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Results: Voters Reject Artificial Turf Plan

Residents reject Board of Education's plan to use $990K in surplus funds to install a new field.

A new artificial turf surface and drainage system won't be installed at the football field after voters rejected the plan by a 186-vote margin on Tuesday.

The Board of Education asked voters for permission to install the field with up to $990,000 from a surplus gained by switching insurance carriers in July.

Poll results showed 1,357 voters were against the turf field while 1,171 voters were in favor.

The Board of Education unanimously supported the plan, saying the district eventually needed to improve the field regardless of the outcome of the vote and that installing artificial turf was the best choice.

People on both sides felt strongly about the issue, with supporters saying artificial turf would be safer, used more and would cost less than a grass field in the long run due to lower maintenance costs and lower transportation costs because high school athletes would not need to be bused to other fields as often.

Some residents said the grass field could have been maintained for less than the cost of installing artificial turf, and that they would have rather seen the surplus used on other projects.

The question involved a portion of a $1.5 million surplus that was created when the district got a better offer for health insurance coverage and then switched comanies.

Supporters of the project gathered in the lobby of the township municipal building Tuesday around 9 p.m. After the votes were tallied, they said they were disappointed with the results and attributed the failure to voters who did not understand the merits of the plan.

"We're just very disappointed for the kids in the community," Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried said. He said the field affects all students in the district.

Board of Education President Dr. Karen Cortellino also said she was disappointed. She said the district did a good job of presenting its case for artificial turf and that parent groups rallied support.

In April, voters approved the budget 1,923-1,217.

Bob September 30, 2011 at 06:58 PM
Max- You really are one of the most nasty, cutting, and abusive people I have "not seen" in a very very long time. Not seen because you hide behind your computer and make these insulting statements to these people. Not seen because I didn't see you at the meeting I attended to learn all of the information made available prior to voting. If you had actually read the information passed out and maybe even attended one of the information meetings held all over town prior to the vote, maybe just maybe the opinions you voiced other than the abuse you have slung here would mean something. Unfortunately it is quite clear you did not. This was a one time opportunity and it was money that could not be spent on hiring or hiring back people. As I understand it, thoses were the rules that the BOE had to abide by. As for the turf the valley people raising more money, have you just landed here from another planet? The economy has not exactly been favorable in the last few years for people to open up their pocket book and donate in large numbers.
Bob September 30, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Additionally Max-If you had attended anything in the past, then you would already know that the BOE had said no to any large business donation who wanted to have naming rights. So here's a question: would you kindly read and listen to all of the information next time PLEASE? Oh yes, one more thing, please do me a favor...next time there is a public meeting to calmly learn and discuss something like this that obviously has alot of moving parts to it, please do me a favor and attend. Furthermore, when you do, please make sure that you stand up and properly introduce yourself so that I can swiftly drag you outside and deliver my own message which where I come from is a lot more direct than hiding like a scared little child behind a computer and chastising and abusing people after the vote so you can feel better about your need to provide beatings to people who truely don't deserve it.
Bob September 30, 2011 at 07:05 PM
One last thing there “MAX”… I will no longer be responding to any of this including anything your EGO needs to fight back with to make yourself feel like you won the fight. You’re not worth it; please do us all a favor and shove yourself back into the locker you were forced into as a kid because in my humble opinion what had to have been done to you was not bullying it was deserved. You on the other hand are the most bully like person I have ever met, but more of a chicken if you as me because you hide in the shadows...oh sorry but I find myself repeating myself you poor, poor misguided angry immature pathetic PUNK! Talk to the H-A-N-D…BYE!!
Bob September 30, 2011 at 07:13 PM
With all respect, and to the rest of the people on this patch...sod has been attempted regularly since the early 90's (about 1991 as I recall) and has failed to stand up do to the extreme use and non-rest that field receives almost all calendar year long. Please re-consider your position and let's find a way to get this done. Thank you
Maxim Sapozhnikov September 30, 2011 at 07:20 PM
No last name. No picture. Another fake identity.
scott v September 30, 2011 at 09:13 PM
While I was a supporter of the Turf initiative, I can respect the fact that the public had their say and the referendum failed. What I don't understand are the comments like: lets get a private company to pay for it; lets use the money to bring back our janitors; etc; lets let the parents of the kids who play sports worry about the condition of the field; the teachers should get their old benefits back etc. Not sure those comments are reflective of the real world in which we live in. Corporations(including fortune 500 companies with financial resources) routinely look to outsource services, change benefit plans and ask for their employees to do more for less. Should the BD of ED be faulted for doing the same? If the roof were to leak in the woods classroom should we look to see how many students take woods before fixing it? At the end of the day, the condition of this field is deplorable. As Mr. Grant mentions, the 5 or 6 years of discussion on this subject has gotten us nowhere. There are major problems with this field and they need to be addressed. The board closed this field to practices and the band for the summer months in hopes that it would hold up for the fall season.
scott v September 30, 2011 at 09:13 PM
continued: Well we are 3 weeks into the season and the grass is gone in many spots and we are down to the dirt and rocks. You may or may not have children who play sports but hopefully you all agree that a safe playing environment has to be provided to those who do. If the next steps in the process are to strip the field down, fix the drainage issues and then build back up with the top surface being grass/sod then I hope you all understand there will be a cost associated with doing this. Include the possibility of having to rent fields in another town and absorb the cost of additional busing until the grass or sod takes hold. Remember that while it won’t cost $990,000 it wont be free! I encourage all of you who think the condition of the field is fine to attend tonight’s night’s home. We can sit together cross our fingers that no one gets hurt and watch dedicated student athletes(players/cheerleaders) as well as award wining band members compete on behalf of their school and community
scott v September 30, 2011 at 09:16 PM
tonight's home game starts at 7pm
Dan Grant September 30, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Scott, well put. Sometimes it takes the leadership of the Township to step up to the plate. This measure came close and while it isn't certain, it could be that the endorsement of the Township Committee could have helped. They have an understanding of the need and understand the financing of this project. It may be that they were not in favor or it may be that they didn't know which way the wind was blowing so they wouldn't express themselves. This wasn't just about a football field and never was. It is also about a value in the community and the busing and use of Camp Dawson which is Township owned. I heard some comments from a Committee person that we should have not done Dawson but put the money into the Field at the High School. Given the use at Dawson, that is just silly. I couldn't even get an agreement to help fund some of the cost at the High School when I was on the Committee and this project should have been done at that time. I suspect this is a dead issue for quite a while now and that is the shame of it but you are right something will have to be done and that something will have a cost to it.
Steven L. October 01, 2011 at 12:31 AM
This is a good opportunity to reduce government spending and replace it with private enterprise. Business people can build turf fields and run athletic programs better and cheaper than governmental agencies. Just like my daughter and her friends compete in gymnastics at places like Northstars, there is no reason why all after school athletic programs can't be run privately, with the costs paid by the participants. Our civic organizations would be glad to help those who need financial assistance. Eliminate all non-classroom activities, reduce taxes, and turn over the extra-curriculars to the private sector.
Craig Chapman October 01, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Steven L.....now you are talking. I have been advocating privatizing all sorts of local, state and federal functions for 20 years.
Steven L. October 01, 2011 at 03:11 AM
Thanks Craig. You've been doing great work with Rugby for years, so you know that my comments about getting the Board of Education out of the athletics and extra-curricular business isn't a criticism of athletics or marching band. It's a criticism of government trying to do too many things and doing them poorly. Can you imagine if you had just a tiny fraction of the amount that is spent on sports to run a sports program privately? Combine that with the private donations you already work hard to raise, add user fees from parents who pay less taxes because the Board of Ed is doing less, and you would offer more for less.
Cynthia October 01, 2011 at 04:20 AM
Boy, Mr Grant, you and Scott have some good points. In fact, why would the town council not support this as it surely benefitted the district? Could you imagine the good will created by that? that, alone, might turn the vote positive. I am sure they read the numbers and read about the larger initial cost for turf, but the lower 10 year cost, including saving for replacement. So where were they? Don't some of them have children in our schools? Also, I was wondering where organizations like the teachers union was on this. Did they have a stand? What did teachers do? did they vote or not? How about Montville Soccer? Did they take a stand? I thought it was me, but I saw nothing. Almost like 'oh let those people get into trouble with this, I ain't sticking m neck out! You, Mr. Grant, if you are a councilman, how would you handle this? would you speak publicly at meetings that the project had your support or would you keep it to yourself????? thank you.
Jonathan October 01, 2011 at 10:43 AM
f/y/i - Last night the ambulance took away a Mount Olive player who got hurt on our football field.
Craig Chapman October 01, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Thanks for the compliment. Most people are mired in a, "this is the way we have always done it", type mind set. We have to challenge the status quo on many levels. My dear departed friend and Montville resident John Gambal was fond of quoting Einstein who I believe is credited with saying, " you can't solve a problem with the thinking that created it". Boy if Trenton and Washington only listened to me more!
Dan Grant October 01, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Actually Cynthia, 6 years ago I was on the Committee and tried to promote a plan of shared expenses for the field with the Township, The Board of Ed and private contributions which was the same way we did Light the Valley and Field of Dreams and other joint projects with the Board of Education. It was shot down and so was I LOL but that doesn't make it a bad idea. It was less money and the plan was to do both the Track and the Field. BTW I haven't had kids in the system for 25 years. Community Leaders ought to speak out on the issues that come up.
Cynthia October 01, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Brilliant, Steven L. Had you been to the information meetings or investigated yourself you WOULD know that Ernie's facts above are wrong and the ONES our SHOULD BE TRUSTED BECAUSE HE IS ONE OF THE BEST IN NEW JERSEY superintendent put together data which showed that with the continued costs of busing kids that use the field to Dawson, re-sodding, seeding the field, that the costs year to year are MORE OVER 10 YEARS THAN TURF(EVEN INCLUDING THE SAVING FOR ULTIMATE REPLACEMENT OF THE TOP OF THE TURF IN 8-10 YEARS). So, you would have spent more up front, and paid less over time. BUT the money was available because of a saving caused by changing carriers. GUESS WHERE THE SAVED DOLLARS GO?????????????? Uh huh, back to the classroom. How could you not see this? Oh, that's right only some of us took the time and trusted. Simple concept for some KNOW-IT-ALL non-researching citizens. PEOPLE, LET"S DO OUR HOMEWORK AND JOIN TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY AND SUPPORT IDEAS THAT ARE GOING TO WORK AND NOT BASH THEM BECAUSE THE ECONOMY IS BAD AND IT'S AFFECTING OUR LIVES. GIVE GOOD PEOPLE IN CHARGE A CHANCE, THEY MAY BE ACTUALLY TRYING TO HELP NOT LIKE THE BUMS IN TRENTON OR WASHINGTON. GO TO A MEETING, CALL THE SUPERINTENDENT. BUT DON'T JUST THROW AWAY THE NEXT GOOD IDEA FOR REASONS OTHER THAN THE IDEA. AND BY ALL MEANS, DON'T LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST PLAIN NEGATIVE HERE LIKE MAX, MARK, ERNIE, AND DON'T GO OUT A ACTUALLY TRY TO SEE ALL SIDES OF AN ISSUE. THANK YOU.
Cynthia October 01, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Jonathan, we can only hope the injury was not caused by the bad conditions on the field. I do not have a child even remotely close to football or marching band. I would appreciate anyone who is in the know letting us know. Out of curiosity I will go to see the field, although it is too late. If there are injuries caused by this field all those that selfishly voted this down without a complete understanding of the reasons why (and most importantly, who should have just trusted the powers that be that they needed this and wouldn't have gone through with this now unless they felt so desperate) who will probably also get upset by the increased insurance premiums because of field lawsuits (but not care about the kids that get hurt; they have already voted that opinion), should search their souls. Personally, I am sickened by the lack of concern for these kids and the lack of trust for the people that recommended this. It was nice of Patch to run an article about the Dog Park. Looks like a nice facility. I don't own a dog. How much did that $$$$ cost? What about Senior House. I don't have a senior. HOW MUCH did these 2 projects cost for a tiny sector of our town? I am proud to say I supported both. Not because I have either BUT because this is a COMMUNITY. WE ALL LIVE TOGETHER. Somehow, the way the tide turns, if you're a kid around here, all of a sudden, it doesn't matter. Play in mud, hurt yourself, you kids want too much. Very sad.
Michael Palma October 01, 2011 at 04:17 PM
I just thought people might be interested in knowing that today's marching band competition was moved indoors an hour ago due to the dangerous condition of the muddy field.
Steven L. October 01, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Michael, the real question is why is the Board of Education even involved in marching band competitions? Stick to your mandate of providing an outstanding classroom education and leave the extra-curriculars to the private sector.
Lauren Palma October 01, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Mr. L, I graduated from MTHS last year and am currently a freshman in the Honors Program at University of Delaware. In high school, I was also a member of the marching band for four years. From my experience with the marching band, I can guarantee that the Board of Education has nothing to do with the fact the competition was moved inside. As a former band parent, Mr. Palma posted that comment to let everyone know of the disservice that is being done not only to the Montville band, but also to the twelve other bands who are competing today by having the competition inside. I know how important this competition is to the band as a fund raising event, especially since our funding from the town was cut when the budget failed two years ago. By having the competition moved inside, the revenue that band will receive will be drastically cut. I completely agree that the Board of Education should be held to providing outstanding classroom education for Montville Studends. However, I believe the ultimate goal should be to help students in their journey to get into their dream college. I owe my success in the college application process not only to my academic success but to my participation in extra-curriculars as well. As drum major of the band for two years, I had the leadership experience colleges are looking for when reading through applications. It is these activities that set students who are very active apart from those who focus solely on their grades.
Michael Palma October 01, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Steven, please be aware that my involvement with this competition is that I will be volunteering my services as the announcer. It's something I've done for 3 years dating back to when my daughter was a band member and has absolutely nothing to do with my being on the Board. Also, in the interest of fairness, I would ask you and everyone else who voted no to leave your house this very minute and walk on the field. I just did and I assure you that the middle of the field is virtually impossible to even walk on, much less march on. It is worse than walking on ice because it's just as slippery and the dirt gives way when you step on it. Even walking flatfooted is difficult. Trying to hold the competition outside would have inevitably resulted either in injury or at the very least, damage to instruments caused by children falling. Please walk the field right now and you will understand that this is about safety and necessity, not an elite group of individuals looking for a luxury item.
Steven L. October 01, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Ms. Palma, I wasn't being clear. I was trying to say, consistent with my earlier postings, that through the Board of Education, the schools should not be involved with marching band, football, or any such non-classroom extra-curricular activities. These things, if desired by parents, should be provided by private vendors just as my family does with gymnastics and Northstars. The schools should stick with the classroom. In my opinion, they've gone way beyond their mandate of providing education, and should instead focus on the intellectual skills that students require to be successful in an increasingly competitive world. While marching band and football, etc., are very useful and beneficial, such extra-curricular activities should be provided through parents and private enterprise, and not requiring taxpayers to foot the bill.
Steven L. October 01, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Mr. Palma, I meant you no disrespect. For the record, I voted in favor of the turf. As long as the schools are going to provide non-classroom extra-curriculars, which I oppose, they should have a safe and efficient place in which to provide them. The whole focus of my discussion has been to to argue for the elimination of the schools involvement with non-classroom activities and to provide more classroom courses that would better prepare students for the challenges they face in the increasingly competitive work environment of the 21st century.
Cynthia October 02, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Steven L., I am glad to hear your opinions about who should pay for what. If you feel this way, then try to move the idea forward. However, as extra-curricular activities help to build the person who graduates, and all school districts provide them because they, in fact want to graduate well rounded students, I am not so sure of the soundness of the idea. If we cut our band, sports, what's next? Art? Wood shop? Anything but math, science, or english? Does world language fall under your exemptions? REGARDLESS and WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, our CURRENT system does call for these activities to be paid for by the district less an activity fee paid by the parents of the students. So, currently we have a field and these kids right here, right now deserve to be on it. What are we gonna do about fixing it? PS. I dont want to pay for the dog park, the senior center, or the police station or parks to be maintained. My child is older and doesnt use the latter. Can we, therefore, add exemptions to our tax bill or a use tax to those who use these and other facilities so they pay for it and I don't? I have never had a fire. How about having only people who have fires pay for the use of the equipment? Police? With all due respect, I think the current system is fine, but that is not the debate, anyway. The debate is that we had a golden opportunity to fix the field, given that our current system calls for he schools to pay for it's use. We blew it! Now, how do we fix it?
Steven L. October 02, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Cynthia, I beg to differ. No one DESERVES to be on a field. Our schools have taken a major detour away from their primary mission of providing an education that prepares students for life in an increasingly competitive environment. The answer is to stop. End taxpayer funded sports, marching band, and other non-classroom extra-curricular activities. Leave those things to the private sector to determine if demand is there. Lots of kids attend privately funded gymnastics at places like Northstars in Boonton. In Randolph there is an entire business park that has privately funded indoor soccer/lacrosse, skating, hockey, cheerleading, gymnastics, etc. If there is a demand, then the private sector will quickly meet it. We need to rid ourselves of the notion that government/taxpayers must fund everything. Particularly at a time when many of us are paying over 20% of our take home pay in property taxes, we simply can not afford to continue providing non-classroom activities at taxpayer expense. And schools who are constrained by a 2% cap, that is eaten away by increases in health care and salaries, are going to continue to be squeezed in their ability to meet their obligation to fund the core competencies. The answer is to get out of the athletic and extra-curricular business, stick to the classroom, and let the private sector handle demand for athletics, etc., if demand is there.
George Drexl October 02, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Steven L., You certainly have a lot to say about what people deserve and what they don't. When did you elect yourself the resident authority on democracy. Do you have any experience or involvement in any type of government?? If you do I would like to know what it is so I can review your track record and if you don't I would be just as eager to know your full name so that I know who not to vote for in any future election of any type. You keep harping about gymnastics and Northstars costing you money. Well I'm sorry but this is something you decided to do for your children since I don't believe the high school has this program. If they did would you feel differently that many of us help pay for that without involvement of our own children?? Please list all the classes and programs your children are involved in and give the rest of us the opportunity to review if we feel they deserve participation based on our families interest or involvement. If you don't like the way our school system works then I for one emplore you to pack up and move where your idea's have been implimented.....good luck with that
Steven L. October 02, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Mr. Drexl, My wife and I voted for the turf, though our kids go to private schools. We don't have a dog in this fight. You and the others can continue doing things the same way (remember Einstein's definition of insanity) while expecting a different result, but the fact is that voters just rejected a very reasonable plan for turf, and they've voted down two out of the past three school budgets, IIRC. Clearly, the point of resistance has been met. Education is the school's basic mandate. Students need to be prepared, with greater classroom emphasis, for a much more competitive work world today. Athletics, while nice and valuable, cannot continue to be funded by our taxpayers who have clearly and repeatedly indicated their displeasure. You may not like that, but don't blame the messenger. This pattern is being repeated all over. Local property taxes have exceeded the public's willingness and ability to pay. Something has to give. My point is that classroom education needs to be the priority for the sake of children's futures, and the future of our country. Emphasis needs to be placed there, and classroom programs expanded. Unfortunately athletics, marching band, and other extra-curriculars will have to be cut. The private sector will meet the demand if it exists. I've said my piece. You don't have to agree, but don't be surprised and unprepared when the inevitable arrives. These programs are going to get cut. It's just a matter of when.
Steven L. October 02, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Mr. Drexl, Additionally, I wasn't "harping" about Northstars. I was pointing out that many parents pay for programs that the schools do not offer. There is no reason to believe it would be any different with football, marching band, cheerleading, and the rest when the schools can longer provide them because voters keep rejecting the budgets. The businesses I mentioned in Randolph have sprung up to meet the demand.
George Drexl October 02, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Steven L., Still not confident enough to reveal your name huh??....not surprised. Don't be surprised that your twisted outlook of what is important across the board never comes to pass. Although the turf was voted down I seriously doubt that the majority of the public feels as you do regarding everything except "classroom" activities and programs...there are too many of us that have children involved in these and as Ms. Palma pointed out, those of us who have college students know for a fact that these activities and programs helped get them into the college of their choice along with academics. You state that your children go to private school.....do they have sports and other programs outside the classroom?? I know they do and you pay for them as well. Do you whine to them also and ask for pro-rated tuition or do you suck it up because you think your children are getting something better educationally there?? I know many people who have sent their kids to private schools specifically because of sports and the like and for the most part the academic advantages are minimal. As far as ISP goes, this facility is doing well largely due to club teams and off season play of sports that ARE offered in our school system. Their main participants include lacrosse, baseball, softball, soccer......which of these are not offered by MTHS or the other schools in our and virtually any other district?? Again I invite you to moved where ever the general public agrees with you.

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