Saddle River News

Copola Donation Causes Rift with Town

Saddle River Municipal Building

Wandell School Gift is Seen as a Disagreement with the Town

A simple gift has now divided the people of Saddle River. On June 20th, 2016 the Mayor and his coalition on the Town Council passed 4-3 (with Mayor Al Kurpis being the tiebreaker vote) a resolution that would grant the Wandell School a cupola as a gift.

A cupola – a small dome adorning on top of a roof – would cost the town taxpayers $20,000. The gift is intended to celebrate the Wandell School‘s centennial and is planned to built prior to the 2016-2017 school year.

While some people including the Home and School Association (HSA) may agree with the gift, many others believed the cupola is a huge waste of money considering the Wandell School has other issues to deal with and the school centennial is not even the year of the gift.

The HSA went to the mayor, Al Kurpis for the gift. The Mayor then only went to his selected members on the council (the ones he support and talks to fequently) and vetted the members before presenting to the general council.

The issue was according to opposition members Paul Schulstad and Corrine Kerner – who are both currently Wandell School parents – the gift proposal was not event disclosed to them until 7 hours prior to the June 20th council meeting despite the Mayor knowing and sharing this with others 6 days prior. The gift was passed split 3-3 and then decided by the Mayor as the tie-breaker.

Paul and Corrine also cite the following issues with the gift including the cost compared with budget deficients with the school currently, the none accuracy of the year of the centennial celebration and the budget itself for the gift – where is it coming from?

“Setting aside the fact that Wandell centennial gala has been schedule well in advance, my issue is that the $20,000 cupola to improve the school’s roofline when the roof is schedule to be replaced and at the same time the school is reducing teachers, combining classes and operating under a very tight budget does not seem particularly appropriate to me”, says Corrien Kerner.

Many residents seem upset with the gift and it came up as a debated discussed at the following HSA meeting in town. Many parents were dismayed to hear the gift while their children’s classes were being combined due to budget cuts.

To learn more this issue, follow us as we cover the progress of this gift as well as  contact Mayor Kurpis at drkurpis@saddleriver.org or other members of the council.

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