MontClairVoyant: Montclair Residents Have The Reduced-School-Budget-News Blues


What was your main takeaway from March 20’s Board of School Estimate meeting?

First Night of Spring Thing

With our school budget hurt by Gov. Christie’s tax-hike cap and state-aid underfunding, “The Waste Land” poem should be revised to call March the cruelest month.


You’ve lamented the planned firing of approximately 50 paraprofessionals. What about other sad plans such as laying off three deans and three student assistance counselors, and having Nishuane’s assistant principal work for several schools?

March Mad at This

Reminds me that some school librarians travel between more than one Montclair school — spreading those valued professionals thin, shortchanging students, and getting people hooked on the TV series “Librarians in Cars.”

Also, the proposed job losses will disproportionately affect adults of color and special-needs students. Meanwhile, wasn’t the March 20 meeting (next one March 30 — come on down!) the first for new interim superintendent Dr. Barbara Pinsak?

The Start of the Matter

Yes, and she has a distinguished career as everything from teacher to superintendent in Teaneck, where I grew up. Now I’m in Montclair, which is south of Bergen County yet I can’t get used to saying “y’all.”


On March 16, the State Assembly voted overwhelmingly — yay! — to stop making the worthless PARCC tests a graduation requirement. Will the State Senate follow suit?

PARCC Shadows

I hope so. I also hope Men’s Wearhouse doesn’t file stalking charges against the State Senate.


Christie apparently doesn’t have the right to veto the legislature’s anti-PARCC vote. How does the guv feel about that?


He turned so red he was mistaken for a Montclair Farmers’ Market tomato.


Also on March 20, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen of gerrymandered-into-Upper Montclair infamy dodged an in-person town hall again by holding a telephone “town hall.” Comment?

Man of the (Avoiding) People

Interesting that Rodney still talks “moderate Republican” at times but virtually always votes with Paul Ryan and the rest of the far right. That makes him 1) cowardly 2) hypocritical 3) dog night 4) seasons 5) easy pieces.


Kudos to NJ 11th for Change — now with an impressive 7,500-plus members, many from Montclair — for its work trying to make Frelinghuysen represent his constituents! Are you one of those constituents?

If So, My Condolences

I do live in the 11th district. Tried to yank my Upper Montclair abode two blocks south to the 10th district, but the apartment got snagged on a pump at Watchung Plaza’s overpriced gas station. Plus, I still can’t get used to saying “y’all.”


Speaking of 07043, the Planning Board hasn’t approved that Lorraine Avenue project in/near the Upper Montclair Business District but says OK to virtually every oversized project in the less-affluent 3rd and 4th wards. Socioeconomic bias?

North Over the Fourth

Maybe every board member has a beloved aunt named Lorraine. Or a favorite quiche of that name.

Dave Astor is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.





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  1. 1. The 3rd Ward is Montclair’s most affluent.

    2. The project is in the historic district and was approved – it was the larger new application that didn’t meet our preservation standards.

    3. All the oversized projects were either in downtown redevelopment areas – by definition oversized – or outside of the historic district, & those standards.

    4. The 3rd and 4th Wards voted (twice) overwhelmingly for this Council’s development platform which clearly said since 2012 that it was going to build oversized projects along Bloomfield Avenue.

    The 1st Ward wins some, loses some. Just look at the 36 antennas that will sprout from the single Williams-Sonoma building, all approved by the Zoning Board. The Leach Building rooftop looks vacant by comparison.

  2. Nice to hear from you again, Frank!

    The 3rd Ward might have enough affluent sections to make it the most affluent of the wards overall, but it also has sections which are not as affluent. The 1st Ward has very few less-affluent pockets (my apartment complex is one. 🙂 ).

    I agree — a version of the Lorraine Avenue project was approved before the larger version got nixed. But there have been projects in the 07042 part of town where developers also got “oversizedly” greedy yet were allowed to get away with it (Christopher Court and Valley & Bloom are two examples).

    Some areas labeled “in need of redevelopment” don’t necessarily need redevelopment. It’s a governmental and developer label to pave the way for such things as more developer profits, gentrification, and new ratables for the town (ratables that get at least partly canceled out by the expense of new infrastructure, more students in schools, etc.). And just because a district isn’t designated historic doesn’t mean it has to be crammed to the gills.

    I think the current Township Council was voted in twice for reasons such as its members mostly working well together, being honorable people, and so on — and voters felt they were better than the alternatives (that’s referring chiefly to 2012; there was little opposition in 2016). Not sure the TC was voted in mostly for its overdevelopment bent.

    Sorry for the long reply to your knowledgeable points!

  3. “The 1st Ward has very few less-affluent pockets”

    I don’t know about that. We do have the Mount Hebron and Immaculate Cemeteries.

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