To my fellow residents,
I feel there is currently a disconnect between the board, teachers and residents and a lack of transparency from the board. The Board of Education budget is 65% of our property taxes and spending has increased by over 30 million dollars in the last ten years. It is critical to control spending by sharing services with the Village and working with the Village Council in an effort to stabilize or reduce spending. I want to make sure we are working as one community, the Board of Education and the Village Council should be working together and sharing purchasing opportunities, maintenance costs, security and any other costs that can be shared in an effort to reduce spending.
I feel I can bring a new voice to the Board that can benefit our residents, students, teachers and staff. I am one person who will always support funding for programs that will enhance our school district and deliver superior services to our students, however, we must be prudent with those very tax dollars and prioritize what are the major concerns, so we have money available from year to year and not max out the budget every year.
We had a large increase in state aid, however, our taxes have increased. We need to control the outrageous spending that has become a huge problem for our residents. We must commit to really managing the budget and prioritizing spending, so we can stabilize taxes while providing superior services.
I feel it’s important to have people on the board that have kids in the school’s system. With a 5th and 7th grader, I have a vested interest to see that decisions are made or at least thought through from someone who’s children will be directly impacted by those decisions. I understand professional development is also critical to success, by learning new and innovative ways to teach we can work to raise our test scores and ranking.
School and student safety are a priority, this includes placing a school resource officer in the schools and working toward a comprehensive drug program that will benefit our children. I think we absolutely need the safety officer that the BOE doesn’t want to help pay for and I would work with the Village Council to ensure this happens. The lack of a comprehensive drug and alcohol programs to help reduce the use of dangerous substances is also of great concern to me. We need to implement a comprehensive drug and alcohol program to educate students at an early age of the dangers of using drugs or alcohol, this can be accomplished by working with the Police Department and with the use of the School Resource Officer.
Lastly, we need to work with the teacher’s union to settle the contract issue. There’s no doubt the schools are the #1 reason families move to Ridgewood. As the only (potential) member of the BOE with kids currently in the school system and for a long time, I know how important settling the contracts is. It will be one of my main goals to work with the teacher’s union and come up with a solution that both sides are happy with.