are pursuing in federal district court in New York City. The brief follows up on a February 2 letter to President Trump signed by Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber and 47 other college and university presidents urging Mr. Trump “to rectify or rescind the recent executive order” on immigration. more

As Princeton Charter School (PCS) awaits a decision from the State on its application to expand, both PCS and the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) face law suits in the state courts over violations of the open public meeting act (OPMA, the sunshine law).

The Charter School applied to the State Department of Education on December 1, 2016, requesting to add 76 students and to institute a weighted lottery to increase enrollment of economically disadvantaged students. The proposal set off immediate resistance from the PPS, which warned of severe financial consequences for the District. Controversy between the schools and within the community continues to seethe. more

QUALITY OF LIFE: Bike Planners look forward to finalizing their Princeton Bike Plan, winning Planning Board approval, and seeing their proposals put in place to enhance biking opportunities and the quality of life for the whole town. (Photo courtesy of Bicycle Master Plan)

There are the intrepid cyclists who are happy to ride in almost all conditions. There are the community members who wouldn’t ride under any circumstances, and then there are the 60 percent of people in Princeton who would like to bike, but find conditions a bit scary, with narrow roads, traffic, or other problems.  more

February 8, 2017

A rally “Against the Muslim Ban and Bigotry,” co-sponsored by The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), took place on the steps of the Trenton City Hall Monday, as federal courts, which had temporarily banned the administration from enforcing two parts of Mr. Trump’s order, considered the federal government’s appeals against their ruling.

Meanwhile local institutions, groups, and individuals continue to express their concern and to take action to support vulnerable individuals. more

GOING GREEN ATJW: Green Team members show off their new plan for recycling and composting at John Witherspoon Middle School. The students presented the program to their teachers at a faculty meeting on Monday and will bring their peers on board in homerooms this Friday.

A group of seventh and eight graders, members of the John Witherspoon Middle School (JW) Green Team, are moving into high gear this week, first teaching their teachers about recycling and composting, then bringing their training to the whole school in homerooms on Friday. more

As she was growing up, Joy Barnes-Johnson planned her future life as a dancer. Then an injury during her junior year in high school turned into a loss for the world of dance but a great gain for the world of education and for hundreds of students at Princeton High School, where she has taught science since 2007.

“When I knew I couldn’t be a dancer, I fell in love with science,” she recalled. “And I remember my chemistry teacher said to me, ‘Joy, you’re not going to be a dancer, but you’re really smart and you’ll probably be a great teacher.’ I knew I had this ability to explain things to my peers.”  more

February 1, 2017

Leaders from Princeton Charter School (PCS) and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) continue to hold confidential private meetings, most recently last Thursday, in search of a resolution to their clash over PCS’s proposed expansion, with a decision from State Department of Education (DOE) Acting Commissioner Kimberley Harrington expected by the end of February.  more

With chaos at airports, in the courts and elsewhere throughout the country amidst controversy over President Donald Trump’s recent immigration restriction orders, Princeton is making plans to protect vulnerable members of the community.

“Recent executive actions on immigration issues are cruel, counterproductive, and contrary to the values we hold dear in Princeton,” Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert and the Town Council wrote in a statement issued Monday night.  more

LEADERSHIP TRANSITION: Princeton Day School on the Great Road will welcome Rebecca Bushnell, a University of Pennsylvania English professor and administrator, as its new Board Chair on July 1.

Rebecca Bushnell, elected last week as chair of the Board of Trustees at Princeton Day School, has a long history with the school, and looks forward to the challenges ahead.

“It was a young school when I was there,” the 1970 PDS graduate recalled. “I got a wonderful education that prepared me for education and life. PDS has certainly transformed over the years, but it has kept its core strengths in academics and athletics, with strong programs in the arts and architecture.” more

January 25, 2017

Before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 outspoken community members the Municipal Council voted 4-1 on Monday night to approve a resolution urging the State Department of Education to deny Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) recent application to expand.

In responding to a conflict between PCS and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) supporters, who have claimed devastating effects to their budget if the expansion is approved, the Council members discussed the issue at some length and listened to a range of opinions from the public before casting their votes on the resolution.  more

DAZZLING DESIGNS: Among the many new retail and eating establishments coming onto the Princeton scene this spring is the Cargot Brasserie, a French inspired eatery next to the Dinky Pub and Kitchen, shown here in a rendering by Celano Design Studio of New York.

The ever-shifting landscape of Princeton shops and restaurants may be even more turbulent than usual over the coming months, with Carnevale Plaza preparing to open on eastern Nassau Street, MAC Cosmetics moving in to Palmer Square next to Ann Taylor, The Papery stationery store relocating to Princeton Shopping Center to be joined by Dental Care Princeton and a creative salad company called Chop’t, and the Cargot Brasserie opening in Princeton’s arts and transit neighborhood.  more