Thursday, February 23, 2017


The Board of Education is expected to boost its tuition payments for South Orange/Maplewood students to attend out-of-district schools by 25% in the 2017-2018 school year, according to recent budget documents.

That marks a sharp increase in the money paid to other schools to teach our students. The district funded 199 students for out-of-district education in 2016, according to data provided through an Open Public Records Act request. That cost us $11.9 million, or about $60,000 per student.

The per-student payments for out-of-district tuition is well above the $18,000 per student spent on those that attend class in district schools. 

That is the latest in a continued increase in such numbers dating back to 2013 when 156 student went elsewhere. That rose to 180 in 2014, and 191 in 2015. 

District Business Administrator Paul Roth, during his budget presentation on Jan. 30, estimated the district would pay for about 250 students to go outside the district in 2017-2018. No specific monetary estimate has been made, but it is likely to boost the budget significantly.

The out-of-district tuition is paid for a variety of reasons, ranging from vocational education to special education and other mandated services. 

Asked to provide more specifics, Roth sent this email to several weeks ago:

To help clarify the information contained in the response to your OPRA request, tuition costs cover students receiving special education and 504 services out of district as well as students attending Vo-Tech schools. Since much of this information regards our students I cannot get more specific. The amounts listed are actual prior year expenditures and range in the overall cost do amount into the millions.

When we asked last week for further explanation of the expected increase and other details of how the money is used and why the district did not respond. 

One indication of where the money goes was found in a resolution the board approved on Jan. 30 for nearly $318,000 worth of outside tuition. 

See that resolution and the schools receiving the funding below:


From Maplewood Police:

February 18, 2017; Simple Assault, At approximately 10 PM officers responded to a report of an individual on the train tracks.  Upon their arrival, they discovered several groups of juveniles in the area of the train station and Memorial Park.  A 17 year old was taken into custody for assaulting another juvenile.

February 18, 2017; Simple Assault, At approximately 10:45 PM officers were in the area of Baker St when they observed 20 year old Jamesson Archille of Maplewood assault a juvenile male.  He was taken into custody and charged with simple assault.

February 13, 2017; Burglary; During the daytime hours, entry was forced to a home on  20’s block of Courter Ave.  At the time of the report it was undetermined what the proceeds were.

February 15, 2017: Shoplifting; At approximately 2:20 PM a male entered the CVS on Valley St and placed several items in his pants before leaving.  The theft was discovered the next day and reported to the police department.

February 17, 2017; Burglary; Sometime during the previous month, entry was forced to a home on Manley Terr.  A small amount of cash and jewelry were reported stolen.

February 18, 2017; Burglary; Sometime over the previous five days, entry was forced to a  vacant home on Harding St.  A hot water heater and cooper pipes were reportedly stolen from the home.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Maplewood Township is implementing tighter safety requirements for the rebuilding of the portion of the Avalon Bay project recently destroyed by fire, including "fire watchers" to be hired by the developer and a ban on propane heaters that were in place when the fire occurred.

Mayor Vic Deluca announced the new restrictions during Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting. 

While he said the Essex County Prosecutor's Office had not determined a cause for the six-alarm blaze that struck on Feb. 4 and destroyed the final portion of the 235-unit complex, Deluca said propane heaters were in use and would no longer be allowed. 

He also said the Township will ask that developers of other similar projects in town also not use such heaters.

The mayor added that the reconstruction of the destroyed portion will begin in March, with the completed project likely finished by the end of 2017.

See his entire update below:


For the sixth year in a row, Maplewoodstock will provide alcohol sales through an enclosed beer garden after the Township Committee on Tuesday approved such sales.

The TC voted, 4-1, in favor of the request by event organizers Drew Dix and Gary Shippy. TC Member India Larrier, who had regularly opposed the sales in the past, was the lone vote against it.

See the presentation by the organizers below:

"While I do support Maplewoodstock," Larrier said. She later added, "I am still continuing to believe that alcohol does not belong in our parks."

TC Member Nancy Adams said she supports the sales, but did caution that there had been some past clean-up problems that she hoped would be improved.

Maplewoodstock, which is in its 14th year, is set for the weekend of July 8 and 9.


10:15 am – 11:15 am  
Hilton Branch – It’s not just for your kids! Here’s your chance to learn about programming in a   relaxed and non-intimidating setting.  See what all the buzz is about: find out how much fun hands-on coding can be.  Open to new and returning participants. Babes in arms ok.  Registration is required. Go to

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Tonight's Township Committee meeting has a pretty busy agenda.

Along with a promised update on the Avalon Bay Update, the TC will consider the annual application for a beer garden at Maplewoodstock, as well as discuss possible changes to the leaf blower ban and increased parking and traffic ticket fines.

See the entire agenda HERE. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 574 Valley St.

There is always public comment as well, where you can speak up, ask a question, give them a piece of your mind or just a pat on the back.

Remember, they work for you! 


A second candidate has thrown a hat into the Township Committee Democratic primary race, assuring there will be at least two challengers seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat being vacated by TC Member India Larrier, who has said she will not run for re-election.

Carla Caraballo, a seven-year Maplewood resident, is also the second gay candidate to publicly declare for the Democratic nomination for Township Committee. In a letter to the Maplewood Democratic Committee, Caraballo stated she is a U.S. Air Force Reserve flight nurse and currently working as a licensed practical nurse.

As a resident of Jacoby Street, she has also been involved in the Neighborhood Watch Program there since 2012.

See her candidacy letter HERE.

Caraballo is also in a same sex marriage with her long-time wife and the mother of two and grandmother of two.

She joins gay activist and consultant Dean Dafis, who tossed his hat into the primary race two weeks ago. 

Also running is Mayor Vic Deluca, who is seeking re-election to the seat he has held since 2009.

MDC Chairman Ian Grodman said the committee will continue to accept nominations for the primary endorsement through Feb. 27.

On the Republican side, former TC candidate Mike Summersgill has said he plans to seek the Republican nomination once again in 2017. He lost his bid in the 2016 general election against Democrat Frank McGehee.

Candidates seeking the Democratic or Republican primary nominations can submit their paperwork until April 3. The primary is set for June 6.


Maplewood has continued to promote the rights of all residents, from gays to immigrants to minorities of all types.

The most recent was the declaration of the Township as a "welcoming community," a clear defense against federal efforts to prosecute immigrants in our community. 

This past week, another strong supportive move was seen in Maplewood Village as the Township raised a banner not only supporting Black History Month, but declaring that "Black Lives Matter," clear support for the positive racial equality movement that some on the right have sought to demonize.