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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Waterford 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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  • Candidate picture

    Matthew Denafo

  • Candidate picture

    Barbara Libak Fanz

  • Jacquelyn Joas-Foy

  • Michael Mc Clintock

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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Over the past 3 years the Board has seen a tremendous amount of success and progress. We have seen the Township receive over $2 million in grants to fund 3/4 year old Pre-K at no cost to tax payers. The District was awarded on of only 11 Light House awards for its improvement in testing scores and academic achievements. Lastly, with the global pandemic, the District has accommodated every parent and teacher request offering up to three options, one that includes 5 full days in-class. This has been done with collaboration, communication and cooperation of the full Board. I believe that my unique skillset and experience in owning a small business, construction management and public procurement adds a lot of value to the Board.
Educational Value. One of the first things a new family looks for in a community is the education that is provided through the local school system. Higher Educational value becomes a premium and in the end makes Waterford Township a place to move. This in-turn increases home values and reduces vacant homes. More tax paying residents equates to an overall larger tax base which in the end reduces individual homeowner costs.
In 2019 Waterford was award a Light House Distinction Award because of it's excellence in improved academics. I would like to continue this trend. Over the past 3 years student data is being leverages like it has never been done before. I would continue to ensure this data is being utilized to enhance the education of each individual student. In addition I would like to continue to align our curriculum with Hammonton so that when Waterford students transition to Hammonton it is as seamless and students are actually ahead of where they should be.
The new formula has hurt Waterford Township over the past few years. In just the last two years our District has lost almost $500,000 in state aid. This funding from the State needs to continue to support local school districts in order to keep the high level of education that the state has come to be known by.
In 2017, the District went to great lengths to increase the safety of each student and faculty in all three buildings. The school had a security report completed and it came back favorable however we still proceeded to work with the local PD in developing a shared service agreement. This agreement has a resource officer stationed at each school and has provided the security and piece of mind every parent should have when sending our kids to school.
As an educator for over 34 years, I have seen firsthand how quality education positively impacts individual children, their families, and the entire community. For this reason, I have decided public education is where I want to continue to focus my efforts and energy.

The current pandemic has also made me realize how important the role board of education members will be in the foreseeable future as they help to navigate a safe return to school and the fiscal challenges each district will face.
My top priority is to address the anticipated budget shortfalls that will undoubtedly occur as a result of revenue losses from state and local sources because of the staggering economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

How will we do more with less without ultimately affecting the level of education we provide for each child in our community?

Tests are a learning tool which can be administered formally or informally. Many people consider the more formal standardized tests to be a fair and effective measure of a student’s performance. These tests also guarantee that schools and teachers are held accountable to the taxpayers for the caliber of education they provide to their students.

I believe that the data generated from these standardized tests can be useful when combined with the additional information a teacher gathers on a daily basis throughout the school year. This information enables the teacher to decide what they are going to teach, how they are going to teach it, and ultimately reflect on how effectively it was taught.
In 2010, the State of New Jersey decided that no school district was to receive less state aid than they had received the previous year. This decision essentially froze state aid for the next seven years. Now, with the enactment of S2, a school funding reform bill, roughly one third of the rural, suburban, and urban districts in our state are faced with deep funding cuts .These successive cuts began with the 2019-2020 school year and will continue to be phased in annually through 2025.

I understand that the state’s intention is to make the distribution of state aid more equitable. However, I am concerned about how it will change the educational opportunities for the children in districts where state aid is being significantly reduced.
Last year, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Atco Elementary School. This allowed me to directly witness many of the safety and security protocols that our district has put in place.

My observations have led me to conclude that the Waterford Township School District has implemented a variety of practices and procedures to promote the safety and security of its students and staff. They are committed to continue to provide a safe secure learning environment where students can thrive.

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