This article was submitted by Marie Lanfrank, candidate for the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education.
Caldwell resident Marie Lanfrank believes “The quality of the public school system is the most critical factor in protecting residents’ investments in their homes and community."
When schools meet their goals of enhancing their educational offerings the equity in homes grows, local businesses prosper and most importantly students receive a stellar education.
Lanfrank is a retired educator with many years of experience in a myriad of issues related to school administration, budget preparation, curriculum and staff development to name a few. She has a BA from The College of New Jersey, an MA from Seton Hall University and post graduate credits in School Administration and School Finance . She attained a certification as a superintendent, principal, learning consultant and mathematics teacher.
With this in mind, Lanfrank announces her F.A.C.T.S. platform.
F: Finances and Facilities
I will focus on being fiscally responsible to lessen reliance on property taxes by maximizing resources, sharing services with the municipalities and other school districts, seeking additional sources of revenue, and encouraging cost saving ideas from the staff, students and community.
I will prioritize facility upgrades; ascertain that there is a comprehensive maintenance plan, continually assess security measures and address improvements to the athletic fields by soliciting input from all stakeholders as to how to accomplish this without relying on property taxes.
I will strive to enhance curriculum to ensure that all students receive a relevant, vigorous 21st-century subject areas, revisit full day kindergarten and solicit community input to accomplish this without burdening the taxpayer, only support using scientifically based reading instruction since reading is the underlying key to success in every content area and closely monitor the use of the core standards to ensure that staff and students are given the needed time and resources to adjust to yet another change.
I will propose to increase the number of AP courses, connect with more colleges/universities to offer college level courses at the high school, consider online courses, expand the STEM program to the elementary and high school levels, implement academies in areas such as finance, engineering and performing arts with the aim of accepting students from surrounding districts to offset costs, and continually evaluate the delivery of services for exceptional children i.e. gifted and talented and students with disabilities relative to their quality and efficiency.
I will insist on transparency since it is the key component of building trust between the board, staff and community, aim to appoint a student liaison as a non-voting member of the BOE and hold “Educate the BOE” forums to provide an opportunity for community members to express what they believe works or doesn’t work and to offer solutions.
I will push to adopt a cost effective approach to update technology, seek the assistance of knowledgeable community members and evaluate the district’s technology plan on a yearly basis.
I will monitor the implementation of Achieve NJ, the staff evaluation system, to ensure it is implemented in a fair and flexible manner, that the quality of instruction and learning is the aim of the system, and that effective staff development is provided.
I will analyze Achieve NJ’s anticipated impact on the budget and administrative time and look for cost effective ways to lessen this impact.
There are two seats on the board up for grabs this November. Board members Rosanne Hansen and John King will seek reelection, and will be challenged by Dan Cipoletti, Marie Lanfrank and Charles Alberta.
The five will be on the ballot on the Nov. 5 general election. Both seats carry three-year terms.