The Jersey InsiderOpen For BusinessFebruary 9, 2007
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business

February 9, 2007


Nicholas J. Veliky

It's a start, and you have to give them credit for that. After a start that was plagued with open public meeting requirements and the typical logistics of bringing a group this size together, the Clifton Board of Education and City Council finally sat down at a joint meeting for open discussion on the some of the challenges currently facing the Clifton School System. Councilman Cupoli stated it best, that although he hoped to get things done in one session, this was going to take additional meetings before any resolution could be reached. Commissioner Keith LaForgia stated what many have known for a long time; the fact that any plan presented to the voters needs to be endorsed by a united front from the city leaders. While this is a basic principle, it's obvious absence seems to have had devastating effects on the previously suggested solutions.

Councilman Matt Ward brought out an interesting bit of information. While its true people in Clifton are voting with their feet by leaving the city over their displeasure with the way things are being handled, it seems people are leaving the State of New Jersey in record numbers as well. It would appear that the reason for the current exodus is multifaceted and can't be blamed on any one issue.

If you get the impression that Clifton's School Czar doesn't listen to a thing anyone is saying, here's proof: while the subject of illegal students in Clifton High School (reportedly 300 to 500 illegal students attend the High School) was being discussed at the joint session of the Board of Education and City Council, our superintendent of schools stood up from his seat on the dais and began to straighten pictures on the Board of Education Chamber wall, giving little or no respect to the speaker or the topic that was currently on the floor. Isn't education a process that includes teaching by example? Well if that be the case, our top educator isn't setting the right example.

It's School Report Card time! Looking at the grades the Clifton School System received, one might get the idea that perhaps it may be time to focus on the quality of education as opposed to bricks and mortar issues. A new building isn't going to fix the current state of affairs. Believe what you want, Clifton's Board of Education needs to raise the bar on educational standards being taught in our classrooms.

Here's a thought on flushing out illegal students attending Clifton's Schools. Do a complete re-registration using a point criterion similar to the system used by the Division of Motor Vehicles when applying for a digital photo license. The cost savings to the school system would certainly outweigh the dollars spent on the project. Implemented properly, over the years, the savings would be exponential.

Why does John Paul II School keep ending up on the Board of Education's list of potential school sites? The Diocese of Paterson on numerous occasions and after many inquiries holds firm that the school is not for sale. One might begin to think that someone may have a plan to use eminent domain to take the property from the Paterson Diocese, displacing all the children who currently attend the school. Once and for all, John Paul II School is not available.

What happened to the $600,000 in green acre funds earmarked for Latteri Park you ask? According to what was reported at the joint Board /Council meeting, the money is still available and will be used should the BOE decide to lease or sell the park to the city.

Michael Paitchell represents his constituents well and takes his position as a Board of Education Commissioner seriously. Rather than saying he has "Flipped" on his support of building on Latteri Park, you could say he has seen all the facts and chooses to change his position and suggest a less costly and less intrusive solution to the community. Yes, the High School is big, but that's what Clifton voters wanted when they approved the original plan many years ago. They also liked the idea of a big school when the voters approved the plan for the fourth wing. Why wasn't the size of the school discussed back at those planning sessions? At least Paitchell and a few of his colleagues are starting to see beyond the "Build We Must" mentality.

Councilman Kolodziej was well taken; she emphasized the need for increased communication with the community. The community does need to get all the facts, not just those few distilled sound bites that bode well for a particular agenda.

Kiddy porn found on a Clifton elementary school janitor's computer! Don't these guys get screened? Enough said, we'll let the prosecutor handle this one.

Classes in hallways - storage closets - cafeterias - and in the media center - Just wondering what the code is for these obscure class locations and where are they listed in the classroom utilization reports being widely circulated?

Still no filing from Kids first Clifton - Oh well!

The decorum and integrity of one of our public officials has recently been brought to the forefront in the court of public opinion. While some say that what an elected official does in their private life has nothing to do with their office, keep this in mind, when serving as an elected official, you represent the people 24 hours a day. When determining what is proper conduct there is one simple word that may help, integrity. For those who do not understand the meaning of the word, following is a simple explanation; integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. Keep that in mind.

Word has it that with the deep freeze we have been experiencing, there was a problem with the heating system in the Woodrow Wilson Middle School 6th grade wing. Parents contacted the Clifton Insider with comments stating that even with the cold temperatures, it was class time as usual for the students.

The Gulf service station across from the Hamilton House on Valley Road and about a block from Quinn Road is doing a brisk business with their low gas prices. The station is also creating a traffic condition that is beginning to really irritate some of the stations neighbors. By the way, this is the only gas station in Clifton to boast a convenience store.

You read here first that it was in the plans and now we'll be the first to tell you that plans have changed and it isn't going to happen. The International House of Pancakes has scrubbed their plans to locate a restaurant at the intersection of Main and Clifton Avenues. Apparently the location is too close to the long established location on Route 3 West located in the Howard Johnson's Motel.

We hear opinions and comments from across the spectrum; some agree, others disagree, however, there is one common thread that can't be ignored, everyone involved is passionate about making things better in the City of Clifton and they are all in it for the same right reason.
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