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Bridgewater Raritan Regional School District - Bridgewater {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District (BRRSD), in collaboration with the community, provides a balanced, challenging, and comprehensive education that meets or exceeds New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and empowers every student to achieve his or her full potential as a lifelong learner and contributing member of society.The district's nine-member Board of Education is apportioned by population between Bridgewater and Raritan. Since the early 1990s, Bridgewater has elected eight of the board members and Raritan has elected one. This election is for 2 members from Bridgewater. Each serving a three year term.

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  • John-Paul “JP” Levin
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Jessica Levitt
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Scott Mihalick
    (NP)

  • Barry R. Walker
    (NP)

Biographical Information

Looking ahead to a post-pandemic future, what are we learning from the impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis on school operations that will change how our schools operate in the future?

What are your short-term and long-term plans to address the budgetary and economic impacts of COVID-19 in our schools?

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Campaign Address 46 Fuller Court Bridgewater NJ 08807
Campaign Email jessicaforboe@gmail.com
Website jessicaforboe.com
Although the impact of COVID-19 on our schools is difficult, it is also a unique opportunity for growth. Because we were all thrown into uncharted territory, we learned quickly just how adaptable we can be. Post-pandemic we should be evaluating everything from curriculum (we are seeing just how important social and emotional learning is) to scheduling. Particularly with our older students, we are experiencing the effectiveness of virtual learning and it may continue to play an important role. We also learned where the gaps in social services and counseling were and have the ability to strengthen these programs for our families. Our teachers have stepped up to reinvent their classrooms and we need to listen to and learn from their experiences. In general, because we were not able to keep operating "the way it has always been", it is allowing us to open our minds and find innovative ways to provide a complete well-rounded education in a safe, healthy environment.
Undoubtedly, there are new, unforeseen costs to ensure the health of our students and staff during the pandemic. Like all spending, it needs to be managed thoughtfully and efficiently. Since our buildings were closed for three months this spring and will not welcome back students until October at the earliest, there are some savings in transportation and facilities that can offset added costs of PPE, furniture storage, technology, sanitizing and other necessary products. The federal government has provided relief in the CARES Act. It is the board’s fiscal responsibility to ensure that all possible relief funds and grants, be they from state or federal government (including FEMA), are secured. Many families in our community are suffering economic strain from the coronavirus closings, so the burden of the school budget cannot be put on our taxpayers or even our generous parents and PTOs.
Campaign Address 367 Rolling Knolls Way Bridgewater NJ 08807
Campaign Email scott4brrsd@gmail.com
Website facebook.com/scott4brrsd
We have seen that virtual/remote education can work when it needs to. This is not to say that remote is better or more effective than in-person; in fact, quite the opposite. However, on a short-term basis or for a specialized need, it can be done. It is entirely possible that students who, for whatever reason, are not able to come into the physical school, will be able to take part in classroom instruction; this could be a great help to students who are going through medical or other upheavals, to continue with some sense of normalcy with their schooling. It is also possible that the need for snow days / emergency closing days can be greatly reduced, leading to a more predictable calendar.

Also, we will need to carefully monitor the impending return of students to the classroom, and take lessons from the first few weeks; to determine how things are unfolding, additional safety precautions that may need to be taken, and how the currently implemented safety measures are working.
In the short term, we need to identify additional expenditures that were made necessary over the last six months due to COVID; from additional PPE, to increasing personnel costs (if any). On the flip side, we can analyze any savings that might have been realized, such as utility reductions or other similar related operational expenses. We will need to follow our professionals' recommendations including options to shift funds among accounts, or draw down from our emergency reserves.

For the 2021-22 budget year, we must look at how that school year will actually function; whether we will be fully back in-person or still hybrid at that time. From there, similar budget adjustments should be made as discussed above; to try to match our planned expenditures to the reality of how we'll be operating. We can look to other grants or federal or state opportunities to provide additional inflows of funds. We can't be short-sighted though, and draw our reserves or our capital budgets down to zero.
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