To the Editor:
I decided several months ago to seek election for a two-year term as a board member on the Bayonne Board of Education. I feel that my life and work experiences have qualified me for this position. I can be an asset if elected on November 3.
I found it very disheartening that Mayor Davis has chosen to endorse his handpicked candidates in this the first school board election in over 35 years. Yes, mayors in other towns endorse candidates, but I believe that this first time around Mayor Davis should not endorse anyone. This being said because it was the Davis administration that placed the elected school board question on the ballot last November. If Mayor Davis wanted a say on how the school board was chosen he should have not advocated for an elected one, but continued with an appointed board.
There are many issues facing our educational system today. The predominant one is Common Core and PARCC Testing. Teachers today spend too much time preparing students for these tests and not enough time effectively teaching the skills to succeed in life.
School safety is a concern, with violence in our schools occurring almost on a daily basis throughout the United States. I am the only candidate with a supervisory law enforcement and public safety background. The district’s current plan is good, but it can be better. We need to properly equip our staff and students with ways to protect themselves in all areas of safety. I hope and pray that we would never see the day that a Newtown or Columbine incident happens in Bayonne.
Our aging school buildings are a third issue. We need 21st century classrooms and facilities. This takes money, and as another candidate proposed giving those over 55 years old who do not have children in school a tax break, that is not possible. It would take an act of the state legislature to do so. I propose that the state pick up a good portion of the cost of new construction for any school building in the state of New Jersey over 100 years old that state pick up a good portion of the cost for new construction. This happened with the new Public School 20 in Jersey City on the corner of Ocean and Cator Avenues. The Davis administration also needs to stop issuing tax abatements over 10 years to new developers, because that will negatively impact future board of education budgets. The board of education only gets ten percent of whatever the city receives. Anything less will cause the board no other option but to raise additional revenues through taxation.
As for negotiations between teachers and support staff I believe my expertise as a former union official with both the Hudson County Sheriff’s Superior Officers Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #127 and Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer PBA Local #334 has prepared me to be fair concerning both the taxpayers and employees. We do not need strikes or job actions.
I hope you feel I am a worthy candidate who will listen to all individuals and try to resolve all issues in a favorable way for our staff, students, and the taxpayers. Please vote 14D on November 3.
CHRISTOS M, GENES