Cranford takes next step in ‘reimagining’ schools

CRANFORD, N.J. — The public school district’s administrative officials are forming the new Referendum Exploration Steering Committee to prepare a ballot initiative to determine possible financing for a series of proposed upgrades, from door replacements to full-day kindergarten, according to an announcement posted on the district’s website.

Superintendent Scott Rubin posted a call for volunteers for the committee on the website in mid-September, asking for 25 to 30 residents “who comprehensively represent the collective perspectives, opinions, concerns, and desires for the Cranford schools — parents/guardians, teachers, support staff, administrators, community members, and students.”

Rubin asked that those wishing to be on the steering committee apply by Sept. 24, with the first of three to four evening work sessions scheduled to start in October and continue into December.

The panel is essentially the latest step in Rubin’s year-old “Reimagining Plan” proposal, which has triggered approximately 20 townshipwide meetings and discussion of 10 scenarios for restructuring the district’s system among eight buildings.

A spring survey of 1,800 households narrowed those proposals to two and, according to Rubin’s post, the most recent effort is to determine priorities for items such as: full-day kindergarten; increased educational support spaces; science lab upgrades at Cranford High School; modernization of library and multimedia centers to support 21st-century STEM programs; technology upgrades; enhanced performing arts spaces; improved accessibility and options; installation of air conditioning in gyms, cafeterias and performing arts spaces; electrical service upgrades, interior door and window replacements, including hardware; and repaving, masonry and concrete repairs.

Appointments to the committee are to “be based on ensuring full representation of the community, geographically and ideologically, with preference given to those who are in leadership positions and those actively involved in our community,” Rubin stated on the website, adding, that “any individuals who are not selected for the steering committee will still have additional opportunities to participate in the process, as will the community at large.”