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School Board to Host Open Work Session on Fields

The public will have a chance to offer input as the BOE considers ways to make athletic field improvements for the high schools more than a dream.

With the Jan. 22 failure of the Parsippany Board of Education's fields referendum, the body said it would consider new ways to make so-called fields of dreams a reality for township high schoolers. The process gets its start Thursday at 7 p.m. when the school board hosts a work session for specific discussion on the issue.

The public is invited to attend the special BOE meeting and to offer input on what specific items the town considers necessary for Parsippany High School and Parsippany Hills High School—and how to raise funds for such a project.

The issue has been discussed in the township for at least the past decade. The prospect gained notice in late 2011, when Mayor James Barberio and his Recreation Advisory Committee floated a $4.5 million plan for the fields that would have used Open Space Trust Fund money and required the school board to cede control over the school fields to the township.

The BOE balked at that idea and instead proposed a $7.7 million plan that included artificial turf fields for both schools, along with lights, refurbished tracks, fencing, Americans with Disabilities-compliant bleachers, public restrooms and more. Parsippany voters resoundingly rejected that plan when it appeared as a referendum on Jan. 22.

Shortly after the vote, BOE President Susy Golderer said that the board and citizens would have to come up with creative ways to finance the project, including accepting donations from the public and seeking corporate sponsorship.

The work session will be held Thursday at the BOE building, 292 Parsippany Road.

airman1968 February 04, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Who does the BOE president think she is saying that a solution needs to be made about the fields on how to have to pay for them. If was voted down if she wants the fields she can pay for it herself
Louis Yuliano February 04, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Isn't that their job?
Carl B February 04, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Private funding is the way to go. The taxpayers do not have a stomach for increasing their tax bill. And if enough money cannot be raised privately fix what we have to be workable.
Scott Dean February 04, 2013 at 04:17 PM
I certainly hope the current BOE members will come to these talks with some information as to how much money that was supposed to spent on maintenence and find out where it went? As a sign of good faith there should be immediate action taken regarding the current contract of the contractor who is in charge presently.And please request local contractors for bids or estimates to fix the fences and drainage issues this spring.Since the town feels the importance of its schools have them drop in the prefab restrooms like they have graciously donated in the past.. Bottom line there should be answers already and a plan to improve these fields yesterday.Lets see all the concern that our leaders showed last year and use their abilities to start saving the day..Today
Bob Crawford February 04, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Scott You raise an excellent point when you call upon the BOE to do its homework before the February 21 meeting. Hopefully, the intent of that meeting is not for the BOE to simply sit and listen to ideas that have already been presented to them numerous times before. By now the BOE and even the Superintendent certainly understand the issues and they should be prepared to provide the public with a variety of different options to react to and to provide feedback about At the very least those options should include a list of priority recommendations from the Superintendent that could be undertaken to replace and/or repair athletic facilities as well as a specific implementation time table and a list of funding options, including budget choices, that are available for the BOE to consider. No more sitting back and hoping that the public will pass the Referendum. That "strategy" didn't work and now it's time for the BOE and the Superintendent to roll up their sleeves and do the work they should have begun last August.
Scott Dean February 04, 2013 at 07:19 PM
I really find it hard to believe that not one person has accepted any responsability for these current conditions.Admitting to an oversight/mistake/negligence may just gain some empathy from the public.I personally find it liberating to be able to admit my own faults and learn from them. There should be no fear from many about being reelected to these positions considering the past year of absurdness. How about someone stepping up taking ownership of the mistakes that have been made,maybe just maybe that will get us moving in a positive direction.
Steve February 04, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Why would ANYONE take responsibility for the conditions of these fields, or any other school fields, in Parsippany? OOOH, it's my fault, vote me off the board. OOOH, it's my fault, take away my contract. OOOH it's my fault for not not trying harder to have my fields maintained. We can point fingers all day long-the BOE for not staying on top of things, the contractor for not maintaining the fields (though perhaps the fields are beyond 'repair' at this point and need to be re-done), the principals for not demanding safer facilities, the parents for also not demanding safer facilities, and whoever decided to slash school maintenance budgets. I've been a supporter of turf fields for these schools, but there seem to be too many people in this town who are either apathetic to the situation or so against their taxes being raised that the "what" doesn't matter...just don't raise taxes. I can't change their minds, but The reality is that these fields either need to be completely overhauled, which will take money and time (to allow the grass to develop properly) or they should be turfed. Either way, my kids will be playing on dangerous surfaces (sports and PE) while other Morris County schools have taken care of their facilities.
Scott Dean February 04, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Steve, Exactly my point.The days should be gone of passing the blame and making excuses.Believe it or not the Hills can be improved and made safe and playable if we act soon.The taxpayers will not foot the bill for other's mistakes and I think that is justified and quite frankly should be addressed.My first suggestion would be that the private clubs that use BOE fields for pennies should be looked upon to help the cause,it seems like this town is famous for getting something for nothing..
Beth Bluj February 04, 2013 at 09:00 PM
It was my perception that the townspeople wanted to keep these private clubs off the fields as much as possible - isn't that one of the main reasons the people wanted the BOE to maintain control? What makes anyone think that if these private clubs helped pay for these fields that they would not want to use them more than ever? If you doubt what I am saying - just ask the folks up in Roxbury - I have. All the various booster and private clubs helped pay for their fields - and they all want to use them all the time. Scheduling is difficult at best and the high school does not always have precedent for field time. In my opinion - this is NOT a good option for our high school fields.
Steve February 04, 2013 at 09:31 PM
You're correct Beth, there was concern about the schools not having priority on the fields. School teams should absolutely have priority use of the school fields, and if that's the case we can't expect the clubs to foot a big part of the bill. School fields should also be built/maintained/replaced with tax dollars...the same way classroom space should be built/maintained/replaced by tax dollars. Scott, the point I am making is that we need to get past the reasons for why the fields are a mess and focus on getting them fixed/replaced/turfed and not getting back to this place again. Unfortunately, I no longer have faith that this will be solved in the short term and my kids will end up on these fields with the likelihood of an injury being high. I still say, in the short term the BOE and the town need to consider allowing use of the existing turf fields (if appropriate) and busing the kids there. I understand that it won't work for football, and I understand there will be additional costs for the buses, but it certainly would be better for the soccer and field hockey teams and it's certainly better than an injury. I really hope the BOE figures something out...my confidence, however, is waning.
Steve February 04, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Sorry if that sounded condescending, it wasn't meant to be. I'm just tired of looking at assigning blame and pointing fingers at the BOE when we should focus on moving forward.
Scott Dean February 04, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Beth, sorry I was referring to all the fields except the high school fields that the BOE lends out for nothing. And I know I seem stuck on "the past" so to speak but this is such a gross misuse of funds in my opinion.these fields maintenence has past thru at least 3 different contractors in the last few years and it seems once this contract was handed out to whoever it was never kept up with. Moving forward has happen but realizing where the ball came off the track will help us not to repeat the mistakes.
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 05, 2013 at 11:43 AM
Mayor Barberio states on the Parsippany website he is for "open space". In all respects sir the High School playing fields are already of themselves "open space". NO FUNDS intended for such endeavors should be used for this money. If Parsippany has 4.5 million lets acquire more "wooded lots" and support bio-diversity in the area. Having the township take over the school playing fields implies that the Board of Education is not capable; is not doing their job or that "private contractors" are presently employed maintaining the property. The township can't even keep up with the tremendous amounts of trash/litter generated by our business sector in the township, so sounds like things will get worse all round except for the recipients of the 4.5 million for a playing field. SOUNDS BAD AND NOT WHOLESOME TO THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE.
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 05, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Looking at the photos of the playing field it is obvious that; 1. the fences are totally neglected. 2. Ground water; Parsippany which used to be giant lake Passaic and the Indians called, place where the rivers wind through the valley would of course have ground waters 3. Lawns that look depleted from over cutting and fertilization depraving the soil of its health 4. Goose dropping, one must ask how come the photographer chose the dropping from goose and not the trash from the humans, which is present at the fields? Parsippany should ask some educated college people whom know about environmental and social issues not contractors who only wish to make money by any means possible.
Carol M. February 05, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Umm, Mr Homyak, I think your pause button may be stuck; hit fast forward or try refresh.
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 05, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Taxes for wanna be professional ball players; no way. Taxes are necessary but in the USA what we get for them is not in keeping with a democracy. Tax referendums for sport stadiums, for teams that have more money than god is a racket. This Parsippany issue is a microcosm of that reality. Why doesn't Parsippany ask the NY/NJ Giants to help out?
Beth Bluj February 05, 2013 at 12:54 PM
The reason I chose the goose droppings is to show that the geese hang out on the field regularly and they make a mess on the playing area. Garbage is not an issue at the Hills, and if you do see garbage its usually by a trash can that is filled to the brim that has not been emptied. Grass, no matter how well maintained, cannot withstand multi use by PE and all the various sports teams and should not be considered a viable option in this instance.
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 05, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Life itself my friend is something from nothing; your attitude of judgement will bring no hope no miracle. Lets turn our playing fields into farm fields..3 strikes and our out at the "old ball game". This lesson has harsh repercussions when applied to life itself. How many strikes did Wall Street Bankers get??
Beth Bluj February 05, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Maybe the BOE should put this information on their website under 'upcoming events'
Steve February 05, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Sure would be nice if the PTA's for each school sent something out to everyone too. Since not everyone reads the Patch or looks at the BOE site.
Beth Bluj February 20, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Hi Natalie and thank you for posting this again. I hope there is a large turnout and that the BOE is going to present some real solutions to address the unsafe conditions which plague both high school fields.
Ed S February 21, 2013 at 01:05 AM
I wish the Superintendent and BOE would spend the same amount of time they have spent on the athletic fields on reducing class sizes, modernizing the classrooms, and getting our academic standards up to the top in the state. Efforts in these academic areas will increase home values in our community.
Mike February 21, 2013 at 03:11 AM
Instead of giving the cops those large payouts take that money and put it towards the fields. Don't use the sick days lose them. You figure that with Dezenzo and the next 10-12 that will be getting that large payout should come to almost five million dollars. Solution solved.
Scott Dean February 21, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Did receive an e mail last night from the district informing us about the meeting tonight about the field concerns at 9:30 pm.
Scott Dean February 22, 2013 at 02:36 AM
Hats off to the present BOE and all the members for providing the Parsippany residents with the open forum which I attended tonight.I believe there were many great ideas for a future with better conditions for all the kids.

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