Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 40
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
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Princeton School Board Discusses The $28,000 Question, Valley Road

Ellen Gilbert

While the reopening of schools this year proved to be smoothy “uneventful,” according to Princeton Regional School Board President Alan Hegedus, there was considerable debate at last week’s board meeting over the issue of whether or not to pay $28,000 in dues owed by the district to the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA).

Saying that NJSBA had failed to carry out its responsibilities, particularly with respect to a four-year old resolution submitted by PRS asking it to consider switching to electronic ballots in its elections, board member Joshua Leinsdorf reasserted his belief, expressed at the previous meeting when the issue was tabled, that the board should not pay its dues. While School Superintendent Judy Wilson and
several board members agreed that NJSBA could be more responsive, they suggested that implementing changes in the organization could only occur by working from within, and that school board member Rebecca Cox’s presence on the NJSBA board strengthened these chances. The board ultimately voted to pay the district’s dues to NJSBA, with Mr. Leinsdorf voting no.

Both Mr. Hegedus and Ms. Wilson lauded the Princeton Education Foundation (PEF) for its ongoing financial support of Princeton public schools. Mr. Hegedus cited PEF’s role in funding the high school’s new state-of-the art fitness center, obtaining a $100,000 gift from the Institute for Advanced Studies to support science curricula, a $3,000 programming grant for summer instruction, and $4,800 in mini-grants awarded to teachers who displayed creativity in teaching activities. Ms. Wilson encouraged people to look at PEF’s website ( and volunteer to help with organization’s work.

The future of the Valley Road Building, a regular feature on many Princeton governing board and committee agendas these days, came up at this meeting in board member Mia Cahill’s Facilities Committee report. Ms. Cahill said that Borough and Township representatives had recently met with PRS representatives to discuss the KSS Architects report on potential future scenarios for the building, made at the district’s request. It was agreed, she said, that the building needs attention, and while the newer part of the building would likely be brought up to building code standards, the older part, facing Witherspoon Street, was felt to be too far gone to be salvaged.

Ms. Wilson will be responding to Minority Committee questions regarding the achievement gap among minorities at that committee’s next meeting on October 10.

The next school board meeting will be October 28.

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