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Magnolia 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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  • Joyce S. Albrecht

  • Karen Sorbello

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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This is my 30th year on the board. In the 90s if your budget failed, you had to go before the borough council and they would ask you to make cuts and they would make cuts from the extras for the students and I just felt it was not the right thing to do. I went there to make sure the kids got their clubs, they got music and art, and they got the band back. I am a certified board leader. That means that I have gone to class, studied, and have taken all the tests. I have served on the board of directors for NJ school boards. I have been president and vice president of the county association eight times. Out of my 30 years, for more than half I have either been president or vice president and I have served on every committee. I was on all the committees for the additions and reconstruction of the school. While I was president, we had the strategic plan, which is in three parts. I, as president, was able to do one and two, and the third part is almost done (It got pushed aside because of a school closing). I would like to see what I have been fighting for completed.
To make sure that the staff have what they need to successfully complete the school year, contain costs, and stay within the budget. We have been very fortunate. The board only hires one person and that is the superintendent. And the superintendent hires the principal and the staff. You have to make your choice of superintendent the best that you can get for the money you are able to offer them. We are very fortunate that we have an excellent business administrator and we have a new superintendent, who is about a year and a half into the job and she is doing a very good job.
I didn’t like Common Core from Day 1 when I saw it at the Convention and went to the class to learn about it. I would really like to see Common Core go – it is very expensive and there are other ways of teaching. Common Core is not a fair test of the teacher nor of the student. Because of it, there is a lot of pressure and a lot of time devoted to teaching in a certain way. But no everyone learns the same way. Under the current system, if a Student does not get it at all, the teacher cannot take the time to work with that student – only after school or at another time -- because everything is timed through the day.
I think the formula is flawed. The state does not take everything into account. A lot of districts have new housing and large companies moving into their towns. These businesses and developers get what they call a pilot, which is payment in lieu of taxes. They pay the borough a certain amount of money for five or ten years, but none of it gets filtered to the schools. Therefore, if you build housing and say 300 families move in and there are 130 kids, we don’t get any money for 130 kids until the pilot program ends. You’re not getting the full tax dollar – the taxpayer is paying it. The pilot program is hurting the school system.
Our school faces Warwick Rd and our biggest concern was making sure nobody could get into the doors facing Warwick Rd. Our building was so old – we have a ‘35 wing, a ‘56 wing, and a ‘96 wing. We went out for a bond issue and we stripped the school down to the bare walls and rebuilt it. The school is now centrally air-conditioned and is modern and up-to-date. It’s much brighter and costs much less to run. We have had to lock our playground, we have all new windows that you can see out of, but you cannot see into, and the doors automatically lock. We have taken every measure that we can possibly take, but our eyes and ears are always open to anything new that comes out. That is why I go to training and to the convention. That is where I meet the vendors. We found these locks that are invisible, but when the teacher closes the door, the locks pop up so that nobody can get in the room.