Five candidates are vying for two seats on the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education that carry three-year terms on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Incumbent board members Rosanne Hansen and John King are seeking re-election, and are being challenged by Dan Cipoletti, Marie Lanfrank and Charles Alberta.
Every candidate was sent questions by the editor as part of The Caldwells Patch's Candidate Profile. Each candidate's response will be posted leading up to election day.
The following are the responses submitted by challenger Marie Lanfrank.
Why are you running for a seat on the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education?
As a taxpayer, homeowner and retired educator, I have a vested interest in continuing to improve the reputation and quality of the Caldwell-West Caldwell schools.
As such, ascertaining that students are ready
for the next phase of their life, the quality of the public schools is the most
critical factor in protecting residents’ investments in their homes. When
schools meet their goal of enhancing educational offerings the equity in homes
grows, local businesses prosper and students receive a stellar education.
What makes you qualified for the position?
My qualifications for this position are my Knowledge and expertise in all facets of education including school administration, school finance, curriculum, staff supervision, budget preparation, testing, staff development, personnel decisions, grant writing and more.
In addition, I have my years in the educational arena as a teacher, learning consultant and administrator, along with my undergraduate, graduate and post graduate studies to depend on.
What are the three biggest challenges facing the school district in your opinion?
The biggest challenges facing the district are state aid being negligible and everyday costs increasing; building a budget at or below the 2-percent cap; maintaining and enhancing programs; finding additional sources of revenue to ease the burden of relying on property taxes; addressing athletic fields; and the implementation of full day kindergarten without burdening the taxpayer.
What school related issues would you focus on if you were elected?
Finance: Being fiscally responsible to lessen reliance
on property taxes; maximizing resources; sharing services with municipalities/other
school districts; seeking additional sources of revenue; encouraging cost
saving ideas from the staff/students/community.
Facilities: Continually assessing security measures; addressing improvements to the athletic fields without increasing property taxes.
Academics: Enhancing curriculum to ensure all students receive a relevant, vigorous 21st-century education; revisiting full-day kindergarten and soliciting community input to accomplish this without burdening the taxpayer; only supporting scientifically based reading/writing instruction; monitoring the use of the core standards ensuring staff and students have the needed time/resources; increasing the number of AP courses; connecting with more colleges/universities to offer college level courses; considering online courses; expanding the STEM program to the elementary/high school; implementing Academies in areas such as Finance/Engineering/ Performing Arts and accepting students from surrounding districts to offset costs; evaluating the delivery of services for exceptional children (gifted/talented/students with disabilities) relative to their quality and efficiency.
Communication: Insisting on transparency, the key to building trust between the board/staff/community; appointing a student as a non-voting member of the board; holding “Educate the BOE” forums for community members to express what they believe works/doesn’t work.
Technology: Adopting a cost effective approach to updating technology with assistance from knowledgeable community members; yearly evaluation of the technology plan.
Staff: Monitoring the implementation of Achieve NJ to ensure it’s implemented in a fair and flexible manner with the quality of instruction/learning as its aim; analyzing its anticipated impact on the budget and administrative time looking for cost effective ways to lessen this impact; providing effective staff development.
What is the single most important asset you can bring to the board if you were elected?
My single most important asset is my experience in all facets of education especially maximizing resources enabling the district to enhance educational offerings while keeping the budget at or below the 2-percent cap.