Good things are happening at North Warren Regional High School, according to Hardwick Mayor Chris Jacksic, and he thinks improved communication between the school district and the township would benefit all parties.
“We have kids that are getting awards,” Jacksic said at the May 2nd Township Committee meeting, a meeting attended by North Warren Superintendent Jeanene Dutt. “How many of our kids get into top colleges? People want to know that kids can get good education here.”
Dutt was at the Hardwick meeting to update committee members on the state of the regional middle school and high school district, particularly in light of recent substantial cuts in state aid. The first-year superintendent was also using the visit to introduce herself to the committee.
In addition to Hardwick, Dutt has said she plans to visit the governing bodies of all four member municipalities of the district, which include Blairstown, Frelinghuysen and Knowlton.
Jacksic said that he has been impressed with the stories of students who have worked to earn scholarships to major colleges and universities.
“There are a lot of stories of people struggling and overcoming” the costs of college, Jacksic said.
“The community would love to see those struggling stories,” Jacksic said. “Maybe a kid that doesn’t have a lot, who worked really, really hard and was able to get into a good college. We should highlight those types of achievements.”
Dutt agreed, saying the acceptance rates to college can be traced back to the faculty and other sources of support, particularly with how members of the community offer many opportunities for volunteer service, which is an increasingly more important component of college admissions.
In the meantime, Dutt explained how the district had to confront a drop of $800,000 in state aid. Among the reasons for the cut, she said, are declining enrollment and smaller numbers of special education students and other at-risk students.
“So how do we do that? It takes a lot of effort to do that, a lot of creative budgeting solutions,” Dutt said. “We’ve done a lot with grant money. We have applied for every possible grant that the district can apply for. And we’ve been successful in in gaining most of that.”
Dutt said the district was able to meet budget obligations without cutting staff. Big expenses loom, however. She said work to repair boilers in the school will cost at least $800,000, and that it is not work that can be put off much longer.
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.
Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.
Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.
Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.