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VOTE411 Voter Guide

South Brunswick Township School Board 3-year Term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Five candidates are vying for three seats for three-year terms. They are Deep Shukla, Arthur Robinson, Deven Patel, Mahendra Patel, and Patrick Del Piano.
  • Patrick Del Piano (N)

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    Deven Patel (N) Civil Engineer

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    Mahendra Patel (N) IT Database Administator

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    Arthur Robinson (N) Manager in state government and a retired Commander, U.S. Navy

  • Deep Shukla (N)

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Biographical Information

What personal and professional experiences have prepared you for serving on the Board?

What do you consider the most important challenges facing the South Brunswick school district? How will you address them?

How will you communicate with parents and others concerned with education? How do you plan to respond to concerns?

Do you think that the current civics education in our schools is adequate? If not, what do you think can be done to improve it?

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Current Elected Position South Brunswick School Board Member
I am member of following committees: a. Chairman for South Brunswick Transportation Advisory Committee b. Representing South Brunswick at the Middlesex County Transportation Committee c. Alternate Board of Direction from Middlesex County at New Jersey School Board Association (NJSBA) d. Vice-president of Indo-American Cultural Foundation of NJ (IACFNC) which is an Asian Indian cultural group and arranging various cultural activities in the town

This all leadership and serving activities prepared me for the School Board responsibilities.
Most important challenge that South Brunswick is facing is same as other school district in the New Jersey. It's school funding. School district need more funding from the state in order to accommodate all children's need in school system and it creates less tax burden on local residents. I am planning to resolve this issue by talking to legislators via NJSBA forum and working with new administration in Trenton, who hopefully will understand taxpayers pain.
I am a board member for six years and seeking my third term. In past when any parent approached me, I work on to find out what is the problem and guide them to the Superintendent. As a board member role, my responsibility is to make sure Superintendent is doing his/her job right and to make sure that school district policy are up to date. So, using this guideline I work with the Superintendent and help parents and other citizens to resolve their problems.
Currently my children (Triplets) are in 9th grade and taking American Government course in the school. Teachers are doing good job by teaching children with current main stream political activities and using curriculum to teach kids US and World history. Children are now more active via volunteering work and engaging in politics and political activities by taking part in campaign and creating social awareness. However, we need to encourage children to come out more frequently and get hands on experience in civic activities by working with elected officials.
Current Elected Position SB rent control board member
I’ve been serving on the SB rent control board since 2007 and have over 20 years of IT and small business experience. I am proud to have been giving back to our community and want to continue along that path.
Some of the most important challenges our school district faces revolve around ensuring a safe environment for our children, and the ability to retain the financial strength for our school system. In regards to safety, we need to implement recommended and proven procedures to further secure our facilities. Ongoing support/training from everyone in the local community will lead to successful implementation. In order to be more financially stable, I would look to review our community shared services and to find cost efficiencies.
We need to encourage further involvement and feedback generation from our community at our BOE and PTO meetings. We need to ensure our fellow parents’ voices are always heard and we can further utilize social media and other forms of communication as open forums to continuously gather feedback.
Civics education is definitely something that needs to have continuous presence in our schools. We need to have additional improvements utilizing teachings and best practices from the Civics Education Initiative to help further educate our children.
Current Elected Position South Brunswick Board of Education since 2008
I have lived in South Brunswick for over 28 years as an active citizen in municipal government serving on the Planning Board and Charter Study Advisory Committee. In the Middlesex County government, I have served as a Commissioner on the Cultural and Heritage Commission. I hold a MS degree from NJIT In Environmental Policy Studies. Also, I hold a BS degree from N.C. State University in Chemical Engineering. In addition, I'm a graduate of the Wharton Management Program from the University of Pennsylvania. I'm a Certified Public Manager. I'm a retired Commander, U.S. Navy with over 28 years of dedicated service to our Nation. My top military awards are the Meritorious Service Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation. I served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait (2002). In terms of serving on the Board from 2008 to the present, I have served on the Policy Committee (Chair), Budget Committee (Chair) and Contract Negotiations Committee which has given me professional experiences to continue to meet Board governance challenges head-on.
The most important challenges facing South Brunswick school district are: (1) a quality education for each and every kid in order for him or her to succeed in any career path chosen in life, (2) adequate resources for special education, and (3) personalized academic improvement measures for each and every child through parent and teacher involvement K-12, and (4) crafting the annual school budget with limited financial resources and the burden of unfunded state mandates on those resources. For challenge(1), I would continue to work with my colleagues on the Board and our community to ensure that each and every child has the necessary skills to exceed academically for college or develop skills for trade school. For challenge (2), I would continue working with the Board to ensure adequate resources are available to assist our kids requiring special services. In addition, I would continue my advocacy for kids that deserve caring attention to succeed in life. For challenge (3), I would continue working with the Board to track the academic performance of each cohort of kids K-12 to ensure that testing measures are meaningful in determining the academic progress of each kid. For challenge 4, as a member of the Budget committee, I would continue to ensure that every available tax dollar has value-added to the academic growth of each and every student. In addition, I would propose Board resolutions to our state legislators to pass Bills with the necessary funding to enact the law.
As a sitting Board member, I have always been available by email to address concerns or schedule a face-to face meeting with parents and concerned citizens. For those that do not have my email address, it is I will respond by email or they can just meet with me and we can discuss the matter personally. Afterwards, I will bring the concern to the Board and school administration for action.
I believe that civics education can always be improved upon. I would suggest scheduling talks with guest speakers from all walks of life to come to our middle and high school assemblies to discuss challenges facing a civic minded society. For the K-5 students, I would suggest class room activities such as "School House Rock" of that nature to get them on the road to understanding civics in our society. In addition, I would talk with neighboring districts to get tips on how they conduct civics education and bring those ideas back to the Board for discussion and implementation.
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