Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Two Delran Students Bid For School Board


Posted: March 30, 1986

Unlike most students at Delran High School, Sean Conaway and Leo Mahon are not relaxing much over their Easter break. Instead, they are planning their campaigns for school board.

Conaway and Mahon, both 18 and seniors at the high school, decided last month to run for two seats on the nine-member board in the April 15 election.

Conaway is running against four others, including incumbent Morris Burton, for one of three three-year terms. He was president of the student council until a few weeks ago, when he resigned to spend more time on his campaign.

Mahon is running against two others, including incumbent Walter G. Bowyer, for a single one-year unexpired term on the board. He is currently student council treasurer.

"The school board members don't seem to like it," Conaway said of his and Mahon's candidacies. "I guess because we know what goes on in this school."

"We have a different view of the school than the board members," Mahon said. "I haven't really seen any of the board members walking through the hallways."

The two students decided to run almost out of frustration; ideas that they brought to the student council twice were squelched by school officials, and they didn't understand why.

One idea was to reduce the cost of the senior prom for their classmates by selling soda after school. The money raised, they said, was to have been put into the senior-class funds and used to pay for the prom. Instead, they said, the council's advisers decided to spend the money on Spirit Week decorations.

"It was used to buy toilet paper to stuff chicken wire," Conaway joked.

The other idea involved installing a soda machine in the school for student use. They said that after the school board turned it down, a soda machine was installed in the yearbook office.

It was after such incidents that the pair decided to become part of the decision-making process.

Both said that since announcing their candidacies Feb. 20, they had been frustrated with the process of running for office. Conaway said getting the New Jersey School Board Association to validate the signatures on his nominating petitions had been especially frustrating. He said that he had received little notice about a recent hearing by the association concerning the signatures. After missing the meeting, he said, he was given 15 days to meet with the association for approval of the signatures.

"I'm still wondering if it's going to be worth it," he said yesterday, standing in a sweat suit in the high school weight room. A design that had been shaved into his short, brown hair is just growing in. "It's only been one month, and I'm really being hassled. But I don't want to say that."

School principal David Lamborne said he supported the students' right to campaign, which he said was "a great lesson in American democracy, actually, in American politics. They feel they have something to contribute, so I give them credit and encouragement."

Lamborne said that, to some people, the students' candidacies might be controversial because for the next three months they were still "clients" of the school system. He said others argued that 18-year-olds could not have the experience or the insight to serve on a township board.

"I don't think age in itself is the sole determinant of being able to make good decisions," Lamborne said. "Let them submit their credentials and their goals and their ideas, and let the public decide. I hate to see people sell them short, to criticize them, because they're trying."

Mahon has spent the last month familiarizing himself with the school budget. He said that his father, Gene, was excited for him and that friends were helping to spread his name around the township.

"I'm just trying to get into people's minds," said Mahon, who likes to lift weights and read the classics.

Mahon's goals are to improve the learning atmosphere for the district's students and to increase communication among the school district leaders, the community and the students.

"There's a big wall right now," Mahon said.

Conaway said he would like to find ways for the community to better benefit from school district facilities. He said, for example, that the high school's audio-visual equipment could be used to broadcast school board meetings over cable television and that, for a small fee, the school could open the gym to residents in summer.

Conaway, who works part time at Sears, Roebuck & Co. and is a member of the school track team, plans to attend Widener University in Chester in the fall, where he will major in business management and law. If he wins a three-year term, he said, he will commute and attend all school board meetings.

Mahon has applied to and is waiting for responses from Monmouth College and Glassboro and Montclair State Colleges. He said he would like to major in history and communications.

"I don't see any problem getting to school board meetings," he said. ''Unless my car breaks down."

A Crowded Field Of Candidates Includes Teachers And Students

Posted: April 06, 1986

It is the most crowded ballot voters have seen in years, and the list of candidates for three full terms and a one-year term on the Delran Township school board spans the educational community and goes beyond.

Among the candidates: the principal of a neighboring township's middle school; three teachers of various grades and subjects; two high school students seeking parts in the district's decision-making; a two-term school board member, and a self-employed personnel-insurance consultant.

No controversies have drawn the candidates together. The current board last month approved a $10.06 million budget for 1986-87 that, although 9 percent larger than last year's, would raise school taxes by less than 1 percent.

The budget, which will receive a vote at the same time the board seats are decided, would increase the tax rate by three cents, to $1.75 per $100 of assessed value from $1.72. A resident with a home assessed at $50,000 would pay $875 next year, up $15 from this year's $860.

Despite the district's controlled fiscal outlook, the campaign trail has been anything but smooth.

Things got interesting the day nominating petitions were filed and Delran High School students Sean Conaway and Leo Mahon, both 18, announced their candidacies.

Conaway left his post as student council president to manage his campaign for a three-year term on the school board, his duties as a member of the high school track team and his part-time job at Sears, Roebuck & Co. Mahon, who does not work, is student council treasurer and one of three people seeking to fill a one-year, unexpired term on the board.

Conaway said he would like to develop better ways for the community to benefit from the district's facilities. He said that the high school's audio- visual equipment could be used to broadcast school board meetings over cable television and that, for a small fee, the school could open the gym to residents in summer.

Mahon said he would like to improve the learning atmosphere for the students and to increase communication among the district's leaders, the community and the students.

In the contest for the three three-year seats, the lone incumbent is Morris Burton, 46, an employee of the Social Security Administration in Philadelphia who is seeking his third term. Burton called the race "semi-tough" but said there were no "glaring or outstanding issues in the forefront."

Burton said he would like to continue the progress the school district had made, such as the rise in the scores of student basic-skills aptitude tests, as well as keep the district sound fiscally.

In addition to Conaway, Burton is being challenged by Kathleen "Bunny" Brown Hewko, 35, a remedial-reading teacher at Willingboro High School; Michael R. Mastill, 43, a personnel-insurance consultant, and Michael Pilenza, 36, a teacher and the director of athletics at Moorestown High School.

Brown Hewko said that she would like to become involved in the township and that, through her years as a teacher, she had developed a sense of administrative responsibility, including the hiring of teachers and working with the new, state-mandated high school proficiency test.

She said she would like to see more open communication in township education, financial responsibility and "building pride and spirit in what we have here in Delran."

Mastill, who filled a one-year, unexpired term on the board from 1983 to 1984, said he would like to increase the quality of education and develop and administer management fiscal programs. He said he would serve as an impartial board member and make decisions "in the best interests of the students and residents."

Pilenza said he would like to become active in the community. As a teacher, he said, he could "put some expertise" on the school board. His candidacy has been endorsed by the Delran Teachers' Association.

"It works to the township's advantage to have people on the board who are teachers. Teachers are a resource to which the other board members could rely on," he said. "Not to have that . . . I can't understand the logic."

In addition to Mahon, the one-year seat is being sought by incumbent Walter Bowyer, 42, principal of the Ridgeway Middle School in Edgewater Park, and Mark J. Kaye, 36, a special-education teacher in Bristol Township, Pa.

Bowyer said he would seek to improve communication and remove whatever animosity developed during last year's teacher-salary negotiations. He said he decided to run again when he realized that no other board members, except for Burton, were seeking another term.

"I'm concerned with the turnover," he said. "I'd like to keep some continuity and experience on the board."

Kaye said that, as a resident, he felt "some responsibility to volunteer my service to the township." With his 14 years of experience in education, he said, he could best serve the school board.

Kaye said that he believed that "an educational system is the most important aspect of any community" and that he would try to see the Delran system continue to operate "as well as it has."

A Look At The Candidates And The Budgets

Posted: April 06, 1986

Following are summaries of the school board candidates and budgets on the ballot on Tuesday, April 15 in the Burlington County municipalities covered by Neighbors.


No election.


No election.


Three candidates are seeking three three-year terms. They are:

Edward Amato, 45, of 5 Rose Lane, a two-term board member and a steamfitter for Local 420 of Philadelphia.

Harry McConnell, 40, of 1400 Tanner Ave., president of the board and a member for two terms, a journeyman construction electrician for IBEW Local 269.

Stanley A. Silver, 49, of 12 Cynwyd Drive, a one-term board member and a quality-control foreman for U.S. Pipe in Burlington.

There is one candidate for an unexpired one-year term on the board. He is:

Joseph Sabatino, 39, of 402 Cedar Drive, vice president of the American Multi-Cinema theater chain in Mount Laurel, who was appointed to the board in September.

Voters will cast ballots on the 1986-87 budget of $4,876,764, which is is up slightly from the $4,776,100 current budget. School officials would not estimate the amount of increase in the school tax. The current tax is $1.42 per $100 of assessed property value.


Four candidates are seeking three three-year terms. They are:

Marcella "Jeanne" NewKirk, 46, of 701 Barberry Drive, a part-time aide in the Mount Laurel school system who is completing her first term on the board.

Dennis V. Strauss, 39, of 221 Locust Lane, a chiropractor who ran unsuccessfully for the board last year.

Mary Burt, 52, of 802 Randolph Ave., an interviewer for the New Jersey State Employment Service who is completing her first term on the board.

John R. Hill, 47, of 102 Purnell Ave., a former science teacher at Cinnaminson Middle School and co-owner of a small chain of women's shoe stores in Philadelphia.

There is a candidate for an unexpired two-year term. She is:

Susan Markowitz, 35, of 2214 Branch Pike, a teacher in the Philadelphia School District who is making her first run for the board.

Voters in Cinnaminson are being asked to approve a 17-cent tax increase to help finance a total budget of $12.2 million. The tax increase would bring the rate to $1.98 per $100 of assessed property value.


Four candidates, including three incumbents, are running for three three- year terms. They are:

Cecelia Van Emburgh, 34, of 632 Pennsylvania Ave., a homemaker and the newcomer in the race.

Margaret Libby, 37, of 223 Fenimore Lane, an aide in the Westampton School library who is finishing her first term.

June Karp, 37, of 419 Richard Ave., a state employee who has served on the board for six years.

Robert A. Wurzburg, 36, of 303 Hazel Ave., a salesman for Bell Atlantic who has served four one-year terms in the last decade.

Voters also will be asked to approve a $2,269,143 budget that includes an 8.2 percent school tax increase, from $1.84 to $1.99 per $100 of assessed property value.


Five candidates, including an incumbent, are running for three three-year terms. They are:

Kathleen "Bunny" Brown Hewko, 35, of Tenby Chase, a remedial-reading teacher at Willingboro High School.

Morris R. Burton, 46, of Hunter's Glen Apartments, an incumbent board member and an employee with the Social Security Administration in Philadelphia.

Michael R. Mastill, 43, of 21 Ridgewood Ave., a personnel insurance consultant.

Sean Conaway, 18, of 21 Stecher Ave., a Delran High School student.

Michael Pilenza, 36, of 141 Coopers Kill Rd., a teacher at Moorestown High School.

Three candidates, including an incumbent, are running for a one-year unexpired term. They are:

Leo Mahon, 18, of 6 Navy Drive, a student at Delran High School.

Walter G. Bowyer, 42, of 109 Red Stone Ridge, an incumbent board member and principal of Ridgeway Middle School in Edgewater Park.

Mark J. Kaye, 36, of 106 Shelly Lane, a teacher at Bristol Township High School in Bristol Township, Pa.

Voters will decide on a $10.06 million school budget, almost 9 percent more than last year's, which would raise local school taxes by 3 cents, to $1.75 per $100 of assessed property value.


Three candidates are running for two three-year terms. They are:

George M. Dick, 43, of 7 Cambridge Court, a computer-systems-training representative.

Irene Anderson, 39, of 19 Meadow Lane, an incumbent and a teacher at the Githens Center for the Physically Handicapped in Mount Holly.

Rosalynn Ericson, 39, of 8 Berwick Court, an incumbent and a Moorestown High School biology teacher.

One candidate is running for a one-year unexpired term. She is:

Cheryl E. Wolozyn, 38, of 16 Nottingham Way.

Voters also will consider $801,140 to be raised by taxes for a current- expenses budget and debt service, about $40,000 more than this year's budget. Because of a reassessment, the rate actually would drop to 92.7 cents per $100 of assessed property value from last year's $1.759, even though many homeowners might pay more in taxes.


Three candidates are running for three three-year terms. They are:

Joseph A. Fiore, 36, of Cooper Valley Village, a psychologist for the Camden City Board of Education who also has a Philadelphia practice and who is completing his first term.

James M. Clark of 1006 VanRossum Ave., an incumbent board member who could not be reached for comment.

Helen H. Palmer, 37 of 405 South Arthur Drive, a volunteer trainer in the Magowan Elementary School's computer introductory program and a first-time candidate.

Edgewater Park voters will be asked to approve a $2,385,678 budget that would increase taxes 13.2 cents per $100 of assessed property value over last year's rate of $1.228.


Three candidates are running for the three three-year terms. They are:

Robert W. Myers, 43, of 15 Lumberton Rd., vice president of Hill International, a Willingboro construction consulting firm, and an incumbent board member.

Carole Clark, 43, of 2406 Fostertown Rd., a homemaker and the incumbent school board president.

John Bradley, 33, of Fostertown Road, a construction engineer making his first run for the board.

Hainesport Township residents would be subject to a tax increase of 5 cents per $100 of assessed property value under the proposed $1.5 million budget. The budget would raise the tax rate to $1.18 per $100 of assessed valuation.


Two candidates are running for a three-year term to represent Tabernacle Township in the district. They are:

Bruce W. Haines, 42, a blueberry farmer, truck driver and incumbent board member.

Mary Ross, 43, a secretary for the Westville Township school board in Gloucester County.

Running unopposed for the three-year seat on the board to represent Evesham Township is:

Joseph A. Murray Jr., 53, a retired data center manager.

The Lenape Regional School District will submit a $28.4 million budget to voters, an increase of 11.8 percent over last year's spending plan. The budget, which was adopted by the board March 18, calls for nearly $15 million to be raised from property taxes, an increase of 9 percent.

Property tax rates are estimated according to enrollment and vary depending on the sending district. Homeowners in Shamong and Evesham Townships and Medford Lakes would have slight decreases in their property taxes, while those in Medford, Southampton, Tabernacle and Mount Laurel Townships would have slight increases.

The new township tax rates are: Shamong, down 5.2 cents to 49.1 cents per $100 of assessed property value; Evesham, down 4.1 cents to 62.9 cents; Medford Lakes, down 0.4 cents to 63.8 cents; Medford Township, up 6 cents to 95.7 cents; Southampton, up 3.7 cents to 44.9 cents; Tabernacle, up 3.1 cents to 52.5 cents, and Mount Laurel, up 1.7 cents to 73.6 cents.


Five candidates are running for three three-year terms. They are:

Edward J. Merkel, 68, of 86 Lexington Ave., an incumbent board member and a retired personal-property-management consultant.

Samuel J. Podietz, 45, of 31 Rockland Terrace, an incumbent board member and a manager for Mr. Goodbuys in Philadelphia.

Barbara L. Williams, 42, of 85 Beechnut Court, a speech pathologist making her first run for the board.

Robert M. White, 37, of 6 Williams Court, an accountant making his first run for the board.

Louis P. Abbott, 39, of Eayrestown Road, an antiques shop owner making his first run for the board.

The current-expenses budget to be raised by local taxes is $942,214.

Because of increased state aid and appropriation from a previous surplus, the tax rate will decrease 9 cents, to $1.08 per $100 of assessed property value.


There are four candidates for three three-year terms. They are:

Claude Doak, 39, of 28 Tallowood Drive, the executive director of the Western Burlington County Regional Council of Special Education who is making his first run for the board.

David B. Bell, 47, of 349 Tavistock Drive, a school administrator in Riverton and an incumbent board member.

Kenneth S. Domzalski, 36, of 12 Normandy Drive, a lawyer practicing in Burlington City making a first run for the board.

Carol Dann, 41, of 19 Wakefield Drive, the president of an adult-education consulting firm who is also a first-time candidate.

The proposed current-expense budget for 1986-87 is $11,023,036, an increase of $1.01 million. Voters are being asked to decide on a tax hike of 6 cents, which would make the tax rate $1.50 per $100 of assessed property value.


There is one candidate for a three-year term:

Robert Johnson, 35, of 176 Algonquin Trail, a curriculum supervisor for the Bordentown Regional School District making his first bid for the school board.

Voters will decide on a current-expense budget of $2,150,996, an increase of $119,429, which would require a tax increase of 12 cents to 86 cents for each $100 of assessed property value.


Elizabeth K. Fine, 43, of 126 Front St., an incumbent and a paralegal for a Mount Holly lawyer.

William A. Monk, 23, of 3 Winding Way, a college student and the challenger in the race.

Robert C. Silcox, 40, of 240 High St., the owner of a commercial real estate development firm, Terra Associates, and incumbent board president.

Voters will decide on a proposed school board budget of $1,713,690, up $85,000 from the current budget, that calls for a 3.4 cent increase in the tax of $1.481 per $100 of assessed property value.


There are three candidates, all incumbents, running for three three-year terms. They are:

Susan Malloy of 11 Buntingbridge Road, Cookstown, who could not be reached for comment.

Laurance Lownds, 54, of 22 Main St., Wrightstown, a contract administrator for the Army who has served three terms on the board.

Karen Roscoe, 35, of Wrightstown, a senior adjuster for New Jersey National Bank who has served one term on the board.

Voters also will be asked to approve a $516,126 budget that Superintendent James Nash said is not expected to affect school tax rates in either New Hanover or Wrightstown.


Three candidates from two of the district's four sending municipalities are running unopposed.

In North Hanover Township, two incumbents are seeking two three-year terms. They are:

Joseph B. Ceremsak, 51, of Orr Road, Allentown, a teacher at Rancocas Valley Regional High School who is seeking a second term.

J. Matthew Cronin, 41, of Wrightstown, a teacher at Peter Muschal Elementary School in Bordentown who is seeking a second term.

In Springfield Township, one candidate is seeking an unexpired two-year term:

Jean Bayley, 40, of Island Road, Jobstown, co-owner of a sporting goods store who is seeking a second term.

The school board has nine members - three from Springfield Township, two from North Hanover Township, two from Mansfield Township and two from Chesterfield Township.

Voters also will be asked to approve a $7,663,917 budget that is not expected to affect school tax rates, which vary in each of the district's sending towns according to enrollment.


Five candidates are running for for three three-year terms. They are:

Howard Crowley, 38, of 830 Morgan Ave., general manager of a body-shop supply warehouse who is making his first run for the board.

Joseph DiTaranto, 72, of 607 Lincoln Ave., an incumbent and retired auto- body shop owner.

Patricia Marotta, 41, of 621 Washington Ave., a receptionist seeking a third term.

Elsie Kidd, 47, of 518 Race St., a secretary seeking her second term.

Sherry Piergross, of Filbert and Charles Streets, a challenger who refused to release biographical information.

Voters will be asked to approve a $5,476,378 budget that would add seven cents to the current tax rate of $1.269 per $100 of assessed value.


Three candidates are running for two three-year terms. They are:

Mary Ann Davis, 39, of 18 Reynolds St., an incumbent and a marketing representative for Haddonfield Title.

Rowan S. Mosher, 30, of 22 Mary St., a civil-service furniture repairman and the challenger.

William J. Lamb, 39, of 50 Hanover St., an incumbent and the operator of a local dental lab.

There is one candidate for an unexpired two-year term. She is:

Elizabeth Broderick, 35, of 27 Mary St., a registered nurse.

There are two candidates for a one-year term. They are:

Sandra J. Bauer, 47, of 58 Hanover St., a homemaker and the incumbent.

James P. Chapman, 39, the plant operations manager for Sherwatt Wire Cloth Co. who is making his first run for the board.

Voters also will be asked to approve $333,838 to be raised through local taxation with a rate increase of 3.3 cents on the current $1.475 per $100 of assessed property value.


Six candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three three-year terms. They are:

Catharine "Kelly" Groothoff, 52, of 9 Carpenter Lane, Browns Mills, a paralegal in the Burlington County Public Defender's Office.

Earl R. Humphries, 52, of 764 Lakehurst Rd., Browns Mills, an incumbent and a heating, plumbing and air-conditioning contractor.

Jerry R. Jerome, 37, of 28 Johnson Court, a caterer.

Randolph Mac Thacher, 38, of 104 New Lisbon Rd., New Lisbon, an industrial consultant.

Helen A. Fort, 65, of 529 Browns Mills Rd., a retired teacher.

Shirley Owens, 32, of 335 Hanover Blvd., Browns Mills, an incumbent board member and a retired civil service employee.

Voters will be asked to approve a $28.1 million budget that would increase the property tax rate by 5 cents over the current rate of $1.53 per $100 of assessed value.


Three incumbent candidates are running from three sending districts for three three-year terms. They are:

Jane A. Davenport, 50, of 24 Stonegate Drive, a radiological technologist seeking her first full term after filling an unexpired term since last July; she seeks to represent Eastampton.

William I. Lynch, 50, a vice president of Midlantic National Bank, Cherry Hill who is seeking his sixth full term as Hainesport's representative.

Laird Poinsett, 38, of 15 Moore St., Lumberton, a supervisor of internal audit for the Holman Organization, Pennsauken who is seeking his first full term, although he has been a member of the board since August 1983, when he was appointed to complete an unexpired term.

The amount to be raised by taxes for Rancocas Valley Regional High School is the same as last year - $3,849,013. The effect on the tax rate varies in each of the five sending school districts.

Because the state apportions each community's share of the budget according to pupils sent and equalized valuation, the tax rates differ but are presumed equal. Revaluation changed the tax base in Eastampton and Lumberton, and so their rates change drastically. Eastampton's new school tax rate for support of the high school is 59 cents per $100 of assessed value; it was $1.15 last year. Lumberton's rate is now 62 cents; it was 92 cents last year.

For the other municipalities, Hainesport's rises from 65 cents to 68 cents, Mount Holly's remains at $1.11 and Westampton's decreases from 64 cents to 56 cents.


Seven candidates - three incumbents and four challengers - are running for three three-year terms. They are:

Bernadette Cislo, 34, of 11 Henry St., a homemaker.

Nancy Buonomo A. Jones, 35, of 506 Greenwood Ave., the manager of a doctor's office in Mount Laurel.

James A. Renshaw Sr., 52, of 124 Spring Garden St., a maintenance man for Quality Foods and an incumbent board member.

Frank W. Reale Jr., 54, of 222 Kossuth St., a self-employed plumbing contractor and an incumbent.

Craig G. Robinson, 38, of 646 Taylor St., an industrial engineer.

Charlotte M. Tice, 26, of 333 Filmore St., a homemaker.

Mary Stanton of 135 Cleveland Ave., an incumbent who could not be reached for comment.

Riverside residents are being asked to pass a $4.85 million budget for 1986-87, an increase of $421,068. The new budget represents a 9-cent tax increase, putting the tax rate at $1.90 per $100 of assessed value.


Leonard R. Christopher Jr., 38, of 700 Thomas Ave., a district manager for Automatic Data Processing and an incumbent board member.

Russell J. Cook, 51, of 718 Main St., a program manager for RCA, who is seeking his first term.

Dora Myers, 38, of 220 Linden Ave., the current board president.

Two candidates are running for one unexpired one-year term. They are:

Florence M. Bentzel, 35, of 602 Elm Terrace, a pharmacist who was appointed to the board in May.

Paul Papenberg, 35, of 205 Main St., a teacher in the Mount Laurel School District seeking his first term.

Voters will be asked to approve a total budget of $1,640,976, of which $980,763 is to be raised by taxes. The capital-expenses portion of the budget totals $15,000, of which $9,860 is to be raised by taxes.

The budget will require a 6.5-cent tax increase over the current rate of $2.11 per $100 of assessed property value.


Two candidates are running for two three-year vacancies. They are:

A. Lois Graham, 58, of 385 Stokes Rd., the incumbent board president and a real estate agent.

James L. Skaggs Jr., 39, of 8 Burr Trail, the general manager of a local medical wholesale supply firm making his first run for the board.

Voters will decide on a current-expense budget of $4,248,085.50, an increase of $255,014.75 or about 6 percent. The spending package includes a 6 cent tax increase, to $1.45 per $100 of assessed property value.


Four candidates, three of them incumbents, are seeking three three-year terms. They are:

Harry C. Irion 3d, 47, of Lenni-Lenape Trail, an engineering manager at RCA and the current board president.

Gertrude C. Bodnar, 41, of Adams Lane, a homemaker, who is completing her sixth year on the board.

Samuel P. Alloway 3d, 33, of 8 Willoughby Lane, a real estate agent and sod farmer, who has served on the school board and who is a member of the Southampton zoning board.

Helen D. Bauer of 39 Falcon Drive, an incumbent who did not respond to attempts to reach her by telephone or letter.

Voters will consider a current-expense budget of $2.11 million, which will be raised by taxes. The capital-expenses portion of the budget is $26,438. The overall budget totals $2.33 million.

Board secretary Virginia Lafferty said taxes were expected to rise, but she could not estimate by how much. A revaluation of property is being conducted and will determine the new tax rate. The current rate is 72 cents per $100 of assessed property value.


Seven candidates - three incumbents and four newcomers - are vying for three three-year terms. They are:

Harry Hutchinson, 35, of 432 Highland Rd., Jobstown, a groundskeeper at The Lawrenceville School.

Dorothea Beetel, 44, of Gilbert Road in Jacksonville, a registered nurse and an incumbent who is seeking a third term.

Carol Tenner, 38, of Bordentown, a teacher.

Leonard J. Bowers, 57, of Springfield-Meetinghouse Road, Jobstown, a retired purchasing agent for the state Department of Defense.

Lois Dixon, 42, of Mount Pleasant Road, Columbus, a homemaker and an incumbent seeking her second term.

Ronald J. Bennett, 48, of Jacksonville Road, Burlington, a former teacher who is seeking his third term.

Carol Yankosky, 36, of Juliustown Road, Columbus, a teacher.

Springfield Township voters also will be asked to approve a $1,111,052 budget that is not expected to affect the school tax rate of 74.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value.


Three incumbents are running for three three-year terms. They are:

Mary M. Ross of 19 Oakshade Road, secretary for the Westville School District in Gloucester County.

Linda Pfeffer, 37, of 6 Vale Drive, a homemaker.

James R. Leusner, 40, of 21 Sandra Lane, a senior customer representative for Prime Computer in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Running unoppposed for a one-year unexpired term is:

Janice Smith of 166 Flyatt Rd., a first-time candidate.

Voters will be deciding on a $4.8 million school budget, a 9.6 percent increase over the current budget. The proposal calls for a tax hike of 1.4 cents to $1.05 per $100 of assessed property value.


Five candidates are seeking three three-year terms. They are:

William P. Morrow, 69, of Burrs Road, the incumbent board president and a retired engineer.

Richard Haines, 39, of Irick Road, vice president of a security company.

Leonard Caplan, 63, of 5 Bloomfield Drive, an RCA administrator and an incumbent board member.

Richard Manzari, 36, of 9 Berkshire Rd., a marketing manager.

Constance Churchill, 44, of 21 Bloomfield Drive, a Burlington County College administrator.

The current-expenses budget to be raised by local taxes is $1,153,032. Voters also will decide on a $17,203 capital-outlay budget to be raised through taxes. The tax rate would remain at 0.992 cents per $100 of assessed property value.


There are 11 candidates for four seats.

Eight candidates are running for three three-year terms. They are:

Vernon Johnson, 43, of 16 Niagara Lane, principal procedure analyst at Trenton State Prison.

William Shaw, 44, of 33 Edgeley Lane, a self-employed building contractor.

Linda Good, 35, of 48 Normandy Lane, an incumbent and a homemaker.

David Schnaars, 42, of 37 Pond Lane, a computer-marketing manager.

Margaret Davis, 48, of 270 Club House Drive, an incumbent and a homemaker.

Roy B. Paige, 56, of 42 Twig Lane, an incumbent and a self-employed safety- clothing supplier.

Nathaniel B. Jamison, 38, of 2 Tucker Court, a telephone company systems analyst.

Joseph W. Oliver, 55, of 255 Club House Drive, a teacher.

Three candidates are vying for the one unexpired one-year term. They are:

Hill Pressley Jr., 39, of 23 Gloria Lane, a chemist.

Patricia Dawley, 39, of 251 Northampton Drive, an economic development authority official.

Anna M. Nemeth, 41, of 536 Charleston Rd., an Eastampton Township construction clerk and zoning officer.

Of the $36.9 million current-expenses budget, the portion that voters will be asked to support through taxes is $11,940,382. If passed, it would mean a 2 cent tax increase to $1.62 per $100 of assessed property value.


An incumbent board member is unopposed for election to a three-year term. He is:

John Stevenson, 54, of Chatsworth, a hydraulic mechanic at McGuire Air Force Base.

Voters will be asked to approve a current-expenses budget of $1,017,552, of which $494,772 would be raised by taxes. The capital-expenditures budget proposed is $19,900, of which $13,858 would be raised by taxes.

Officials say they do not expect a tax increase with the proposed budget. And they said the current rate of $1.52 per $100 of assessed property value might go down.

Burlco Voters Decide On School Taxes, Board Members

Posted: April 08, 1987

The following are unofficial results of the school board elections yesterday in Burlington County.


Voters approved, 47-8, a tax levy to support $747,986 in current expenses.

The budget called for the tax rate to decrease from 95 cents to 92 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Board member Woodley Shuff, the lone candidate for the school board this year, ran unopposed for a three-year term and was elected with 51 votes.


Voters rejected, 390-306, a tax levy to support $9,078,333 in current expenses and rejected, 389-306, to support a levy to support $69,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the tax rate to increase in Bordentown City from $2.22 to $2.55 per $100 of assessed valuation and to increase in Bordentown Township from $1.65 to $1.72.

City residents re-elected board President John Wehrman to another three- year term with 204 votes in an unopposed race. Township voters elected incumbent Phyllis Wall, 211 votes, and newcomer William Cashman, 202. Also running was incumbent Lyne Knapp, 180 votes.


Voters rejected, 242-203, a tax levy to support $5,359,806 in current expenses and rejected, 232-193, a levy to support $31,222 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.43 to $1.48 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Five candidates were running for three three-year terms on the board. Elected were newcomers Walter Holloway Jr., 273 votes; David J. Edwards, 243, and James J. Harris, 231. Defeated were incumbents Joan A. Gilbert, 218 votes, and Joseph Sabatino, 229.


Voters approved, 176-44, a tax levy to support $1,079,813 in current expenses and approved, 181-36, a levy to support $3,000 in capital outlay.

Also approved, 175-43, was a transfer of $50,000 from current expenses to capital outlay to buy modular trailers to be used as office space.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from 88.4 cents to 88.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Three candidates were running for two three-year terms. Elected were incumbent John Nichols, 169 votes, and newcomer Frank Perro Jr., 139. Also running was Richard Wagner, 84 votes.


Voters approved, 759-623, a tax levy to support $7,890,469 in current expenses.

The budget called for the tax rate to increase from $1.94 to $2.07 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Voters also approved, 796-554, a $700,000 bond issue for asbestos removal, improvements in facilities for the handicapped and additional maintenance to all four schools.

Four candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were incumbents Richard Taylor, 960 votes; Richared Keevey, 876, and William Fenton, 831. Also running was Don Rinear, 565 votes.

No petitions were filed for an unexpired one-year term, but write-in candidate Sally Cariedo received 405 votes, leading write-in candidate Joan Atwood, who had 226.


Voters approved 96-48 a tax levy to support $2,503,288 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $2.00 to $2.11 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Three candidates were running unopposed for three three-year terms. Elected were newcomer James Layman, 126 votes, and incumbents Ronald Brooks, 122, and Robert Wurzburg, 119.


Voters approved, 215-136, a tax levy to support $10,183,899 in current expenses and approved, 221-128, a levy to support $44,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.75 to $1.79 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Four candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were former board member Dorothy Oppmann, 266 votes, and incumbents Mark Kaye, 250, and Madeline Horchak, 215. Also running was incumbent Ginger Mankowski, 204 votes.


Voters approved, 55-29, a tax levy to support $1,844,567 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from 96 cents to $1.16 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Voters also approved, 55-29, a ballot question to increase the number of members on the Board of Education from five to seven.

No candidates filed petitions for the one three-year term open on the school board. But a write-in candidate, Ralph Rosario, received 15 votes, besting four other write-ins.


Voters approved, 196-176, a tax levy to support $5,982,012 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.37 to $1.49 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Seven candidates were seeking three three-year seats. Elected were incumbent Richard Slagle, 240 votes; newcomer Janet McConnell, 222, and incumbent Charles Robinson, 187. Also running were incumbent Lloyd Weaver, 101 votes; Karen Braciszewski, 100; Andrea James, 171, and James Palmierei, 157.


Voters approved, 1,040 to 278, a tax levy to support $6.6 million in current expenses and approved, 1,017 to 277, a tax levy to support $85,000 in capital outlay.

Voters also approved, 1,024 to 253 a bond issue of $13.39 million for school construction and renovations.

The budget called for the local tax rate to rise one cent, to 96 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Five candidates were vying for three three-year terms on the board. Elected were newcomer Agnes Trione, 880, and incumbents W. Arthur Lewis, 683, and Ronald Pomilio, 620. Also running were newcomer Thomas L. Cramer, 564 votes, and Helen Earp, 494.


Voters approved, 9-2, a tax levy to support $528,271 in current expenses.

The budget called for the tax rate to increase from $1.69 to $2.11 per $100 of assessed valuation.

No candidates filed to run for a three-year term on the five-member board. However, board President Pauline Glenn ran a write-in campaign and received eight votes.


Voters approved, 386-238, a tax levy to support $6,074,027 in current expenses and approved, 372-243, a levy to support $78,528 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the tax rate to decrease by a half-cent from the current rate of $1.20 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Seven candidates were vying for three three-year terms, and an eighth candidate was running unopposed for a two-year term.

Elected were incumbents Christine Puken, 455 votes; John Harkins, 333, and newcomer Joseph B. Meszaros Jr., 320. Also running were newcomers Dolores Kostrub Murphy, 286 votes; John C. Brown Jr., 252; Paul C. Ostrander, 153, and William E. Berry, 136.

Newcomer John Gola was elected to the two-year term with 318 votes.


Voters approved, 57-38 a tax levy to support $1,642,211 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.21 to $1.32 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Three incumbents were running unopposed for three three-year terms. Elected were R. Kevin Murphy, 88 votes; Dianne McKay, 84, and Erika Bittle, 82.

Patricia Milich, 81 votes, was running unopposed for a one-year unexpired term.


Voters approved, 2,422 to 978, a tax levy of $14.7 million for current expenses and approved, 2,338 to 1,037 a levy of $275,584 for capital outlay.

The budget called for the following changes in school tax rates:

In Evesham, a drop from 62.7 cents to 60.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation; in Medford, an increase from 95.1 cents to 98.5 cents; in Medford Lakes, a drop from 63.6 cents to 60.6 cents; in Mount Laurel, because of a revaluation, a drop from 39.4 cents to 32.4 cents; in Shamong, a drop from 48.2 cents to 43.8 cents; in Southampton, a drop from 44.2 cents to 37.9 cents, and in Tabernacle, an increase from 52.4 cents to 53.9 cents.

From Mount Laurel, board President Nancy Jones, 302 votes, was unopposed for a three-year term.

From Evesham, incumbent Earl Siegman, 699 votes, was unopposed for a three- year term.

From Southampton, William Krzan, 242 votes, was unopposed for a three-year term.

And from Medford, incumbent Ronald Gassert, 398 votes, was unopposed for a three-year term.


Voters approved, 113-47, a tax levy to support $2,180,912 in current expenses and approved, 113-45, a levy to support $80,000 for capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from 73 cents to 86 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Four candidates were running for two three-year terms, and two were seeking to fill an unexpired one-year term. Elected to the full terms were newcomers Edward T. Colgan Jr., 124 votes, and Lois Hepler, 115. Also running were incumbents Patricia S. Budd, 96 votes, and Paul H. Delany, 91.

Elected to the unexpired term was incumbent Crystal R. Sada, 94 votes. Also running was newcomer Robyn D. Earl, 56 votes.


Voters approved, 143-122, a tax levy to support $1,219,238 in current expenses and approved, 139-119, a levy to support $5,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the tax rate to increase from 75 cents to 79.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Three incumbents were running unopposed for three three-year terms. Elected were James Humble, 215 votes; John Winzinger Jr., 196, and Robert Sapp, 182.


Voters approved, 543-261, a tax levy of $5.4 million for current expenses and approved, 514-279, a levy of $106,623 for capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.55 to $1.62 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Three candidates were running unopposed for three three-year terms. Elected were Charles Kauffman, 608 votes; Robert Moseley, 567, and James Shoemaker, 542.

Running unopposed for a one-year unexpired term was Palmira "Pam" Fox, who received 575 votes.


Voters approved, 405-130, a tax levy to support $11,047,151 in current expenses and approved, 393-141, a levy to support $125,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.50 to $1.58 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Four candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were incumbent Rita A. Baker, 463 votes; former board member Sanford Schneider, 387, and incumbent Stephen D. Blum, 285. Also running was incumbent Sean J. Morrow, 230 votes.


Voters approved, 231-151, a tax levy to support $1,248,644 in current expenses and approved, 223-155, a levy to support $4,627 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from 86 cents to 97 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Four newcomers were running for two three-year seats. Elected were Margaret Tursi, 235 votes, and Mark MacGrann, 183. Also running were Fred Luttrell, 156 votes, and Edward Marzi, 149.


Voters approved, 498-334, a tax levy of $10.99 million for current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to rise from $1.52 to $1.591 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Five candidates were seeking three three-year terms on the school board. Elected were incumbents Charles W. Klein, 543 votes, and Eugene Coppola, 510, and newcomer Sally Campolucci, 448. Also running were Patricia Forbes White, 441 votes, and Kathryn Campbell, 351.


Voters rejected 243-184, a tax levy to support $6,529,573 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to be $1.09 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Only one candidate was running for a three-year term. Incumbent Charles A. Ruch received 351 votes.


Voters approved, 380-159, a tax levy of $8.2 million for current expenses, and approved, 364-165, a tax levy of $594,918 for capital outlay.

The budget called for local taxes to drop slightly. Because of a property revaluation, the tax rate was to drop from $1.481 to 73 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Five candidates were seeking three three-year terms on the school board. Elected were incumbent Margaret Haynes, 534 votes, and newcomers Walter Keiss, 418, and Ronald F. Frey, 394. Also running were incumbent Louis Schiliro, 158 votes, and newcomer Kathleen Zielinski, 146.


Voters approved, 24-4, a tax levy to support $1,542,175 in current expenses and approved, 24-4, a levy to support $16,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to remain the same in the two communities in the district. In New Hanover, the rate was to stay at $1.47 per $100 of assessed valuation. In Wrightstown, it was to remain at $1.39.

Three incumbents were running unopposed for three school board seats. Elected were Eileen Bromell, Melvin Edwards and Thomas S. King Jr., each with 30 votes.


Voters approved, 424-202, a tax levy to support $7,918,085 in current expenses and approved, 423-198, a levy to support $47,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from 83 cents to 84 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in Chesterfield, from 79 cents to 81 cents in Mansfield, from 58 cents to 68 cents in North Hanover and from $1.04 to $1.21 in Springfield.

Six candidates were running for three three-year terms. Running unopposed from Springfield was William P. Gangel Jr., 103 votes. In Chesterfield, Marilyn Russo, 204 votes, defeatedGeorge T. Hepbron, 25. In Mansfield, James E. Major, 170 votes, defeated Carl J. Klotz Jr., 66, and Walter Dimitruk Jr., 23.


Voters approved, 39-4, a tax levy to support $5,935,177 in current expenses.

School officials said they expected the tax rate to remain the same, about 53 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Two incumbents were running unopposed for two three-year terms. Edward R. Drechsel Jr. and William C. Sullivan Sr. each received 46 votes.


Voters approved, 323-215, a tax levy to support $5,563.027 in current expenses and approved, 319-217, a levy to support $110,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.34 to $1.53 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Three candidates were running unopposed for three three-year terms. Elected were incumbent Newton Wosak, 398 votes, and newcomers N. Nicholas Hendershot, 376, and Sherry Piergross, 228.


Voters approved 74-17, a tax levy to support $970,521 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.51 to $1.59 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Three candidates were running unopposed for three three-year terms. Elected were newcomer Catherine Wilson, 60 votes, and incumbents Sandra J. Bauer, 53, and Deborah Emmons, 49.


Voters approved, 366-322, a tax levy to support $29,842,953 in current expenses and approved, 355-328, a levy to support $683,000 for capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.59 to $1.71 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Six candidates were running for three three-year terms.

Elected were newcomers Earl R. Humphries, 393 votes, and Daniel M. Kearns, 361, and incumbent Frank A. Hinchcliffe, 358. Also running were incumbent Juanita Roland, 354 votes; newcomer James C. Vance Jr., 320, and incumbent Sharon L. Chapin, 265.


Voters approved, 484-406, a tax levy to support $9,225,732 for current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from 62 cents to 65 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in Lumberton, from 68 cents to 77 cents in Hainesport and from 59 cents to 59.5 cents in Eastampton. It called for the tax rate to decrease from $1.11 to 57 cents in Mount Holly, because of a property revaluation, and from 56 cents to 54 cents in Westampton.

Three candidates were running unopposed for three three-year terms. Elected were newcomer David T. Perinchief, 350 votes, and incumbents Jeanne Brenner, 317, and Brooke Tidswell 3d, 308.


Voters rejected, 266-198, a tax levy to support $5,259,746 in current expenses and rejected, 265-190, a levy to support $25,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.91 to $2.05 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Four candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were incumbents Eleanor Ruehmling, 346 votes; Donald J. Chadwick, 331, and Nelson Hawkins, 277. Also running was Sister Elizabeth Anne Darch, 250 votes.


Voters approved, 187-83, a tax levy to support $1,757,923 in current expenses and approved, 197-74, to support a levy of $12,000 in capital outlay.

Because the borough recently underwent a revaluation, school officials were unable to provide information on what the tax rate would be.

Six candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were incumbents Patrick Gallagher, 198 votes, and Suzanne M. Cairns, 177, and newcomer John Montemurro, 168. Also running were incumbent Janice Renn, 131 votes, and newcomers Robert Stelling, 71, and Michael Reath, 43.

In the race for a two-year term, Pat Kenney Smith, 176 votes, defeated Beth Lippincott, 84 votes.

Elected to a one-year term was Phyllis Rodgers, 180 votes. Also running was Arthur H. Jones, 85 votes.


Voters approved, 231-194, a tax levy to support $1,610,586 in current expenses and approved, 226-195, a levy to support $100,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to decrease from $1.45 to $1.41 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Three candidates were running for two three-year terms. Elected were newcomers Robert Young, 381 votes, and Ann Wisnewski, 376. Also running was incumbent Robert Kinzel, 175 votes.


Voters approved, 221-96, a tax levy of $2,449,825 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to decrease from 76 cents to 74 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Five candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were newcomer Hunter Taylor Jr., 234 votes; incumbent Donald F. Hunt, 213, and newcomer Wiliam G. Shorman 180. Also running were incumbent George A. McCourt, 162 votes, and newcomer Salvatore Faso Jr., 85.

Running unopposed for a two-year term was Vicki Tubertini, who received 250 votes.


Voters approved, 79-23, a tax levy to support $1,092,845 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from 74 cents to 84 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Four candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were incumbents Wendy R. Brunt, 87 votes, and John T. Lynch, 75, and newcomer Carol Yankosky, 75. Also running was Melvin T. Leeds, 67 votes.

Elected to a two-year term was Janet L. Bowen, 95 votes. Elected to a one- year term was George J. Powell, 95 votes.


Voters approved, 198-64, a tax levy to support $4,558,273 in current expenses and approved, 198-63, a levy to support $20,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to decrease one-tenth of a cent, to $1.052 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Four candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were incumbents Neva R. Moore, 193 votes; Janis Wills Smith, 178, and Robert F. Hughes, 167. Also running was John Van Gorder, 163 votes.


Voters approved, 69-6, a tax levy to support $737,923 in current expenses and approved, 67-3, a levy to support $4,400 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the tax rate to remain at $2.35 per $100 assessed valuation.

Two incumbents were running unopposed for two three-year terms. Elected were Marie Heffley, 76 votes, and Daniel Walters, 74.


Voters approved, 109-25, a tax levy to support $2,425,309 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to decrease from 97.8 cents to 97.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Five candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were incumbent John W. Lee Jr., 101 votes; newcomer Carol Lynch, 95, and incumbent Jerry Faul, 79. Also running were Victoria Vavricka and Michael Adams, each of whom received 76 votes.

Running unopposed for a one-year term was Barbara Derhofer, who received 111 votes.


Voters approved, 1,069-880, a tax levy to support $39,651,441 in current expenses.

The budget called for the local tax rate to decrease from $1.57 to $1.35 per $100 of assessed valuation. Because of a recent property revaluation, however, some tax bills will rise.

Nine candidates were running for three three-year terms. Elected were former board member Margaret Reynolds, 1,016 votes; incumbent Maucie Miller, 990, and newcomer Gerard G. Whittle, 950.

Also running were William Whitehurst, 717 votes; Robert Rodriguez, 699; Charles S. Abrams, 651; Darlene S. Simon, 478; Bernard G. Sharrow, 463, and William Shaw, 364. A write-in candidate, Gary Chehames, received 577 votes.


Voters approved, 75-4, a tax levy to support $1,099,805 in current expenses and approved, 72-7, a levy to support $9,000 in capital outlay.

The budget called for the local tax rate to increase from $1.44 to $1.46 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Two incumbents were unopposed for two three-year terms. Elected were Mark G. Alloway, 78 votes, and Christa Karycinski, 76. Running unopposed for an unexpired one-year term was George H. Adams, who received 82 votes.

Six In Running For Three Seats On Delran Board

Posted: April 15, 1990

Six candidates - two of them incumbents - are running for three seats on the Delran school board.

In contrast to heatedly contested races in nearby Willingboro and Hainesport, both incumbents and challengers voiced confidence in current board leadership. The district operates middle and high schools as well as three neighborhood primary schools.

John Bellis, 65, of Haines Mill Road, seeks to return to the school board on which he served from 1964 to 1977. A retired Delran school attendance officer, Bellis has two children who graduated from township schools. He said his prime objective is to improve teacher selection and teaching materials.

Thomas F. Dresser, 42, of Forge Road, a political newcomer, is vice president of Landress Corp., a Cinnaminson-based computer center. Dresser said the major issue facing the board was containing cost increases while improving school standards. He is supported by board member Dorothy Oppmann, who is up for re-election and who is his subordinate at Landress.

Robert Gaven, 41, of Norman Avenue, also a first-time candidate, is a Delran Township road supervisor, part-time real estate salesman, owner of a home-renovation company and a volunteer firefighter for nine years. Gaven said he wants to maintain functional training and extracurricular activities in the face of threatened budget cuts.

"They're why a lot of kids come to school," he said. "Learning isn't secondary, but if you have basic education you can go out and find a job, which is what we should lean more to."

Harry Gutelius, 44, of Kevin Road, is a seven-year school board veteran and the principal of George Washington High School in Northeast Philadelphia. Gutelius is chairman of the board's facilities planning committee. Both of his children attend township schools.

Gutelius emphasized his work in helping to prepare seven budgets, all of which were approved by township voters. He is campaigning jointly with Gaven and Helen Scherer.

Oppmann, 43, of Penn Drive, is a nine-year board veteran and former president. A services manager at Landress, she has been undefeated in three previous board elections. One of her children is a senior at Delran High School and another is a recent graduate.

Oppmann said her priority is "to see that the top-shelf quality of education stays in Delran."

Scherer, 39, of Waterford Drive, is a first-time board candidate. She has served as vice president of the elementary schools' PTA and is a volunteer and room mother at Millbridge School, which her son attends. Scherer is the founder of Delran Students Abroad, which is raising money to send a high school junior to the Soviet Union this summer.

In addition to selecting new board members, voters will be asked to consider a proposed $6.8 million tax levy for current expenses. The proposal, part of a $14.77 million budget, would raise the property tax rate by 27 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, to $2.25. That means the owner of a home assessed at $60,000, the township average, would pay $1,350 in taxes, a $162 increase.

While the candidates campaign, current board members have met repeatedly to weigh building-and-grounds cuts against the property tax increase to fill a $1.2 million gap left by lower-than-expected 1990 state funding.

Ronald Napoli, the board president, said the state's shortfall violates a 1976 commitment to "full funding" of school districts. "Everyone has recognized that local property tax is the worst way to fund education," said Napoli. "We've been told Gov. Florio's new tax proposal will address this in the future . . . but until we see it we'll have to remain skeptical."

Napoli and administrator Ralph C. Clifford said board members agreed to continue basic building maintenance, but cuts are planned in grounds maintenance and equipment purchases. The board also considered but rejected staff and benefit cuts, and added a writing program to bolster academics.

Delran Schools Add 3 Special-ed Teachers

Posted: September 30, 1990

At the start of a tight budget year, Delran schools have hired three new special-education teachers to work with more than 100 special-education students who moved into the district over the summer - more than double the 46 who graduated, joined mainstream classes or moved out.

"It's a real influx," said Stanley Halpern, the system's director of special education. "We had been stable for the previous six or seven years."

The surge is costly. While most of the district's 320 special-education students go to Delran schools or other public schools, 31 are shipped to private schools, where tuition runs as high as $20,000 a year, more than three times the $6,300 annual cost to educate the average Delran student. Also, special-education classes are typically smaller, requiring more staff per student - though Halpern said many special-ed teachers were recent graduates who earned less than the district average.

The increase was expected by school board members. Superintendent Bernard D. Shapiro had announced enrollment increases during summer board meetings. Board finance chairman Robert Sheeran warned in July that the writing and freshman-sports programs were in danger because of the increased special- education costs.

The board decided to keep half the writing program and most freshman sports. Chairman Ron Napoli said the cuts could not be directly attributed to the rise in special-education obligations, but rather to a reduction in state aid and the Township Council's $69,000 cut in board expenditures after a proposed school budget was rejected by voters in April.

The state typically reimburses districts for most of the extra cost of special-education students - but payments are based on the previous year's enrollment. "We're educating 320 students with a subsidy for 260. . . . We're paying for the extra kids," Halpern said.

Halpern credited the township's affordable housing and liberal state classification standards for the increase.

Francis Pinkowski, an education planner with the state Department of Education, confirmed the number of students in self-contained, in-school special-education classes in New Jersey had risen steadily and dramatically - from 37,000 to 60,000 during the 1980s. "That doesn't even (include) the kids in mainstream, resource room, and supplemental service programs," he said.

State special-education director Jeffrey Osowski said the numbers might be leveling off. He attributed much of the increase to Carter administration mandates to provide perceptually impaired children with special programs.

Other observers said those measures reflected a groundswell of support for expanded special education. "My impression is, one of the strongest groups in the country is the parents of the handicapped. They are vocal and really supportive of the program," Pinkowski said.

Jeff Reuter, child study supervisor at the Burlington County school superintendent's office, said social conditions contributed to the increase. ''The process of identifying students has become more refined . . . but there's also environmental factors, everything from medical technology, which has contributed to a higher survival rate for . . . babies . . . to drugs, where crack babies are coming into the system gradually."

"It's part of the national problem of poverty," Halpern said. "We're solving social ills by classifying the kids for special education."

Sheeran and other board members wondered whether students were drawn to Delran from poorer parts of the state. Halpern said turnover was high for all students. A study of 155 eighth graders last year showed 48 - almost one-third - had entered the district since fifth grade; almost as many apparently left.

"People are so transient," Sheeran said. "Any mother who wants the best for her children, even if she comes from a poor neighborhood and doesn't have many resources, she's going to look for inexpensive housing in a nice neighborhood like Maple Shade, Beverly," or affordable sections of towns like Delran, where more than a quarter of special-education students live in the extensive, well-kept Hunter's Glen Apartments.

Halpern said he did not think increased special-education costs could be borne by small districts indefinitely. "Beverly and Hainesport have a terrific administrative load because their schools are so small," he said. ''Consolidation would be the cheapest way."

Delran High Stiffens Its Academic Requirements

Posted: November 18, 1990

Anthony DeJoseph, the student council president at Delran High School, stood up at Monday's school board meeting and told the board members why he thinks that seniors with straight A's in a course should be allowed to skip the final exam.

"I don't see why we can't be exempt if we worked so hard all year to get an A," he said amid scattered applause from 80 people.

Exam exemption for seniors is a policy that some teachers have followed for years at Delran. It's a policy that now will change.

On Monday, the Delran school board adopted a series of measures, recommended by a nine-member task force, aimed at stiffening academic requirements in the school system. The only recommendation not adopted was the continuation of the exam exemption policy for seniors.

"I think (the requirements) will help the community improve the quality of its academic programs," said Bernard Shapiro, the school's superintendent.

The board approved the following recommendations:

* Essay questions must appear on every exam, but not carry more than 25 percent of exam weight.

* Each mid-term and final exam will continue to be worth 10 percent of the final grade, but the board will consider raising their value to 16 2/3 percent in the future.

* No exams will be given in physical education classes.

Shapiro originally said he wanted the final exams to carry 16 2/3 percent of the final grade, but he "reluctantly" backed off after the board members promised to study how the policy is applied in other school districts.

Pat Cahn, a past president of the PTA who served on the task force, said that the stiffer requirements were part of a continuing effort by the Delran school system to improve its academics.

"We always made the headlines with sports programs," Cahn said. "But we want to give the students a firm education."

Cahn added that improvements have been made recently and the results are beginning to show.

One improvement, according to Shapiro, is an added emphasis on developing students' writing skills. The requirement that essay questions appear on all exams, for instance, complements an intensive writing program started in the Delran school system two years ago.

The changes adopted Monday night also will bring a greater reliance on standardized tests in the school system.

Under the new testing policies, a teacher will administer the same test to all students in a particular grade and ability level. The system will allow the school to determine how effectively its students are learning, Cahn said.

"An exam is a very good way to judge your program," said board member Harry Gutelius, adding that allowing seniors to be exempt from exams would hinder the school's efforts to raise its academic standards.

Parents Push For More Buses

Posted: December 02, 1990

On most afternoons when school is in session, Suzanne Brooks climbs into her van and travels to the Delran schools to pick up two of her three children, usually collecting five others in her car pool. Often, she picks up more.

Even though Brooks is one of five families participating in the car pool, she is the only parent in the group who has time to drive children home after school. The rest of the parents, like Louise Puglise, are at work.

It's an arrangement that Brooks and Puglise say would not be necessary if the school system better responded to the changing work habits of Delran's families and increased the number of children eligible for busing.

"The days of June Cleaver are over," said Puglise, a single mother of three who works for an advertising agency in Philadelphia. "Today, one of four or one of three families in Delran are single-parent homes."

To pressure school officials for a response, Brooks and Puglise presented the school board a 444-signature petition at its last meeting asking the school district to increase busing. Their requests are for a bus to drive children home after their afternoon activities and for the board to lower eligibility requirements for children to qualify for busing.

State regulations require the Delran system to provide busing for every elementary and middle school student who lives more than two miles from school, and for every high school student more than 2 1/2 miles away.

Brooks and Puglise would like busing for children who live 1 1/2 miles away.

The school board said that since the meeting, it had identified some inefficiencies in bus routes that might allow for a bus following after-school activities.

But officials say that their biggest obstacle to providing more busing is in finding more money - a difficult proposition in a township that voted down last year's proposed school board budget because of its highertaxes. "We've tried to get a (bus following after-school activities) for the last few years," said school board member Kathleen "Bunny" Hewko. "Then we got our budget defeated."

The Delran schools meet state requirements for busing and exceed the state regulations for children who must cross dangerous roads such as U.S. 130, Hartford Road or Creek Road on their way to school. The school board buses parochial school students in the same way.

"Only about 18 percent of the kids we bus are required under state guidelines," said Joseph Picogna, business administrator for the school board. "The local public is picking up the tab for 82 percent of the transportation."

Picogna said that the board did not have enough money in its current budget to provide busing for children living more than 1 1/2 miles from school, but that it might be able to streamline morning routes to allow a bus to take children home following after-school activities.

For instance, six buses are now needed to serve Delran High School in the morning, but officials are trying to consolidate the routes to four.

The board must work with a restriction in the drivers' contract that permits no more than 3 1/2 hours of actual driving time in a day per driver. To provide additional service would require more money, either in overtime or by hiring more drivers - money that Picogna said the schools did not have this year.

Puglise, however, said that the dangers presented by Delran's increasingly crowded roads were another reason for added busing. "There are no more country roads," she said. "We're looking at secondary highways."

Both Puglise and Brooks credit the board for responding to their requests, even if they say they are doubtful that anything will change this year. "In the past, people have come in and made their request on a singular level," Brooks said.

"This is the first time the community has come together and said that this is a strain on us."

Nine School Board Candidates Pursuing Four Seats In Delran

Posted: April 28, 1991

Nine candidates, seven of them newcomers, are running for four seats on the Delran school board in Tuesday's election.

While the majority of the candidates praise the current administration, four newcomers - Barbara Gallagher, Dorothy (Sue) Johnson Robins, Edward Schweikert and Margaret Schweikert - said they were concerned about what they called the district's mismanagement.

Gallagher, an 18-year resident of Delran, is employed as a financial administrator. The mother of two children, Gallagher said she would like to see better management in the district and programs implemented that put academics before sports.

Ethel Duda, 39, has been a resident of Delran for eight years and is the mother of four. She is employed as a personal computer operator for Public Service Electric & Gas Co. in Bordentown and has been an active member in the PTA, serving as a second vice president of the St. Casimir's PTA for one year.

Kenneth R. Michener has lived in the township for eight years. He is a volunteer for the township's Recreation Activities Committee and works as a systems analyst with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Michener, 40, said he thought he could bring fresh ideas and new vitality to "an already effective board."

Robert R. Mull, 47, has been a member of the board for seven years and a resident of Delran for 15 years. He is vice president of the board and is a vice president of purchasing and research development for Woodward-Wanger, a wholesale plumbing supply company in Philadelphia.

Ronald J. Napoli has been a member of the board for nine years and a resident of Delran for 13 years. Napoli, 43, works as a director in the finance department of Conrail in Philadelphia.

"It's important that experienced board members remain on the board to ensure that tomorrow's children receive the quality of education that today's children have received," Napoli said.

Robins has been a resident of Delran since 1982. She is an owner and corporate secretary of a warehouse distribution company in Hainesport. Robins is a volunteer at the library and a former member of the Curriculum Advisory Committee, a group set up by School Superintendent Bernard Shapiro.

Edward Schweikert, 50, is an assistant manager for Acme Markets in Philadelphia. He and his wife, Margaret, have lived in Delran for 12 years. Schweikert said he had to "be on the inside to see where the money is going because you ask questions and you don't get answers."

James R. Hatzold and Margaret Schweikert, two newcomers, are vying for one two-year unexpired term on the board.

Hatzold, 47, has been a resident of Delran for 15 years and has served on the township's Recreation Advisory Committe for the past 11 years. Hatzold, a general supervisor for Amtrack in Philadelphia, has coached football and baseball for the Delran Athletic Association for 15 years. He is married and has four sons.

"I've been involved in community service work and I'd like to take that one step further," Hatzold said. "I'd like to see an even balance of education, athletics and other after-school activities."

Margaret Schweikert, 43, a homemaker, said her attendance at board meetings had left her feeling that Delran residents had not been "getting their money's worth."

"I'd like to see more money going into the classroom," Schweikert said. ''This January we bought a five-ton dump truck, while teachers are complaining about using 13-year-old books. What's more important, books or a dump truck?"

Township residents will also be voting on a $17.7 million budget that would require $7.35 million to be raised by taxes. The budget, 9.4 percent over the current year, includes a waiver of the state spending cap for $70,000 to cover increased costs in special education.

The proposed budget also includes an estimated $300,000 reduction in personnel. Some of the cuts, to be made effective July 1, would include an art teacher at the high school, a third-grade teacher at Millbridge Elementary School and two physical education teachers between the high school and elementary school.

As a result of property revaluations in the township, the school tax rate is expected to drop from $2.26 per $100 of assessed value to $1.14. But the average tax bill would go up.

In 1990-91, the owner of a property assessed at $59,000, last year's township average, paid $1,328 in school taxes. If the budget is approved, the owner of a property assessed at $130,000, the new township average, will pay $1,482, or $154 more.

8 Janitors Face Layoffs In Delran

Posted: June 30, 1991

The Delran school board plans to eliminate 12 janitorial positions and replace them with more than 20 employees of a private janitorial firm next year.

To do so, the board will lay off eight janitors, some with as much as five years' experience in Delran, effective tomorrow when their union contract expires.

"I'm surprised," said Harry Smith, a five-year janitor who is one of the eight to lose their jobs. He said he would not seek a position with Andy's Janitorial Services, the contracted firm, although the board had promised to recommend that the firm rehire all eight janitors. "I'd be getting less (money and benefits)" working for Andy's, said Smith, 46, of Delran, who plans to look for another job.

Staff custodians make about $6.44 an hour. They move up the pay scale one step for each year worked for six years, then receive increases off the pay scale. Andy's will pay its employees $5 to $7 an hour, according to company owner Andy Shapiro.

Shapiro said "more than 20" janitors, plus four supervisors, would replace the 12 positions. Of the 12, two were retiring workers, one had resigned to take another job, and one position was open, according to Bill Blatchley, Delran school district's director of buildings and grounds.

The $300,300 contract could save the district, which spends $400,000 a year on maintenance, as much as $100,000, board members said, mostly in benefits.

The contract, which took a year to prepare, covers salaries and supplies, according to Blatchley, who added that the school holds a 100 percent performance bond that would refund all the money the board paid Andy's if the board is dissatisfied with the company's performance.

An inch-thick book specifying how to clean the schools in case disagreements arise between the district and Andy's is part of the contract.

The district continues to be responsible for two of the five buildings in the district, Aronson Bell and Cambridge, as well as the transportation garage, Blatchley said. Andy's will clean the three largest buildings, the high school, middle school and Millbridge School.

Many teachers are unhappy with the decision to lay off the custodians, who were members of the Delran Education Association. The board has the right to cut union members' positions and subcontract services if it can prove the layoffs are for financial reasons, said Marge Gessman, Delran Education Association president.

Gessman said Andy's had a history of hiring "transients" who would not feel the same responsibility to the school as the staffers. She also worried that teachers and janitors would not share the same relationship they had as fellow district employees, or be able to communicate as easily.

Teacher-contract Talks May Be Harbinger Of Trouble

Posted: July 21, 1991

The start of school is weeks away, but teacher-contract talks in New Jersey are showing signs of trouble.

Nearly 250 contracts remain unsettled in public school districts statewide - about twice the average for this time of year. And in many cases, talks have stalled as school officials grapple with uncertain economic times and a complicated new school-finance law.

While it's too early to predict whether the new school year will bring a spate of teacher strikes, negotiators on both sides say the outlook is not good.

"The negotiations are extremely difficult this year," said Jim Geiger, a Camden County representative of the New Jersey Education Association. "This is very difficult bargaining."

Negotiations have broken off in more than half of the 22 districts in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties that do not have contract agreements for the next school year. Mediators have stepped in, but union leaders and school officials say the mood has grown tense.

"There's no question it's going to be difficult," said Phyllis Dillman, president of the teachers' union in the Lenape Regional School District in Burlington County, where negotiations reached an impasse in May.

Dillman said school officials had offered the teachers pay raises of 5 percent - lower than previous raises and an offer that the union considered unacceptable.

School officials said the union had sought a double-digit pay raise that the district could not afford. Hence, the standoff.

In scores of districts across the state, the story is the same. After a decade-long push to boost teacher salaries by offering generous pay hikes, school officials have begun pressing for lower settlements. Not surprisingly, they are meeting with resistance.

"It's a new era," said K. Kiki Konstantinos, superintendent of the Lenape district, where talks were under way with help from a state mediator last week. "Things have to be done differently."

Under the state's new school-finance law, districts face strict limits on the annual growth of spending in the next school year - about 8 percent in most cases. They also face pressure from taxpayers pinched by recession and the new taxes enacted by the Florio administration.

Add to that loud criticism from Senate President John A. Lynch and Majority Leader Daniel J. Dalton, who have chastised school districts for granting teachers "runaway salaries." And the result is hard bargaining that has held up negotiations in many districts.

"Things are very slow," said Kathy McQuarrie, spokeswoman for the NJEA. ''We don't have many settlements yet."

Moreover, the settlements that have been reached show a trend toward smaller pay raises. Teacher contracts settled in the last six months included salary increases that averaged 8.2 percent for the next school year, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association. That's down from an average pay raise of 9 percent in settlements reached last year and 9.7 percent in 1985.

"We're definitely seeing a downward trend," said Joe Flannery, spokesman for the school boards association.

"It's inching down," agreed McQuarrie of the NJEA.

Although slight, the drop is significant because it is the first sign of a retreat from the salary increases of the last decade. New Jersey's teacher salaries have more than doubled since 1981 - from an average of $17,161 to $38,790 last year.

Much of that growth was fueled by a strong economy and the education reform efforts of former Gov. Thomas H. Kean and Education Commissioner Saul Cooperman. Now, the call is for belt-tightening.

Gov. Florio has called on school districts to "inject some discipline into the bargaining process." Toward that end, the state has said wealthy districts must begin paying part of the cost of teacher pension and Social Security payments in two years. And it has imposed caps on annual budget growth, forcing all districts to make tough choices about where to spend limited dollars.

"With these budget caps, money is a problem for a lot of districts," said Flannery. "Boards just cannot continue to pay these (big) increases. I think you're going to start to see settlements down in the 5 to 6 percent range this year."

While a handful of districts in North Jersey have settled multi-year contracts with annual raises as low as 5.5 percent, union leaders say such settlements are less likely in South Jersey, where salaries are lower and in some cases lag behind the state average.

In the Lenape district, a teacher with 14 years of experience earned $36,649 last year - below the state average and less than the average in districts of comparable wealth, union officials say.

"We know what the economic constraints are," said Dillman, the union president. "But we're hoping for something a little more reasonable" than 5 percent.

School officials, on the other hand, say they must balance the teachers' financial interests against decisions about program cuts or impose a tax hike.

"The people out there, a lot of them aren't working," said Konstantinos, the school superintendent. "If they are, they're not getting near an 8 or 9 percent increase. And if we're talking about a tax increase (to pay for higher salaries), they don't want to hear it."

In addition to the Lenape district, contract negotiations are under way in the Burlington County school districts of Bass River, Bordentown, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Delran, Lumberton, Mansfield and Willingboro.

In Camden County, the Barrington, Collingswood, Gloucester Township, Haddon Township, Haddonfield, Lawnside, Magnolia, Oaklyn and Woodlynne school districts have yet to resolve teacher contracts.

And in Gloucester County, contract talks continued in Elk, Logan, National Park and Southern Gloucester County Regional school districts.

Tentative Pact In Delran

Posted: September 26, 1991

Delran teachers unanimously approved a tentative agreement yesterday calling for a pay increase of about 7 percent in each of the next two years.

School board members will vote on the agreement Oct. 21.

Board member Harry Gutelius said the agreement with the 260 members of the Delran Education Association was similar to one reached in Cinnaminson Sept. 10.

Although he would not provide details of the agreement, Gutelius said that, unlike Cinnaminson, the Delran school board had not sought co-payment of medical benefits.

Teachers plan another membership meeting to ratify the contract early next month, said DEA President Marge Gessman. She said 239 members attended yesterday's meeting.

A board negotiating team and DEA leaders met with a state mediator until 6 a.m. yesterday. It was the fourth meeting between board and DEA negotiators since the teachers' contract expired June 30. Bus drivers, custodians, aides and teachers had been working without a contract.

Gutelius called the agreement fair to both sides. "The salary increase was low enough that we could pay it and high enough that they could live with it."

Delran Exploring Subcontracting Out Its School Nurses

Posted: January 30, 1992

In an unprecedented request to the state, the Delran School District is exploring the possibility of replacing its school nurses, who are district employees, with nurses from the private sector.

Last week, the Delran Board of Education voted, 8-1, to resubmit a November request to the state Department of Education for a legal opinion on privatizing health services. The district currently employs three full-time and two part-time state-certified school nurses.

"We don't even know if there are advantages," said Superintendent Carl Johnson. "We are looking at getting comparable services at less expense. The (final) decision might be . . . it is not worth it. But I'm not going to do all that research until I find out it's permissible."

It could take up to a year for the district to get an answer, said Maureen Keller, acting director for the Bureau of Controversies and Disputes for the Department of Education.

"This issue in regards to school nursing has never been raised before," said Keller. "It's . . . the first time anyone has litigated the issue, and it's going to take an interpretation of law."

She said that there was no blanket prohibition on subcontracting services, but that of two such queries in 12 years, the Department of Education has denied one - a proposal to privatize speech therapists.

School district attorney John Barbour said, "The state wanted to know if they (the district) were really interested. They don't want to take the time if we are asking for the sake of asking. We've written back stating yes, the board will consider it, if it's legal."

"We have contracted out a substantial portion of our custodial services, so it's not a new concept in the district," said board President Ronald Napoli. In 1991, the board voted to subcontract custodial workers, thus resulting in $100,000 savings to the district.

Entry-level full-time nurses start at $23,500 in the Delran district. The highest paid of the nurses makes about $42,000.

Even the remote prospect that certified school nurses could be replaced with subcontracted personnel has district nurses and some parents concerned.

"Are you kidding? We think it is a terrible idea," said one district nurse, who requested anonymity. "Many of us have been here for years. We know the children. We know when they come in the office how to handle them. We know their situation and we know the family background.

"This could be terrible for nursing. . . . It could impact on the entire state," she added. "It's very much in the exploratory stages (but) people in the community are very upset."

Parent Linda Wengerd, whose 10-year-old son Dustin has asthma, said, "I don't know if they can privatize the nurses and still have the same familiar care that children have now."

"Our nurse, she knows my son. She's known him year after year. What if they get someone in for six months and she decides to leave? These are my questions," Wengerd said.

"Some of us worked in hospitals briefly . . . and we took a pay cut to work in schools," said Nikki Feldman, president of the Burlington County School Nurses Association. "(If it happens,) I think it's disastrous for the children of Delran. There would be no continuity in working with the children's problems. We are trained in dealing with children in a school setting, which is totally different than a hospital."

Students Are Fighting Cuts In Delran They're Petitioning For Restoration Of Language, Art, Computer Programs.

Posted: May 21, 1992

Delran middle school students are gathering petitions to oppose school board decisions that would curtail computer, art and foreign language classes.

The petition drive began shortly after the board cut $85,000 from the defeated $17.9 million school budget for 1992-93.

"We the undersigned concerned residents of Delran Township," the student petition begins, "request that the Board of Education reconsider its decision and restore the foreign language program and other educational activities, such as art, keyboard, etc. . . . We believe education should be our main priority."

The budget eliminates seventh-grade foreign language, reduces computer keyboarding classes and leaves the school with just one guidance counselor, principal Stephen Falcone said Monday. In addition, because of seniority, the art and special education teachers will be dismissed.

Another petition was circulated by a citizens group calling itself People Recognizing Education as a Priority.

As of Monday, members had collected at least 40 signatures to present to the Board of Education.

The student petition has more signatures. It was formulated by friends living in the Swedes Run area, where they have gotten about 120 signatures, sixth grader and co-author Amit Vora said Friday. She said the small association planned to show board members their petitions at the next board meeting.

"I felt we should do something to get their attention," eighth grader and co-author Andrew Konicki said.

School officials are not giving the students hope. Once adopted, a budget can be altered by transferring alotted funds, but that normally happens during an emergency only, Superintendent Carl I. Johnson said.

Students have sought ways to organize their frustration since the hearing that accompanied the board's budget ratification late last month.

Konicki spoke before a packed high school cafeteria, saying "I think languages such as Spanish should continue. We should not 'rif' (eliminate by reduction in force) some of these teachers, because they are some of the best teachers we have."

Konicki also protested that the cuts were preserving sports programs at the expense of education, an important issue in a town where residents are conditioned to sports success.

"How is kicking a soccer ball going to get me into Princeton or Harvard?" asked Konicki, who is on the soccer team.

There were the makings that night of a student sit-in, tentatively scheduled for the next week. Some of the more active students canvassed their friends and acquaintances who were also upset at the cuts. Before night's end, student leaders said that 100 students had tentatively agreed to skip at least one class.

The students feared, however, that they might face suspension. On the morning of the sit-in, May 7, those fears were strong enough to dissuade the students.

Konicki, who was increasingly cool toward the sit-in, and his friends decided to take other action by writing the petition with their parents' help. The parents of the students are proud of their children's determination.

"Me and my wife are really supporting the kids," Vasant Vora said. ''That's the only way they can get attention from board members."

School Bus Is Hit By Car In Delran No Students Were Aboard. It Was The Area's Third School-bus Accident In Three School Days.

Posted: September 23, 1992

DELRAN — A school bus traveling through Delran without students was hit from behind yesterday morning on Route 130 South, leaving the driver of a small four-door car with back sprains and a pregnant school bus driver shaken up but otherwise uninjured, police said.

The incident was the third motor-vehicle accident involving a school bus in South Jersey in three school days.

The accident on Tuesday occurred at about 8 a.m., shortly after the bus had dropped off students at Holy Cross High School. The bus, owned by National School Bus Service Inc. of Berlin, had just passed the intersection of Chester Avenue while slowing down at the Haines Mill Road jughandle, Delran Patrolman Leonard L. Mongo said.

Traffic was reduced on the three-lane southbound highway to one lane and backed up for 30 minutes to about one-half mile.

The blue Chevrolet that struck the bus was destroyed.

Its driver, Esme D. Odain, 54, of Hunters Glen Apartments in Delran, was treated at the scene by the Delran Emergency Squad. She was transported to Zurbrugg Hospital in Riverside and released a few hours later, a hospital spokesman said.

The school bus driver, Carol Sheehan, 27, of Pinoak Drive in Atco, was ''emotionally shook up," said Mongo, who advised the woman to see her physician. Norma Stevenson, operations supervisor with the company's Red Lion Division in Vincentown, said later that Sheehan was in good health.

"She's fine. We made sure she was checked (by her doctor)," Stevenson said.

Sheehan was wearing her seatbelt when the accident took place, she said. School bus drivers have been required to wear seatbelts for about 10 years, said the company safety manager, Ray Mooney. A new state law signed two weeks ago requires seat belts on all new school buses, but not buses now in service.

Stevenson said the rear bumper on the bus was dented.

The bus was on its normal route that transports students from the Lenape School District area.

On Friday, the driver of a Jeep was killed when it crashed into a bus carrying 43 children and adults, leaving 30 of them injured in Mantua.

In a less serious accident on Monday in Maple Shade, a car hit a school bus that was carrying 37 students broadside. Twelve children were treated at area hospitals with minor injuries.

Delran Seeks 4% Tax Hike For Schools

Posted: March 14, 1993

DELRAN — Residents would see their school taxes increase 4 percent under a $17.5 million budget introduced by the school board.

If residents approve the plan April 20, the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $130,000 would pay $1,690, an increase of $65. The tax rate would increase from $1.25 to $1.30 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The board, which has seen its last three budgets defeated, is hoping to win public support by proposing a lower tax increase this time.

The proposed budget increases spending 2.32 percent, or $395,636, and includes $191,994 more in state aid. The proposal that residents defeated last year would have raised taxes 8.9 percent, or 11 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

"We're trying to put the best budget forward for the people of Delran," board member Helen Scherer said.

The major increases are in salaries, benefits, insurance and utilities costs, Superintendent Carl I. Johnson said.

The budget, proposed March 3, neither cuts programs nor adds new ones, he said.

"I think the budget is a fiscally responsible budget, one that I feel represents the needs of the students," she said.

But Johnson warned of cuts in programs and staff if residents rejected the budget for the fourth consecutive year. An expensive contract settlement, due June 30, with the 25-member Delran Teachers Association could also bust the budget, he added.

It's A New Age For Delran In 6-way School Board Race A 20-year-old Is Taking His First Stab At Politics.

Posted: April 04, 1993

DELRAN — Twenty-year-old Damien Damiano, a 1991 graduate of Delran High School, has never really left his favorite haunt.

"In this school I grew up," he said during a recent interview in the school library. "I found what I wanted to do, and I'm following it."

The "it" is politics, said the Burlington County College political science major.

If his wish comes true, he will become a school board member, which means he would be spending even more time at the high school than he already does as adviser to the student production of Camelot.

He is battling five others running for three three-year terms on the board.

At 20, Damiano is not only the youngest candidate in Delran, he is the youngest one in Burlington County, according to local school districts.

"I hope people will take me seriously," he said. "Right now I do feel Delran does need a new face on the board. Maybe someone who's actually gone through the system should serve."

Other candidates are Sandra DeSimone, Jean A. Gandy, Robert C. Leavitt, Charles Perritt and incumbent Helen Scherer. DeSimone and Gandy are running joint campaigns, as are Perritt and Scherer.

Board members Harry Gutelius and James Hatzold are retiring.

Friends, family and residents have generally been encouraging, Damiano said.

"He's been very involved in the school, so it doesn't surprise me," high school principal Michael Gallucci said. "I think the fact we can interest young people in government is a success story."

The other candidates seem less concerned with Damiano's age than running a campaign and winning.

"Everybody has the right to put their name in," said DeSimone, who last year helped found the group People Recognizing Education as a Priority. "Age doesn't bother me one way or the other. My major issue is what it's always been: That is (for the board) to take more public input."

Others are taking the same tack regarding Damiano.

"There are some very bright young people," board member Robert Sheeran said. "You don't know what ideas they're going to bring to the board."

Aspiring board members will present their platforms on candidates' night Wednesday. Damiano said he had been studying the district's budget as preparation.

Damiano said he supports the formation of a fine arts committee on the board but opposes the board's proposal to contract out janitorial services, despite the potential savings of $105,000.

DeSimone and Gandy support increased spending on curriculum, including textbooks. Despite their criticism of a "lack of openness" on the school board, they support its $17.5 million budget proposal calling for a 4 percent tax increase.

Perritt and Scherer are calling for spending efficiency.

"I think they're (board members) making every effort they can," Perritt said. "I'd just like to give it a shot myself."

Leavitt could not be reached for comment.

Delran School Board Considers Privatizing School-bus Service

Posted: April 04, 1993

DELRAN — Having seen three straight budget proposals go down to defeat, the school board is considering replacing the district's busing operation with a less expensive private firm, according to Board President Ron Napoli.

Eliminating the approximately 20 bus drivers would save $280,000 annually, said Superintendent Carl I. Johnson. The district, which owns some buses that are eight years old, would also get newer equipment by going with a private firm, he said.

The layoffs of the drivers would be in addition to 11 layoffs of janitors already part of a 1993-94 budget introduced last month.

The board is set to vote tomorrow on a budget amended to include the additional layoffs, Napoli said.

"Right now, with facts we have in front of us, I'd say (the new cuts are) highly likely," he added.

Stung by successive budget defeats, the school board proposed a much trimmer 1993-94 budget last month, a $17.5 million plan that calls for a 5- cent tax increase, or $65 for the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $130,000.

Johnson said privatizing busing would save the district $280,000 and slice about 2 cents from a increase.

"That's a lot of money," he said. "The bottom line is you try to provide services for the least amount and try to minimize the impact on taxpayers."

The district began privatizing custodial and maintenance services two years ago, which reduced those jobs to the current staff of 21. Johnson said the district had seen "quite a substantial savings" as a result.

Because state law limits the annual increases that contractors can receive, the savings would continue for the life of the contract, Johnson said.

Those cuts would have been included in the budget when it was introduced, but the bids had not been received, he said.

The proposed budget already includes $105,000 in expected savings from further privatizing custodial and maintenance services.

The threatened workers, who are represented by the 300-member Delran Education Association, will make their presence felt at the hearing, district and union officials said.

DEA president Marge Gessman could not be reached for comment. The bus drivers' representative, Nancy Vassallo, explained the board's proposals to the drivers at a meeting Wednesday.

She declined to comment on the situation but said the drivers would appear in force tomorrow.

"I would suspect that April 5 will be a very lively meeting," board member Robert Sheeran said.

To ease the bus drivers' fears, Sheeran said, the contractors will probably consider hiring them.

There is "no reason for them to be pleased about it," he said. "But once some of the emotion is removed, we think when they have the opportunity to see what the contractor may be able to offer them, I think they may not be as unhappy as they are today."

Overall, the district's maintenance and custodial staff would be reduced to 10 people.

Other area school districts - among them Edgewater Park and, more recently, Cherry Hill - have opted for privatizing bus routes. Edgewater Park Superintendent Walter J. Dold said the district had been contracting out for ''quite a few years."

"They do it better and more efficiently for me," Dold said. "The contractor offered the bus drivers I had jobs."

Delran School Board Backs 31 Layoffs

Posted: April 06, 1993

DELRAN — An overwhelmingly pro-union crowd of about 200 people did not deter the school board last night from approving a $17.2 million 1993-94 budget that eliminates 31 bus-driving, maintenance and custodial jobs.

The proposal to lay off 20 unionized district bus drivers and replace them with a contracted bus service brought speaker after speaker to the podium in protest. Only a few people spoke in favor of the move, which the board said would save $280,000 annually.

"I'm a former bus driver" now, said Robert Chambers.

Some speakers argued that firing bus drivers would hurt safety and expose children to strangers.

Contracting with an outside company "would mean losing control (over hiring), having strangers in the halls," said Marge Guessman, president of the Delran Education Association, which represents the laid-off workers.

Board members countered that Eagle Wolfington, the bus company the board has hired for $613,000, has a better safety record and better equipment than the district.

"I for one have no trouble with subcontracting if we can save money," said Anne Marie Lorenzen, a parent of two students.

A petition with 600 signatures opposing the change was presented to the board.

"We feel very confident it (safety) will not be compromised," said Board President Ron Napoli.

In addition to the bus drivers, 11 custodial and maintenance workers would be laid off and replaced with a janitorial and a landscaping company, a move the board said would save $105,000.

The budget would increase the property-tax rate from $1.25 to 1.28 on each $100 of assessed property value, an increase of 2.4 percent. The owner of a home assessed at the township average of $130,000 would pay $1,664, up $39 from this year.

The spending plan is slightly higher than last year's budget of $17.06 million.

During the discussion over the bus drivers, a furor erupted when Guessman tried to turn the podium over to Steven Swetsky, a consultant from the New Jersey Education Association, so he could present figures allegedly showing it would cost more to hire outsiders.

Napoli would not allow Swetsky to speak and called for the vote.

Failure Of A Leaner, Meaner Budget Confounds Delran School Officials

Posted: May 02, 1993

DELRAN — The Delran school board thought it had seen the light after three straight budget defeats.

Residents wanted a tight budget.

And the board complied, approving a $17.18 million 1993-94 budget proposal that would have included $8.43 million in taxes, including debt service. That was a mere 0.68 percent increase in the total budget and a 2.4 percent increase in the tax rate.

The owner of a home assessed at the township average of $130,000 would have paid $1,664 - an increase of $39 a year.

To achieve those numbers, the board fired 11 custodial and maintenance workers and 20 bus drivers. A custodial company already under contract to the district will pick up the extra maintenance work, and the district has hired Eagle Wolfington Leasing Corp. of Mount Holly to handle student transportation.

Despite harsh criticism of the layoffs at a public hearing April 5, the board resisted calls to reverse the decision - sure that residents would be unable to resist such a small tax increase.

But residents proved resistant, turning down the proposal April 20 by a vote of 609-584.

"I'm very disappointed," said Superintendent Carl I. Johnson. "The board worked very diligently to keep the budget down. They made some very hard decisions, particularly with privatization.

"If 13 people had voted the other way, it would have passed."

Results showed that 39 people had voted for school-board candidates but not for the budget. At least some who voted against the budget apparently believed the rejection would restore the drivers' jobs.

"I had parents approach me and tell me, 'Don't worry about your job,' " said Barbara Kraus, a district driver for 15 years.

Kraus said she had voted against the budget - not in the hope of getting her job back but because she felt board members did not listen to the public.

In the board elections, voters turned out incumbent Helen Scherer but elected three new members who oppose more spending cuts: Sandra DeSimone, Jean A. Gandy and Charles Perritt.

The firing of 20 bus drivers - some of them Delran residents, some nearing retirement - remains controversial. But the board has insisted that all the cuts are final.

When the board passed the budget plan April 5, some residents said they would be willing to pay $64 more in taxes on the average assessment if the drivers' jobs were preserved.

That reasoning befuddled Scherer.

"It makes me say to myself, 'If they voted no for $39, do you think they would have voted for $64?' It doesn't make sense."

The budget is now in the hands of the Township Council, which may cut it or keep it as proposed. The council may order cuts in the budget but cannot tell the board what to cut.

"Hopefully, they'll review all the efforts made by the Board of Education before the budget went (to the voters) and see it was close, there really was no mandate, keep it intact," Johnson said.

Suit Filed Over Counselor's Refusal To Release Files Delran's School Board Reprimanded Her And Denied Her A Raise. An Arbitrator Disagreed. She Wants Back Pay.

Posted: August 14, 1993

The New Jersey Education Association has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Delran school counselor who was reprimanded after she refused to hand over confidential student files to the district superintendent.

The suit, filed Monday in Burlington County Superior Court, seeks back pay with interest from the Delran School District for Norma Roth, 54, a member of the district's child study team who was reprimanded for insubordination and denied an incremental pay increase.

The dispute dates to Feb. 19, 1992, when Superintendent Carl I. Johnson requested child study team files for analysis by a consulting firm that was assessing the district's program. Roth said she had refused because state law prohibits releasing the documents without parental consent.

In addition, the board had already promised to speak with parents before any releases, she added.

Child study teams collect academic and, sometimes, psychological records on students to help place them in the proper classes and provide them with the necessary support, Roth said. As a result, the records can be very sensitive, she said.

"It's my responsibility to see those records are kept confidential," Roth said. "I was trying to do my job."

Four months after the incident, the school board accepted Johnson's recommendation that Roth be reprimanded and have her increment withheld.

Johnson declined to discuss details of the case, except to confirm that he cited Roth for insubordination.

The suit follows arbitrator Jeffrey Teener's May 1 ruling that Roth, who filed a grievance with the district over the reprimand, be given her incremental increase. In June, the board voted to appeal the decision, though an appeal has not yet been filed with the court, Johnson said.

"What she's looking for is the arbitration award to be obeyed by the board," said attorney Steven Cohen, who represents the NJEA in South Jersey. ''The board agreed to binding arbitration, and, ordinarily, you shouldn't have to go to court. It's extraordinary to have to go to court."

Binding arbitration is a provision in the teachers' contract, Cohen said.

The NJEA also wants the Chancery Division of the court, where the suit was filed, to add the interest that would have accrued to the increment since the May 1 decision, Cohen said.

Roth said she lost $2,000 in salary in the 1992-93 school year.

The board definitely intends to appeal the arbitrator's ruling, Johnson said.

"The NJEA beat us to the punch," he said.

A Sept. 10 court date has been scheduled before Judge Myron H. Gottlieb, said Cohen, who explained that Gottlieb would be deciding whether the arbitrator's ruling should be upheld without rehashing the case.

He predicted that Gottlieb would render a decision that day.

Ever since the reprimand, Roth said, her work has come under a microscope.

"I feel my performance is very carefully scrutinized," she said. "I felt I conducted myself professionally."

Dispute Stalls Pact For Teachers

Posted: August 30, 1993

DELRAN — The school board and its 170 teachers are no closer to signing a new contract than they were eight months ago because of a continuing dispute over who can serve as a board negotiator.

The dispute arose in February after the Delran Education Association, which represents the teachers, demanded that board President Ron Napoli and member Robert Mull step down from the board negotiating team because of conflicts of interest involving their spouses.

Napoli's wife is a district secretary and Mull's wife is a teacher at Millbridge Elementary School.

The DEA cited an opinion by the state School Ethics Commission saying that board members who are negotiating a contract that will affect their spouses had conflicts of interest.

Worried that four other members of the nine-member board could have conflicts of interest because they are members of the New Jersey Education Association through their jobs in other towns, the school board in April asked the commission to rule whether they could serve on the negotiating team.

The NJEA is the umbrella union for the state's public schoolteachers and the board fears they could be seen as having a vested interest in the contract.

The four are Morris Burton, an attendance officer in Cinnaminson; Sandra DeSimone, a teacher in Pennsauken; Jean Gandy, a teacher in Pennsauken, and Ronald Forst, who teaches in Burlington City.

The board is concerned that it could be subject to fines if found in violation of state school ethics codes for school officials, said district Superintendent Carl I. Johnson.

The board also wants to guard against a potential lawsuit that could possibly scuttle a negotiated agreement, Johnson said.

The board is still waiting to hear from the commission about the eligibility of the four members, Board Solicitor John Barbour said. And neither Napoli or Mull has stepped down from the negotiating team.

Barbour said that he had advised the board to seek clarification from the ethics commission and that pending such advice "the members don't want to violate the law."

Attorney General Geri Callahan, a commission member, said she did not know when the commission would discuss the issue.

The board and the DEA have not met since March and the old contract expired June 30.

Another board member, Robert Sheeran, had been asked to step down because his sister-in-law was a district bus driver. But the bus drivers were represented by the DEA before the district privatized the busing operations, so his eligibility was no longer in question, Napoli said.

A couple of weeks ago, the DEA filed a petition with the Public Employees Relations Commission seeking mediation on the ground that the board has been delaying negotiations, according to Steven Swetsky, NJEA negotiations consultant.

"It is our feeling there are seven board members who (can) participate in the negotiations right now," Swetsky said. "We've been asking them to appoint a committee and come back to the table."

In Napoli's view, the DEA caused the negotiations stalemate by bringing up the eligibility issue.

"The union thought they could get an easier group to deal with, one that would be more conducive to a higher settlement . . . and it backfired," Napoli said.

The original board negotiating team had said in several bargaining sessions with the DEA that the board would not be as generous as during the previous negotiations when it agreed to a two-year pact providing for consecutive 7 percent raises, Napoli said.

"The economic environment, settlements in other districts and conditions in Delran, in general, don't call for it," he said.

But "the longer it takes, the lower (the teachers') likely settlement becomes."

Ethics Question Holds Up Teachers' Pact Are Some Delran School Board Members Ineligible To Participate In Negotiations? The State Will Rule.

Posted: January 18, 1994

DELRAN — For the Delran school board, it's an ethical dilemma. For the teachers' union, it's stalling.

Now, after months of no talks, each is hoping the impasse will be broken by higher authority.

As the board sees it, only two of its members may be free under new state ethical standards to negotiate a contract with the teachers, because seven of its nine members are themselves teachers or indirectly tied to the union with which it negotiates contracts.

For that reason, while it awaits a ruling from the state School Ethics Commission, the board says it has not negotiated with the Delran Education Association since March.

That reasoning is nonsense, replies the DEA, and last week the union asked the state Public Employment Relations Commission to compel the board to negotiate.

Decisions may come in the next two weeks from the two state agencies - and in keeping with the peculiar standoff, nobody is quite sure what would happen if the decisions are at odds.

The ethics panel is scheduled to meet Jan. 26 to clarify whether five members of Delran's school board with ties to the New Jersey Education Association, the parent union of the Delran teachers' union, can safely negotiate and vote on a contract.

On the other side, the Public Employment Relations Commission, which held an emergency hearing last week, is expected to decide by Friday whether to force the school board to negotiate.

The difficulties have resulted from different interpretations of state ethics laws, which were reorganized under the School Ethics Commission in 1992. The school board believes five of its members with ties to the NJEA could potentially be exposed to ethical complaints if they help negotiate or vote on a contract.

"We're not trying to avoid negotiation, we're just asking the state how do we legally do it," said John Barbour, lawyer for the school board.

But the DEA says the fear is unfounded, that the five certainly can negotiate, and they have a legal obligation to do so.

"I think the whole thing is being blown out of proportion," said Steven Cohen, lawyer for DEA. "Their refusal to meet is violation of the PERC act, and their intentions, good, bad or indifferent, are irrelevant."

Those five members are important for contract negotiations, because based on earlier rulings that both sides have accepted, two members of the nine member board definitely cannot participate in negotiations. That means those two members, who have wives in the DEA, cannot even vote on a contract.

That leaves seven, and if five of those are also found to have a conflict of interest, only two remain, - not a majority.

If the ethics commission rules that members with ties to the NJEA cannot negotiate teacher contracts, said Cohen, "that would paralyze half the school districts in New Jersey."

The union's 240 members, meanwhile, have been working under the terms of their old contract, which expired June 30.

Negotiations broke off in March, after DEA President Marge Gessman sent a letter to the school board asking that three members of its four-person negotiating team be removed because of a new interpretation of conflict of interest laws.

Gessman and school board President Ron Napoli disagree, however, over the motivation behind her letter. Napoli argues that the DEA simply wanted to remove from the negotiating team those it thought inimical to union interests.

"If that letter had not been sent, these negotiations would have been finished before October or November, no doubt in my mind," Napoli said.

"So in their effort to get a negotiations team that would be softer, more likely to give themselves increases, the leadership shot themselves in the foot," he said.

But Gessman said she wrote the letter merely to make the board aware of the new interpretation of the law.

In either case, the letter was "the trigger," said School Superintendent Carl Johnson, and the board then wondered whether another five of its members, with ties to the NJEA, might be viewed in the future as having a conflict of interest.

Cohen said that fear was exaggerated, but Barbour argued that in addition to a fine and possible removal from the board, "to have been found to have behaved unethically - that's a big thing for your reputation."

A few days before the ethics panel meets Jan. 26, it expects to receive advice it requested from the state attorney general, according to Paula Sallomi, executive director of the commission.

But DEA members last week asked PERC in an emergency hearing to force the school board to negotiate. Cohen said he expected a decision by Friday.

In the interim, school employees have continued to work, but, said Gessman, ''the school board's lack of respect for the employees of the district really creates horrendous working conditions. It's not an exaggeration."

State Tells Delran School Board To Renew Teacher Contract Talks A Negotiator Must Be Named By The Directors. The Union Had Filed An Unfair-labor-practice Complaint.

Posted: January 24, 1994

DELRAN — A state agency has ordered the Delran school board to reopen contract negotiations with its teachers. The board suspended talks early last year, citing ethical concerns.

The Public Employment Relations Commission on Friday ordered the board to appoint a negotiator, even as the board waits for another state agency to rule whether five board members with ties to the teachers' union can participate in the talks.

"The board's blanket refusal to negotiate so stifles the labor relations process that the harm which flows therefrom is irreparable," PERC adjudicator Edmund Gerber ruled Friday in response to a complaint by the Delran Education Association.

"It's what we wanted," said Steven Cohen, lawyer for the 240-member union, which brought an unfair-labor practice charge against the board in December.

Gerber noted that two members of the nine-member board did not have ''pending conflict-of-interest petitions," implying that either or both of them could represent the board.

School Board President Ron Napoli said the board would not act on PERC's order until its next scheduled meeting, on Feb. 14. Napoli said he didn't want to comment until he had read PERC's order and until the board had received advice from counsel.

"I suspect at that time (Feb. 14), the board would identify someone to negotiate" with the DEA, said Carl Johnson, the superintendent of Delran schools.

In the meantime, Delran's board is eagerly awaiting a decision Wednesday from the state School Ethics Commission, which since 1992 has overseen whether school board members and other school officials behave properly.

The School Ethics Commission has already ruled that two members of the Delran board whose wives belong to the teachers' union should not participate in the talks. It is expected to rule on the status of five other members of the board who have ties to the New Jersey Education Association.

Without those five, the board lacks a majority.

"I feel confident we will make a decision Wednesday," said Paul Contillo, the chairman of the School Ethics Commission. "Whether we make it public that afternoon or in a month is the question.

"I understand the time pressure over there, and I think we want to help them out as best we can," Contillo said.

Contillo did not say how the board would rule. But either way, he said, ''we have to give them some way of going through with business. We have to give them a method of continuing negotiation."

Contillo said the commission would probably also clarify what it means when it says someone with a conflict of interest cannot participate in negotiations.

Delran's board believes the prohibition on participating extends not just to being on the negotiating team but also forbids voting to direct a negotiating team or to ratify a contract, Johnson said.

But Contillo said the law might not view participate quite that restrictively, and Cohen simply said that the interpretation was bogus.

Delran's school employees have worked under the terms of their old contract since it expired in June. Talks broke off in March after the DEA wrote a letter asking that two members of the board's negotiating team be removed because their wives were members of the DEA.

Napoli said the letter was motivated by a desire to remove those seen as inimical to DEA interests from the negotiating team. DEA President Marge Gessman, who wrote the letter, said she was simply making the board aware of the law.

Either way, the board then concluded that the other five members with ties to the NJEA could be subject to similar ethical complaints.

Busing takes schools down a difficult road Budgets, boundaries deprive students of rides

Posted: August 28, 2003

Patricia Schultz dreads the phone call.

But these days, when checking on bus routes tops many parents' back-to-school lists of concerns, the Springfield School District's transportation manager knows it is coming.

It is the angry, confused message from the parent who wants to know why his or her child has to walk or be driven to school when a next-door neighbor's child is bused.

But Schultz knows the equation by heart: Buses from the Delaware County school district pick up students who live 1.5 miles or more from their high school or 1 mile or more from their elementary school.

So if Student A lives just a hair over a mile from Elementary School X and Student B is just a share under the mile mark, Student B is out of luck.

"We have to draw the line somewhere," Schultz said a little wearily, this being the time of year when taking vacation time isn't even an option.

And Springfield parents have it lucky. The district does more than the state requires in terms of transportation.

In fact, busy roads, neighborhoods that lack sidewalks, and parent demand make busing a big business around the region. Limited school funds, however, often make it a big headache.

Some school systems bus all students. Some bus if students live farther than a mile from school; for some, the limit is 2 miles or more. All are responsible for transporting both public and nonpublic school students who live within their borders.

As the nation's population has spread beyond cities and into suburbs during the last 50 years, so has the percentage of students who take a bus to and from school. About 31 percent in 1950, it grew to 43 percent by 1970 and to about 55 percent in 2000.

Pennsylvania requires districts to transport only special-education students. But if a district chooses to bus other students as well, the state will partially reimburse it for elementary students who live at least 1.5 miles from school, secondary students who live at least 2 miles from school, and students who live in an area where road or traffic conditions would make walking hazardous.

New Jersey guarantees a ride to students who live 2 or more miles from their elementary or middle school or 2.5 miles from their high school, but it neither funds nor obligates districts to bus students who live on an otherwise hazardous route.

So in both states - depending on the district - parents who feel very strongly that their children should be bused may be out of luck.

In New Jersey, such parents include Robert Seville of Delran, who worries about his sons' safety because he lives just beyond Delran's busing boundary. Because of traffic in his development from a booming commercial center nearby, he won't let his boys walk, and so interrupts work every day to drive them.

In Pennsylvania, courtesy busing has galvanized a vocal group of parents in the Central Bucks district, where about a dozen unsuccessfully pleaded with the school board Tuesday to spare their children's bus routes.

About 350 students at three elementary schools will now walk to classes each morning, saving the district about $35,000 in a tough budget year.

"Courtesy busing is a hot issue in many communities," said Mike Yaple, spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association. "So many areas are growing so rapidly, and there are huge amounts of cars and speeding commuters."

In many cases, "courtesy" is far from an apt title to describe non-mandated busing. An example in New Jersey would be a student who lived two miles from high school and was offered a bus ride anyway.

"It's not courtesy if you're taking children walking along busy or hazardous roads to school, even if they live under the mileage limits," Yaple said. "New Jersey has suburbs filled with traffic, crowded cities, and its rural areas don't have sidewalks. None of this is conducive for a child walking to school on a dark winter morning."

Increasingly, when bus routes are cut, parents' concerns are not just about safety. Busing is now a lifestyle issue.

"More and more moms are working, and so they have less and less options for how their kids get to school," said Mary Beth Lauer, spokeswoman for the Haverford School District in Delaware County. "The school bus becomes something you depend on."

Few issues mobilize parents so quickly or so passionately as cutting bus routes.

On the state level, Yaple sees it all the time: "This is a hot-button issue. This is something you will see parents turn out to support and support vocally."

Springfield's Schultz, who is responsible for making sure more than 3,000 students get to school every day in the coming school year, put it succinctly:

"If you cut our routes, we'd have a holy war. It's safety. It's parents getting their kids to school. It's that important."

Busing - and any change made to it - needs to be taken seriously by school officials, Lauer said.

"It's a huge operation, and one that you have to look very carefully at before you tinker with it," said Lauer.

In Haverford, for instance, the district buses to 126 public and nonpublic schools daily.

"Busing," Lauer said, "is an incredible expense."

About $12 billion is spent busing schoolchildren nationally each year - an average of $528 per pupil (both public and private) in 1999-2000, according to School Bus Fleet magazine. In New Jersey, the average was $768, the magazine estimated.

In 2001, school districts in Philadelphia and its four suburban Pennsylvania counties spent $214 million busing about 400,000 students to public, private and parochial schools. The average annual cost per student was $538.

In New Jersey, 64 percent of kindergarten-through-eighth-grade districts provide more busing than the state requires, Yaple said. About half of the high school districts provide courtesy busing.

Similar figures were not available in Pennsylvania.

Charlie Gauthier, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, urges districts - and the school boards that make the decisions on how much to spend - to look at the big picture.

"Our position has always been that we're not saying other things are not important issues, but that transportation is easily as important as funding classroom issues," Gauthier said. "Unless we get children to school safely and ready to learn, no one gets an education."

Each year, about 440,000 public school buses travel 4.3 billion miles to transport 22.5 million children to and from school nationwide.

School bus rides are nearly 2,000 times safer than trips in the family car, according to the National School Transportation Association. The school bus is the only mode of transportation for which accidents, injuries and fatalities have been reduced while the numbers of vehicles, miles and passengers have increased annually.

Nationwide, school transportation is a patchwork, with most states mandating at least some busing. Some provide funding; others leave districts to fend for themselves.

In New Jersey, districts are partially reimbursed, but only for nonhazardous busing. Pennsylvania schools receive partial payment for hazardous and nonhazardous busing.

That's a problem, Gauthier said. School buses are the largest single fleet of public transportation, and the only one that receives no federal funding.

"If the federal government funded pupil transportation even 50 percent as much as they funded metropolitan transportation, all these problems would go away," he said.

A parent can dream. But all Seville, the Delran parent who lives one-tenth of a mile under the transportation limit, knows is that he is caught with a sizable tax bill and without a district-provided ride to school for his boys.

"I don't care if you cut some programs that are not so important," he said. "Safety is first. We need a bus."

Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 856-779-3927 or

Inquirer staff writer Kellie Patrick contributed to this article.

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