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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Cherry Hill School District {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

An elected school board member serves a three-year term. The school board represents the concerns of citizens, taxpayers and parents to the school administrators, and represents the needs of the students and school district to citizens, taxpayers and parents. The school board does not operate the district on a day-to-day basis; that is the job of the superintendent (the district’s chief executive). Rather, the school board sets policies, goals and objectives for the district, and holds the superintendent responsible for implementing those policies and goals. (Abridged from NJ School Boards Association website)A total of seven candidates are running for three open seats on the school board, while three people are running in a special election. Ineda "Corrien" Elmore-Stratton, Anju Pejavara and Ruth Schultz are all running to fill the remaining two years on an unexpired seat, according to the unofficial list posted on the Camden County Clerk's website. The remaining candidates are running for three open, three-year seats on the board of education.Source: https://patch.com/new-jersey/cherryhill/contested-school-board-elections-set-cherry-hill

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    Rosy Arroyo

  • Matthew Brinn

  • Ineda "Corrien" Elmore-Stratton

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    Kimberly Friddell

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    Benjamin Ovadia

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    Anju Pejavara

  • Jessica Rodriguez

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    Ruth Schultz

  • Sanjay Kumar Sharma

  • Yonaton "Yoni" Yares

Biographical Information

Why are you running for the board of education (Why are you seeking reelection)? What expertise do you bring?

What is your top budget priority and why?

What is your view on test scores? What steps will you take to improve these scores (if improvements are needed)?

What are your views on the latest formula for apportioning state aid for schools?

What measures, if any, do you feel are needed to improve the safety and security of our schools?

Website https://www.actforboe.org
Party Tagline Accountability, Collaboration & Transparency
Throughout my career I have served the community to create cross-systems partnerships with different organizations that provide resources and supports for youth and their families. In my current position, I oversee youth programs in Camden County, including school-based initiatives which affords me the opportunity to work with many school districts, their administrators, and teachers. I understand the current needs of students and help support initiatives that focus on improving their academics, health, safety and security. I would like to bring these experiences to the table to help advance policies that encompass equitable, inclusive, diverse, and safe academic environments that allow our children and youth to prosper.
My top budget priority would be to focus on sustainable opportunities that increase the funds going into the district while reevaluating the current spending allotments. More specifically, focus on budget priorities on curriculums and technological advances that support the reduction in the achievement gap amongst black and hispanic youth.
While there has been a steady increase in the achievements and success of students in Cherry Hill, there is still an achievement gap that needs to be evaluated. Understanding the differences in our students and how they are able to process information is vital in reducing this gap. I would support policies that are inclusive and have specific focus on equity and access for all youth to be able to succeed.
It is important to provide our community and district with the information that is needed to advocate for a change in the amount of funding that is provided to the Cherry Hill School District. All stakeholders that are invested in the future of our students should bring their voice and challenge the latest formula. In order to support the needs of our students we must do what we can to advocate for a formula that can reflect the needs of our community as they are today.
In order to provide an environment that inspires academic excellence, creativity, and safety we must incorporate trauma informed systems that are implemented through restorative practices. Creating an environment where students can develop and/or strengthen their relationships with their peers and positive adult figures will increase the amount of open discussions and trust. Incorporating restorative values while implementing updated security systems in each school based on its individual structures will help support nurturing environments.
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Campaign Email info@actforboe.org
Campaign Address 9 Gately Ct Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Website www.actforboe.org
Facebook http://actforboe
Party Tagline Accountability, Collaboration, Transparency
As a proud graduate of Cherry Hill High School West, born and raised in Cherry Hill, I benefited from the excellent education provided by Cherry Hill Public Schools. Currently, I am the mother of two children enrolled in the district, at High School West and Carusi Middle School, and an active parent advocate. Five years ago, I was elected Vice President of Cherry Hill Special Education PTA. In addition, I served on the Clara Barton Elementary PTA Executive Board as the Fair Funding Chair. My career has focused on education and supportive services that allow all students to succeed. I have Elementary Teacher (N-8), Principal and Chief School Administrator certificates in New Jersey. My background and experience provide the insight to ask
My top budget priority is ensuring that our facilities are safe and healthy. This includes the need to remediate any mold and asbestos, make our schools and playgrounds ADA compliant, ensure enhanced security measures at all schools including cameras and swipe cards and address issues related to HVAC, windows and other physical issues. Years of under-funding have taken a toll on our buildings and we need to find innovative ways to address the repairs. I believe the district needs to conduct a full assessment of our facilities as the last one was conducted in 20103 and does not accurately reflect the state of the district today and help guide us in the projects needed to be conducted and the cost.
Test scores are one piece of the assessment process of student achievement. Students with disabilities and English Language Learners may not achieve the same scores as peers on assessments, as well as students who suffer from test anxiety. At the local level, we need to look at the disparity between schools in our own district and investigate what accounts for the differences. We need to look at the programs, and supports that are in place and determine if they are having a positive effect on achievement or if we need to develop and implement new or additional supports. To increase student achievement I will ask questions of the administration related to how curricula, Title I and other funds are being allocated to serve our students.
While it is positive that the new SFRA formula will increase funding over the next five years, it will not address the $150 million we have not received over the past decade. There is no guarantee that the SFRA will continue, recently legislation was introduced to once again change the funding formula. I believe our school leadership must be vigilant in advocating for our district to receive any funds available to us- discretionary aid, extraordinary aid and any other funds the state can allocate. We must keep the community involved and enlist their voice and support to advocate for funds, and leadership must lead the charge in being vocal with the legislature in sharing the results of what severe under-funding has caused.
A complete security assessment needs to be conducted by a school security firm. From there a multi-pronged approach must be taken to improve school safety and security. Internally, we must ensure that the schools are providing a supportive, inclusive environment. I am an advocate for Trauma Informed Practices to be incorporated into our schools. Mental health services need to be available, through collaboration with community agencies to address anxiety, depression and other medical issues. Externally, physical security also must be addressed. All schools should have security cameras and swipe cards. We have processes in place for school entry, we must make sure it is consistent across all schools and look at any changes necessary.
Campaign Email info@ACTforBOE.org
Campaign Address 9 Gately Court Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Website https://www.actforboe.org/
Campaign phone 215-990-0396
Twitter N/A
Party Tagline Accountability, Collaboration & Transparency
For years I have been an active community member focused on our amazing school district. We have significant challenges ahead and that is what draws me to run this year. Five years ago, I served in my first PTA role at Sharp and subsequently became President and took on several leadership roles in committees. I worked for years on the Fair Funding committee and drafted the community-wide petition that received 2,000 signatures. Outside PTA, I have advocated on many important issues including reinstating Elementary-school evening music concerts. This past summer, I was selected to serve as a Board member through December and I immediately started contributing and engaging. I hope to be elected to continue addressing the major issues we face.
My top budget priority would be to devote significant annual budgetary resources to refreshing our school infrastructure while preparing a community-supported bond that will help us rejuvenate our buildings and learning spaces. Our buildings are tired and their overall condition at any point in time is a significant statement on the value we place on education in our township, as well as our investment in our children. The school assessments of the last decade show that we need to fix our buildings, this simply cannot wait for 5 or 10 years, and I believe the community would like to see some work included into the annual operating budget while supporting a future bond for the complete package.
I believe test scores are just one measure of the education delivered by our schools. Nonetheless, they are an important indicator of areas for improvement as well as our district rankings within the state. We do need to continue to look at achievement gaps within our district, particularly at the middle school and high school levels. Test scores can help to drive that discussion at the macro and micro levels as we implement solutions to narrow gaps and improve our district standing. Action plans should be articulated, measured and revisited frequently.
For three decades, Cherry Hill has been underfunded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars (without counting the time-value of money). Though state legislators are working to bring us up to "full funding" as dictated by the current formula, we will never see our share of the money that has been allocated in the past to other districts. The fundamental unfairness and compounded impact of these three decades of neglect is being felt in large measure today. I believe we need to continue to advocate with elected leaders and state government to help us navigate a path forward that will require significant investment. We also must explore alternative funding options that have been put into place by other districts in NJ and nationwide.
Security is a hot-button issue and for good reason; next to health and safety, security is a priority for our schools. Though not an expert in this field, I believe we need to study best practices and bring in experts, we need to benchmark other school districts at the cutting edge of security (both operational and physical), and we need to engage our community in a path forward. We must also study school climate as it links to security. This includes reducing bullying, connecting students with mental health resources and giving voice to the concerns of our administration, teachers and students.
Campaign Address 9 Gately Drive Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Website www.actforboe.org
Party Tagline ACT for BOE
I am a mother of three children, one in college, and a freshman and senior at East. I volunteered as a classroom mom, PTA acitvities and science matter days. My kids have received a great education at Cherry Hill Schools and have been involved in many activities such as music, sports and student government that Cherry Hill School District offers. I want to see that all kids continue to receive these amazing programs along with an excellent education. My training as an engineer has provided me with critical thinking skills and making decisions in a methodical way. I strongly believe that I can use these skills to help make strategic plans for the District that takes a long term view of the future
My top budget priority will be to invest money into the much- needed repair of the infrastructure with a long- term vision for the buildings. Our buildings are on an average 50 years old and need to be refurbished to current standards. A crumbling infrastructure is disruptive to learning. Well designed building and pleasant environment lead to better attendance, motivation, and self- esteem – factors which improve performance.
Test scores are used as a metrics to assess the academic progress of a student. Although test scores do not necessarily predict future success of a child, it is an important gage of learning. Modern curriculum encourages students to do hands-on learning and provide opportunities to critically think in the classroom by exploring, communicating, and working together. Students learn by actively being involved and taking ownership of their own learning. They need to find their inner motivation in order to be active learners. This inner motivation can be provided by presenting lessons that meets the needs of a student as an individual.
Cherry Hill District has been severely underfunded for several decades and it will take another seven years, to bring us up to full funding. This is not fast enough to address all the consequences of under funding such as infrastructure repair and modern curriculum. Due to the change in Demographics, the needs of the community has changed in Cherry Hill. We need to pursue other means of funding to address the issues brought on by these changes to properly serve the community .
Safety and security should be the first and foremost priority of our schools. It is paramount that we provide a safe environment for our kids to learn in. Since we only have limited amount of funding, we need to pursue fiscally responsible Best Practices which produces the best results. Mental Health should also be addressed as part of safety and security agenda. Safety threats exist outside the school as well as inside the schools. Following existing safety and security procedures and providing an inclusive and supportive environment are some of the cost effective measures that can be implemented immediately at schools.
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Campaign Email ruthschultz00@gmail.com
Campaign Address 1 Elbow Lane Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Campaign phone 862-812-7089
Party Tagline Vision, Focus, Moving Forward
As a current board member, I have grown and learned a lot over my first three years in the position. I have come to appreciate the importance of healthy debate, the ability to compromise and the need to have the difficult conversations in order to move our district forward. It is because of this experience that I am excited to run again for the board of education.

My fourteen years of experience in sales and relationship management have given me a variety of skills that have proved to be incredibly valuable during my time on the board. It has taught me the importance of active listening, putting aside my personal opinion, and finding an equitable solution which is the best for the greater good.
My top budget priority will be to continue to work with all steak-holders to develop and pass a bond, which I think is crucial to the districts vision. Passing this bond will be the most important thing that the board will do over the next few years, it will allow us to move forward with the most important issue some of which include; security, infrastructure and continuing to provide the best possible education for all our students.
Our districts goals need to continue to be data driven. This means that our Federally, and State mandated standardized tests must continue to be analyzed for as much data on our students’ levels of achievement as possible. Overall however I feel that our students are already over-tested. Each standardized test the students takes keeps them away from our amazing teachers and true learning. If we are discussing teacher created “test scores”, then I believe that they are vital. Summative and formative assessments guide the learning in the classroom and assure all the students are meeting the standards. I simply feel that it should be our teachers creating these assessments for our students rather then more state driven standardized testing.
While changes are being made at the state level due to the new school funding law, it is still not enough to make up from the shortfalls from past decades. While this is an issue in almost every district, the demographics of Cherry Hill have changed drastically over the past ten years our community is simply not the same. The lack of funding over the years has created many challenges that have caused a ripple effect, this has created infrastructure, security, and technology issues. Receiving our fate share of funding will be the only way for us to begin to make up for these past deficiencies.
The safety and security of our students and staff are the number one priority of the district. With so many different options on security, having a total security package which encompasses several elements is the best path forward. I fully support the decision to hold the Security Forum. Safety and Security is a community effort and because of this it is vitally important that during our conversations every member of our community is able to express their opinion. Without this essential feedback, it would be very difficult to pinpoint the exact improvements needed. Our solution needs to be a comprehensive review of our security procedures paired with the recommendations of the administration, panel of professionals and the community.
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