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Lawmakers Talk State Mandates with Madison BOE

State Sen. Richard Codey, Assembly members, incoming CEO of NJ School Boards attended this week's Board of Ed meeting.

Insurance rate increases that outpace the 2 percent cap on school budgets, funding the educational needs of students with disabilities, and hundreds of state mandates—with new ones added each year—are among the challenges Madison school board members told state legislators they face in a special meeting with Madison's representatives on Tuesday night.

State Sen. Richard Codey and General Assembly members John McKeon and Mila Jasey, the legislators who represent Madison and other District 27 towns, attended Tuesday's Board of Education meeting to discuss a wide range of issues in public education.

Also in attendance was Dr. Lawrence Feinsod, the incoming CEO of the New Jersey School Boards Association, which handles key lobbying efforts on behalf of the state's school boards.

Feinsod, who was the superintendent in Madison for 16 years, said he plans to form a task force to work with legislators on finding a way to help districts afford the cost of educating students with special needs, and planned to call the association's lobbyists the next day to raise concerns brought up by Madison Superintendent Dr. Michael Rossi about the logistics of having every student take standardized tests on computers if there are not enough computers.

Feinsod said there is "no question that local control has eroded over the years," but education decisions are best made by people closest to the children.

McKeon said legislators need to be vigilant and protect local control, and not deconstruct one of the best public education systems in the nation.

Jasey called for discussion about public education issues to be "toned down."

The state needs to have a "calmer, more cooperative" approach and find ways to ensure New Jersey attracts the best teachers and provides them with the necessary training and support.

Steve Wells October 03, 2012 at 07:10 PM
It was great to see Larry Feinsod back in Madison and refreshing to encounter three legislators who understand and value the needs of educators. And the first of those needs is respect, which they disgracefully haven't gotten much of in NJ over the last 3 years.
mjsparentclass2018 October 03, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I heard that Feinsod was a good Superintendent and hopefully he can make changes for our town. I was mortified to see at BTSN how few computers are at MJS, how old they are by still running XP on most computers, and how little instruction they received at the elementary schools on how to utilize basic programs(word processing and media related programs). It seems as if the district has spent a lot of money over the past year and a half on technology related items such as portfolios, the online portal for parents, websites/curriculum , trying to go wireless, and email I think. My question is why hasn't the money gone into providing computer labs or more laptop carts at all levels? I hope some progress can be made to improve student access to computers at the state level, but that seems like a long shot based on the way our state funds our schools.
clyde donovan October 04, 2012 at 01:33 AM
A lot of dope arrests at Drew University. Maybe Madison needs to get some undercover officers on that campus. http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20121002/NJNEWS/310020036/Police-Blotter-6-pot-arrests-over-weekend-Drew-Madison-pot-middle-school-Rockaway?odyssey=nav%7Chead
Hester B Wharton October 04, 2012 at 01:54 PM
It is very good that Madison has three of the most thoughtful, respected and respecting legislature members representing it and all of it's population. Our children need not only smart leaders on the local board but also at the statehouse and on the New Jersey School Boards Association. The best way to improve curriculum, exposure to advanced learning methods and tools available to enhance and /or replace outdated schoolroom practices is the right teachers and leaders in the education milieu.
Steve Wells October 04, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Obviously there is a huge market at Drew that people are tapping into. Of course you wouldn't know it by the way Drew has always swept the problem under the proverbial rug and pretended to the public (and its students) that it doesn't exist. Shameful.
Time4Dick2Go October 04, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Codey has spent his entire career in Trenton raising Income Taxes on middle class taxpayers across NJ and shipping the money, as state aid, to a handful of urban cities that were designated as Abbott districts decades ago by the NJ Supreme Court. There is no accountability - How the is money spent or its effectiveness. But every year the amount of aid increases for the Abbotts while it decreases or remains stagnant for everyone else. Tax relief for towns like Madison or Millburn or West Orange is always one more tax increase away. The guy is like a broken record, yet overburdened suburban taxpayers keep re-electing him. He must have a good laugh after every election.
Lisa Ellis October 04, 2012 at 07:19 PM
If your time allows, contact Dr. Rossi directly to volunteer for the Technology Task Force! The district is working as quickly as our funding allows to upgrade technology. We have a terrific tech staff and are doing a much better job. Many of us remember the days when the PTO’s were asked to raise funds to originally install computers in the classrooms. We are in the process of upgrading our wireless service so we can bring more advanced devices into the schools. We are also in the process of replacing the classroom computers in MJS and MHS and these new computers will run Windows 7 and Office 2010. Our elementary students receive 40 minutes of computer instruction every week. They are being taught word processing in 1st grade and by 5th grade are able to type reports with a heavily formatted works sited page. They work with web various web based programs and are taught how to use Excel and PowerPoint.

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