Mayors from Washington Township, the Chesters and Mendhams, along with school board representatives from those towns spent more than two hours discussing the future of the West Morris Regional High School District Wednesday night in Long Valley.
The meeting, hosted by the mayors–Ken Short (Washington Township), Bill Cogger (Chester Township), Bob Davis (Chester Borough), Neil Henry (Mendham Borough), and Sam Tolley (Mendham Township)–and moderated by Mendham Township resident Christine Meyers-Gorski, was closed to the public, was meant to involve the various school boards to help the governement officials better understand the education process, according to Washington Township Mayor Ken Short prior to the meeting.
"I don't think any of us as mayors are comfortable making education policy," said Cogger before the meeting. "So when we met it was with the understanding that the school boards be brought up to speed so they can take a more active role in the process."
When Tolley agreed to meet with the other four mayors in March, for the first time following a presentation by the New Jersey Department of Education on the regional school district, it was to gather information on the feasibility study and include the boards.
Tolley said numerous times that he was unwilling to commit public funds for the feasibility study until he and his township committee knew what they were going to be studying. Tolley also stated that he felt it was crucial that all of the boards of education be involved. That was something the other mayors agreed on.
“The meeting went very well,” Short said. “There was a discussion about the additional funds for the study, and we built groundwork to move forward.”
None of the officials attending the meeting would release detailed information following the session, and agreed to release a statement in the days following. Short said all invitees attended the meeting.
The date of the next mayors’ meeting is not yet known. The next West Morris Regional School Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 30 at Mendham High School.