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Haddon Township 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)

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  • Renee Billingsley

  • Candidate picture

    Christopher Cook

  • Marie E. Dezii

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?

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Campaign Address 509 Cooper Street Westmont, NJ 08108
Campaign phone 609-330-9765
Twitter @ElectCook
Party Tagline Transparency, Communication, Opportunity
I look forward to the opportunity to work with the other board members, the district administration and the public to make Haddon Township schools the best they can be. We face important challenges in the near term. The new Board will have to find a new Superintendent, consider the results of the recent redistricting consultants and still find ways to maintain and hopefully improve students’ education at a time when the districts expenses continue to outpace revenue.
Funding for public education moves with changes in the community but also with changes in Trenton and Washington D.C. In recent years we have seen dramatic changes in the amount of financial support from the NJ state government. Perhaps that will change in the coming years but right now it appears ii will not. Maintaining a robust balance sheet for the district is critical and it is key to being able to increase the number and quality of faculty rather than continuing to see it decrease.
Tests can be an important tool in evaluating students and their progress through the curriculum. They are also used at times to evaluate the performance of the state, county, district, building and teacher. However for such evaluations to be meaningful a few things have to be true. First, the content the student is being tested on must be content that the student has been exposed to. The timing of a particular test could come earlier than subjects being taught in the classroom. The second is consistency. In order for tests from one year to the next to be useful, the test has to be consistent. Unfortunately the current PARCC testing fails on both fronts.
No formula is going to be perfect but the last major change in the formula when Gov. Murphy took office was a major shift for many districts, including Haddon Township. Given that Trenton will always use school funding as a political football to throw around, I think two issues should be guiding principles. First, we should be investing more in our public school systems. Funding is increasing but we can do more. Second, in years where funding formulas change, districts need those changes to be gradual. Big swings in state funding will only cause chaos for local districts.
In Haddon Township, I feel comfortable with the safety of the schools. We could increase security but the trade off becomes increasing fear in the minds of our students and our faculty. The best way to be safe is to ensure students, teachers and administrators are always looking out for students who are struggling, especially struggling socially. Creating an environment where all our students feel safe and comfortable is key.
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