ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - On February 26, 2014, the mayor and council had their monthly meeting. The first new order of business involved Atlantic Highlands Board of Education President Saranne Weimer introducing Dr. Susan Compton, the Tri-District Superintendent of Schools for Atlantic Highlands and Highlands Elementary, and Henry Hudson Regional School. She is an administrator of thirty years originally from Lexington, Kentucky who earned her doctoral from the University of Kentucky. She started her post this past September, and called her transition to our district a “culture change, but a great opportunity.” She aims to raise the enrollment rate of the tri-district schools by proving to parents that a private school is not necessary for their child to attend the top universities in the country such as Harvard and Princeton.
All three schools are doing great financially. Atlantic Highlands was given new grants, and they are getting a new playground as well. Attendance has been doing quite well for all three schools, although there has been a slight drop in students at Henry Hudson Regional, but that is no fault of the school. Many families had to tragically leave the town and take their children out of enrollment due to Hurricane Sandy, the effects still being felt there. She aims to meet with all three board chairs of the schools hoping to make all three schools more similar and to keep in contact with each other more often, but the funding is the main problem. She sees much potential in science and especially math, saying “math is the key.” She aims to give students all kinds of opportunities. She seeks to add more advanced placement courses and interact more with Monmouth University. Last but not least, she wants to give children with special needs the education they deserve, the same as everyone else.
Besides the introduction of Dr. Compton, a significant amount of time of the meeting was dedicated to the status of the town harbor. While there is not much activity going on due to the weather, the scenery was highly discussed. The bulkhead project will start in the spring. The dumpster behind On the Deck has been described as “an eyesore,” and new bathrooms are scheduled to be built, but the budget is very tight and there has been difficulty with FEMA due to the discussion of the height level. The harbor’s tugboat was discussed, with its repairs being favored compared to spending between $109,000-$110,000 dollars for a new one.
Environmental issues were also highly discussed. The trail was talked about and so were the parks. An expanded scope of 21 million dollars for additional engineering work is complete and ready for review. A restoration plan is being discussed for the creek on Center and Highland Avenue. There is a need to increase vegetation in the area. The main waterline for the water plant was reported to be very brittle, and it would cost $6,000.00 to test the line. The aim is to get it ready by Memorial Day.
New business included the continued support for Paint the Town Pink and the council was in favor of authorizing the contract of the property pilot. It is a cloud-based municipal management platform. Town residents are able to view documents such as mortgages amounts. It would be very accessible due to being able to filter certain information. There are no conflicts with the contracts and authorizing the contract was seen as very beneficial to the town and very accessible.