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First, the challenge our students have recently began to face is the growing opiate epidemic. It is too easy for our students to fall victim to this outbreak. I would know, because I have suffered from it in the past and have been 100% sober since 2014. The main objective should be to keep educating students on the evolved dangers of drug use. The DARE program ends in elementary school and it falls short in teaching our youth as they move on to Middle School and High School just how deadly the disease of addiction really is.
Secondly, we need to work with the township to slowdown residential building because any resolution would only be a facade to a growing issue with overcrowding. Enforcing impact fees to builders for new constructions would help alleviate overcrowding. Our mind set needs to be shifted towards upgrading our school’s infrastructure and not hurting it
Finally, due to overpopulation, the effectiveness of school security is an ever-growing issue. Currently, the security in our schools is sufficient but I strongly believe that sufficient is not enough and we should be proactive since there is always room for improvement when it comes to the safety for our students and faculty.
I am not yet a parent, but it is highly beneficial for everyone because I have no special interests, nor do I desire personal gain for myself or my family. As a resident, I have been very pleased with what the Township Recreation does to keep children involved. I want to keep students engaged with activities in conjunction with school programs to discourage idle hands and minds.Thanks to my time as a Monroe resident, I am prepared to ask the important question, what can WE do to increase safety in our schools? By removing politics as part of our hiring process for security, we can make sure that we hire only the best and most qualified to watch over the children of our township. I aim to hire retired Law Enforcement Officers with experience to protect our schools. I want our township to be able to say, “This is what we ARE doing”, with confidence.
It goes without saying that tutoring, after school programs, access to online books, studying and technology are important. Counseling should be readily available to satisfy the needs of fragile developing minds. We should follow the lead of other school districts that have introduced a confidential online tips portal. The portal is available 24/7 and is used to report any information that may cause harm or panic within the school district. We often ask if anyone sees something to say something, but calling the police often seems intimidating, this avenue makes conveying information simpler and less daunting.
Each factor should be taken with extreme seriousness as teachers are the key to our student’s success. Without exceptional teachers, our students would not be able to learn, and the quality of education would certainly diminish. If we learn to communicate and establish strong relationships between the township, the school board, and the taxpayers we can ultimately agree to create balance by appropriating funds where they are needed the most. We can all agree that the priority will always be the students and the quality of their education. Based on the analysis of the U.S. Department of Education, The Monroe Township School district is one of the highest rated in the country in academics and we hope to maintain, if not improve our numbers within the next few years. As a school board member, I will work towards making sure that taxpayer money is being used to fulfill past commitments made to teachers, retention of excellent teachers and the quality of education provided to students.
As a former Police Officer, I have had assignments as a School Resource Officer in an inner-city school setting and I’ve experienced the dangers students face behind closed doors. Additionally, I possess experience as a Police Benevolent Association union representative. Part of my responsibilities included discussing contract negations with the city. Within the department, I organized many fundraisers including the well-known NJ Special Olympics Torch run and Polar Bear Plunge.
1. Overcrowding and the use of trailers; trying to pass a referendum; parental involvement in voting at election time. These issues have to be addressed with the Superintendent and the full board. I have an idea for parental involvement at voting time. That would be to offer an ice cream sundae day for the school with the most parents coming out to vote. They would sign a special sheet of paper so we can get an accurate count for each school. The school with the most parents voting wins. As simple as that.
2. As of October 10,2018 I will have lived in Monroe for one year. I have attended school board meetings, and keep myself apprised of all things concerning the school district. I live at Rossmoor and Linda writes about the board of education issues in our monthly paper.
3. I am not in favor of trailers, but I understand the situation the Board faces because of the two failed referendums. One person cannot ensure that the resources presented can be provided to the students. The Board of Education is not there to micromanage but to make sure that policy and procedures are followed by the Superintendent and the administrators. We can present out thoughts and provide ideas for new resources but it always depends on administrative approval and financial approval.
I would try to help the board establish a Student Services Committee. I had a lot of experience with this committee in North Brunswick. This committee oversees issues pertaining to students, e.g. safety, security, behavior and dress. This committee would also provide oversight to our co-curricular program including clubs and sports.
4. I think that we should continue to fight for more state funding, which would result in not having to raise taxes (which I am sure everyone is in favor of). The extra state funding and passing a referendum would balance the demand for Chapter 78 relief, the shrinking operating budget which is the money being used to pay for the trailers is definitely a deficit. It’s about time that districts who do well and operate within the 2% cap deserve be rewarded for doing such a good job with shrinking budgets due to state mandates. The state slogan to me is “state mandates, state doesn’t pay!!).
5.I was a member of the Board of Education in North Brunswick Township for 18 years. I was president for two years, vice-president for two years and participated on all the committees of the board as a member or chairperson. I have taken all the training required by the new Jersey School Board Association and will continue to take the courses in order to make sure that I am up to date on school board issues in order to be an effective member of the Monroe Township Board of Education.
1. Growing enrollment and lack of classroom space. We need more educational space. The community & district must work together to develop & support a referendum that will provide our students with an appropriate & safe educational environment. For now, we will be addressing the growing student population by adding trailers; a short term, costly solution. It is crucial that the District & community work together to develop a plan both can support.
2. Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers. A school district is only as strong as the teachers in the classroom. Our district must provide competitive compensation and opportunities for career advancement. If our State funding continues at current levels, & our operating budget is further strained by trailers, it will be even harder to offer the salaries & benefits that reflect the level of competence & dedication we expect from our teachers. Open, honest conversations that include out of the box thinking between the Board and the MTEA will be imperative in order to grow our capacity to provide the salary and benefits that our educators deserve. It is vital that we as a Board support our teachers. We do this by supporting the contracts that the Board and the MTEA negotiate.
3. Improved Communication between the BOE and Public The Board and the community need to work together so that the BOE can focus on student achievement. We need to develop new ways, within the legal constraints of confidentiality on certain matters, to communicate Board Governance with the public. Only with open factual communication from the BOE and when the Board can fully explain the governance process to members of the public, will we have real transparency. To achieve this, I will work with my fellow Board members toward establishing Town Hall style meetings.
When my family & I moved here in December 2002, my twin boys were in 1st Grade & their younger brother was in Kindergarten. They attended Barclay Brook, Brookside, Applegarth Middle School & MTHS. During this time, I was very active in MTSEPA & attended many BOE meetings. My youngest attended Barclay Brook & Brookside until the end of 5th grade. We decided to homeschool her starting in 6th grade due to health issues. Although she would be a sophomore at MTHS this September, we continue to homeschool as she continues to struggle with health issues. This is the best option for her. I became very involved in the statewide fight against PARCC testing and once again began attending BOE meetings. In 2016, I ran for BOE because I felt that the Board was no longer focusing on its role as the decision-maker for the students. I am running for re-election because my experience, dedication & willingness to fight for our students, & teachers, continues to be a critical need.
Our responsibility is to prepare students for their future. We need to ensure that our focus is on getting all students on a path to a career that is meaningful to them & their future. This might mean that they go on to college & advanced studies prior to a career, or they may find a career via vocational & technical education, the military or on-the-job training. We need to ensure that we are providing all students with skills that will enable them to be successful no matter which path to the career they choose. One way that we are doing this is through the District’s commitment to The Whole Child & Social/Emotional Learning. I will continue to support & help advance this commitment because the skills taught through this process are skills that all students, no matter what type of academic program they are in, need in order to find success in their adult lives.
The desire for lower taxes and the need to meet our commitment to our teachers and students is a significant challenge for the BOE. Most residents also recognize that having quality schools and programs requires money; money that comes to the district in the form of tax dollars. I have spent many hours learning about the school funding issues, participating in the fight to gain our fair share of the State funding & advocating against districts getting more funding despite having declining enrollment, mismanagement & their community’s reluctance raise taxes. I have spoken on the need for a taxpayer led demand for the State legislature to develop, implement and fund a new School Funding Formula. I will continue to be involved in all aspects of the Fight for Fair School Funding, including closely following the current administration's ‘‘Path to Progress" & advocating for the needs of Monroe.
I am a retired educator & an outspoken advocate. I have no political agenda or affiliation. I am committed to being the best BOE Member I can be. I attend County School Bd Assoc meetings & earned NJSBA New Board Member Certificate and became a Certified Board Member. I attend many school events and I treat my role on the BOE as a full-time job. I will continue to work with the community to provide an education that prepares our students for their best possible future. Their future is our future.
1. Student Growth
Monroe is a very desirable community to live. We have had an explosion of building in the past 10+ years that is pushing our current School District to the limit. We need to start looking at not only the construction of a new school, but also a re-imagining of the existing facilities and programs. New construction will need to be forward-looking and optimize any existing space and facilities, possibly done in parallel with grade shifts or changes to class distribution.
I feel the Board needs to work on 1) Its internal communications so as to better work as a team that represent the needs of the students and school district to the citizens, taxpayers and parents of the community (utilizing communication workshops and coaching programs), and 2) Its external relationships with local and state government, to champion the students and ensure the needs of the school district are fairly represented and funded (by collaborating with local government and testifying at the state level).
Monroe schools have one of the best curriculums (if not the best) in the state (due to our hard working administrators, teachers and staff). We need to ensure that this is sustained and expanded across all levels, from special education to AP courses, by continually incorporating new subjects, methods of teaching and programs. For example, programs like STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) has been proven to work not only with advanced classes, but also with special education.
Since moving to Monroe 10+ years ago, I have always been involved with the school district. Also, I have previously served on the Monroe Township Board of Education for three and a half years.
My Community Involvement:
* Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Growth (current)
* PTA member (2009-present)
* Recreational soccer coach (2015-present)
* Monroe Township BoE (2010-2013)
* Middlesex Regional Educational Services Commission (2013)
* Monroe Township Zoning Board (2016-present)
* Committeeman (2016-present) of both Ad-hoc committees examining growth in the community
* Member of multiple strategic Ad-Hoc committees (communication, growth, technology)
Aside from access to quality teachers, staff and facilities, recently in our district, although not "resources" per se, the following has become exceedingly important:
1. Consistent learning environment
At younger ages, inconsistency around facilities and educators has been proven to be detrimental to education.
2. Class sizes
Although debated, I feel that smaller class sizes allow the educator to focus more on the individual needs of the student.
3. Agile curriculum
What is taught and how it is taught should be tailored to the needs to each student, adjusting as needed and as often as needed.
First, I believe an excellent community such as ours would have no issue with providing the best education that we can - as it provides for the future. Past commitments to teachers are just that: commitments that we are contractually obligated to. Our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the county which contributes to the high turnover rate we have. We need to start investing in our teachers, but not only with salary, but building upon ideas such as "cash in lieu of benefits" which can be a net zero proposition and additional perks such as child care.
As for funding, we need to start looking at optimizing our current budget instead of always going back to the taxpayers for additional funding. This can be done by starting to think creatively and exercising new pathways for funding. For example:
1. Corporate sponsorships
2. Expanding shared services
3. Less outsourcing of special education to specialized schools
I have taught at Rutgers University, authored technical-style textbooks for the computer industry, lectured and taught classes as well as held Board-level positions. I currently manage a team of experts who are tasked with using Agile methodologies to move our corporation to a more efficient and "next generation" operating environment. I have served previously on the Board of Education and on the Finance, curriculum and Building & Grounds committees as well as on the Township Zoning Board.
The biggest challenge facing the district is the overcrowding in our schools. But before we start looking into building new schools, we must look into the existing school properties we currently have. There is plenty of room to build extensions on our existing schools which will save taxpayers millions of dollars. Second is State aid that we receive. Unfortunately the district has been underfunded since 2008 which puts a burden on our property taxes. We must be transparent with school spending. I would advocate for fair funding and pursue a lawsuit against the state with other districts to receive our fair share of state aid. Third is retention of our school teachers. We must work with the teachers union on a fair contract to attract and retain our educators, and at the same time being fiscally responsible with administration salaries and wasteful spending.
As a graduate of Monroe Twp High School and now a parent of three kids, I knew Monroe was a place to raise a family. As a parent we are fortunate to have strong public school programs in Monroe. Our teachers helped our kids improve their social skills, and ability to learn and succeed in their classes. We are very proud in the support my children have with our teachers. That is why I support strong education for our children which starts with strong educators.
As a residential and commercial taxpayer I am dismayed at the lack of fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency in the BoE. Our BoE general fund reserve has gone down 40%. Im running for BoE to make sure our children come first and stay first. We've seen spending cuts while administrators get 10s of thousands of dollars in raises.
Most important resource is excellent teachers. By working with the administration and teachers union to come up with a fair contract with pay that attracts and retains excellent staff. This can be achieved with removing high paying layered management. For example there is no need for 5 figured paid department supervisors while also spending 10s of thousands on stipends for department coordinators. Too much high paid management and not enough money for good teachers.
As an elected board member, I vow to be a steward of taxpayers’ money, a strong advocate for our children and public schools.
To continue to attract and retain the best school employees for our children, we need to continue our investment in highly skilled educators and strong school leadership while by being fiscally responsible to our taxpayers. By working together with our teachers union, we will not only achieve labor peace, but we can reap significant savings for taxpayers.
We are fortunate to have strong schools in Monroe Township. It is the result of a commitment by students, their families, teachers and taxpayers. The state has shortchanged our school district. This puts an undue burden on property taxes to fund our schools. As a Board member, I will ask our school community to join me as I advocate for fair funding and take a stand against the unfair amount of state aid we receive. I believe if we succeed we can make a positive difference in our community.
As a local business owner for the past 15 years, I have built one of the largest printing companies in Central Jersey. As a residential and commercial taxpayer I know how important every dollar is and how it is being spent. Leadership, efficiency and fiscal responsibility is the key to the success of my business and these business traits that I would bring to the board.