Board of Ed Candidates Answer Question #5: Community Involvement and Its Importance in the District

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5. How important to you is the community's interest, knowledge and participation in school issues? How would you go about increasing public input, if at all?

ROSE DEVRIES

The community's interest, knowledge and participation in school issue are very important to me.  I advocated to keep the right to vote on the school budget in April.  If school elections are moved to November the public will lose their right to vote on the school budget.

http://medm.gmnews.com/news/2013-01-30/Schools/Metuchen_school_board_split_on_moving_elections.html

I think it is important to encourage public participation at the Board of Education meetings.

Meetings take place on Tuesdays bi-monthly at 8pm if you are unable to attend you may view the meetings at the MeTV website:

http://www.metuchenschools.org/metuchen/About%20Metuchen%20District/MEtv/

You may review the  Board of Education meeting agendas and minutes posted on the district website:

http://www.metuchenschools.org/metuchen/Our%20District/Board%20of%20Education/

Go to the Superintendent's Open Forum taking place four times a year at either Moss, Campbell, Edgar or Metuchen High School.  Volunteer for Board of Education ad/hoc committees when committees are formed to address pertinent issues.

Join community groups such as:

The Citizens for Quality Education (CQE): http://metuchencqe.org/membership-form/

The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO): http://teacherweb.com/NJ/CampbellSchool/Campbell_Moss_PTO/2012-13-PTO-MEMBERSHIP-FORM.pdf

The Booster Club:

http://www.metuchenschools.org/mhs/Athletics/Booster%20Club/Booster%20Club%20Membership%20Form%202012-13.pdf

Support The Metuchen Education Foundation (MEF):

http://www.metucheneducationfoundation.org/Welcome.html

Attend the MEF fundraiser April 5th,:

http://www.metucheneducationfoundation.org/2013_Fundraiser.html

Please become involved we encourage your participation and input.

Feel free to contact the Board of Education with comments and concerns:

http://www.metuchenschools.org/metuchen/Our%20District/Board%20of%20Education/Contact%20Information.html/_top

MICHAEL STERN

The taxpayer has every right to be involved in their community's school system. I've seen Boards and Administrations run like exclusive clubs with little to no input from the outside, often to disastrous results. This is not the case in our town. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in this community. It should be leveraged to the maximum extent possible. However, we need to remember that we hire educators and administrators to carry out important responsibilities and that they shouldn't be micro managed.  My role on the board is to listen to all sides' ideas and use the best of them to help effect positive change. The public has a right to open communication with their school administration and educators. They should be part of the process. Consensus is a good thing but we need to run the railroad while we're building consensus so there needs to be a balance. I see this all the time in business. Too little or too much consensus building doesn't work. The balanced approach works.

JONATHAN LIFTON

One of my goals as President of the Board has been to increase communication between the community and the board.  We are in the process of overhauling the structure of our board meetings to make them more understandable and transparent.  For the first time, the minutes of our meetings are now posted on the district website.  But more then any formal changes, I hope the community has noticed a change in tone.  All comments and input are welcome at our meetings, and issues of concern are debated openly.  One example was our recent debate on whether to move our elections to November.  Whatever side of that issue you were on, I feel that all sides were heard and all views respected.  If I am re-elected, I hope to continue and enhance that openness and respect.

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