Voters Guides‎ > ‎Archives‎ > ‎

Princeton Regional School Board 2001

2001 SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, April 17, 2001

CANDIDATES FOR PRINCETON REGIONAL SCHOOL BOARD

Polls are open in Princeton from 4 PM to 9 PM

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is a nonpartisan, non-profit volunteer organization which works to promote active, informed participation of all citizens in their government. The League provide nonpartisan information on public issues, and takes action on issues after member study and consensus. In publishing this material, the League neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted.

All candidate information in this guide was compiled from candidates' responses to questionnaires. Replies are printed in the candidates' own words, without editing or verification. Due to space limitation, the candidates were given a word limit for replies. Incumbents are indicated by an asterisk (*).

Reprinting of this guide in part or in whole is not permissible without written permission of the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area.

Copyright 2001 by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following four questions to all candidates for Princeton Regional School Board:

1. What do you support as an initiative to attract substitute teachers? Should substitute positions be made permanent with an hourly rate commensurate with a salary?

2. If the Princeton Regional School District's $78.2 million school renovation and expansion referendum is passed, each of the district's six schools will be modernized and expanded. What do you see as the strengths and/or weaknesses of the components of the referendum?

3. What do you think short-term and long-term plans for the Valley Road building should be?

4. What role, if any, should Princeton Regional Schools have in providing or supporting a Pre-Kindergarten program? In planning for the Valley Road Building, should some consideration be made for the YWCA Nursery School that is currently renting space in the building?

SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES FROM
PRINCETON TOWNSHIP

Vote for Two; Term: 3 years

Howard Wainer*
ADDRESS:
 63 Governors Lane, Princeton
YEARS IN District: 13 
EDUCATION: Ph.D. '68 Princeton University (Psychometrics)
PROFESSION: Statistician
CHILDREN: Laurent (age 33), Sam (age 17 sr. at PHS)
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Member of PRS Board for 3 years.

RESPONSES:
1. We hope to be more attractive for substitute teachers by paying more than neighboring districts (we have currently changed our rate from $70/day to $85). Two problems underlie the issue of substitutes: 
(i) the need for substitutes should be reduced as much as possible, and (ii) the finding of able substitutes for technical subjects. I believe that we need to explore the possibilities for attracting and compensating substitutes who actually come and teach as opposed to merely act as study hall supervisors. To accomplish this requires that teachers make lesson plans available to subs when they (the teachers) are absent. These issues have been discussed extensively in the personnel committee and are well known to Dr. Kohn and Mr. Goldstein; they are currently considering various actions.

2. The strengths of the program are many, and indeed are too numerous to fit within the sensible length limits of this statement. The key strength is that it is the right plan at the right time. If we delay, the students will have to continue to suffer with inadequate facilities, the cost will increase, and we may no longer have state funds to help defray those costs. The weaknesses are two. First, it is unfortunate that we could not have done some of this long ago, so that the modifications required are not so massive and that the students and staff could have had facilities worthy of them. I have always felt that improvements should be done continuously, so that when tomorrow arrives the schools of tomorrow are waiting. But some changes must be done in quantum steps. This one is larger than I would like, but, because of the length of time since the last modification, it is the smallest one that is sensible. The second weakness is that it includes the swimming pool as a second question rather than as an integral part of the school program. But I hope that its modest cost ($24/year for the average household), coupled with its important potential contributions to both school and community, will allow it to pass also.

3. Valley Road can provide flexible space for various school programs. Its size and location are especially important for pre-school and after school programs. I am delighted that the completion of the new township hall will finally free up much needed space in Valley Road for educational purposes.

4. There are many misconceptions. A prominent one is that we know something about education. But now, the growing popularity of EBDM (Evidence Based Decision Making) supplanting the very widespread OBDM (Opinion Based Decision Making) and the even wider-based FBDM (Faith Based Decision Making) we are beginning to learn some things. Specifically, we know that to be effective education must begin early in a child's life. A school district can help through the implementation of pre-school programs as well as adult education for parents. We know that education is comprised of more than just schooling. A child's education includes the school of course, but also the church, the community and, most of all, the home. The district should do all that it can to aid in children's pre-school education.

 

Charlotte Bialek*
ADDRESS:
 180 Jefferson Road, Princeton, NJ 08540
YEARS IN SCHOOL DISTRICT: 10
OCCUPATION: Mother; President of the Board of Education, PRS
EDUCATION: BA (Design) University of California at Los Angeles; 3 years graduate work, College of Engineering,University of California at Berkeley
CHILDREN: Daughter, 13 years old, at John Witherspoon School; Son, 15 years old, at Princeton High
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: currently President, Board of Education, Princeton Regional Schools; participate in organization of Community Works: Workshops for Volunteer Development, past 3 years; formerly PTO co-president at Community Park Elementary School; chaired the CP Playground Committee 1996-1997; formerly president of an investment club; co-founded and ran the After School Clubs 1992-1995 involving parents and other volunteers who developed and taught short courses in a variety of subjects; organized a mural project 1991-1992 involving 40 artists working with all the classes of Community Park to make a large mural illustrating the curriculum being pursued at the time of its making; developed and worked in various school wide and class projects in science and the arts

RESPONSES: 
1. This year, the Board of Education revised its policies to raise substitute pay, and to reward substitutes for staying with us for longer periods, thus creating an incentive to become a permanent substitute. I believe that these are positive steps. The next steps should be in the direction of improving mechanisms for finding substitutes, for calling them in a timely fashion when they are needed, for training them in basic classroom management techniques, and for providing them with materials and information necessary to improve their chances of success in the classroom.

2. This referendum is long overdue. It addresses urgent needs for adequate space to deliver the educational programs of the district to a growing population of students. Among its strengths are that: it grew out of several years of careful analysis and planning with the intensive involvement of all constituencies; it addresses all enrollment and program requirements anticipated for the next decade; it is a lean but comprehensive plan flexible enough to incorporate unforeseen future needs; and it would finally correct the deplorable conditions present in our schools. In addition, for the first time, the State is prepared to contribute approximately 20 to 25% to the cost of these projects. I believe this is worth pursuing now. The principal weakness of the plan is also its strength, and that is that the tight planning would make it difficult to alter the plans if voters will not support the referendum as it is. I also regret that we can never do enough when money is a factor.

3. In the short term, and if the referendum is successful, school district needs during construction, such as swing space and storage space, will be major components of planning for Valley Road; the YWCA Nursery School and Corner House will continue as tenants and other short term tenancies are under consideration. In the long term, I believe that planning should include various community, educational or advisory services such as senior or youth services, fitness centers, museum or gallery space, or additional social service offices or clinics. A critical issue for joint use will be management and sharing of costs. We also must consider the condition of the building, what renovation or rebuilding might be necessary, and the possibility of relocating some school district functions, such as bus parking, warehousing and workshops, to open up more space in this potentially key component of town life.

4. The Princeton Regional Schools currently has a partnership program with the YWCA Nursery School at Valley Road and the Princeton Nursery School on Leigh Avenue. The purpose of the partnership is to enhance the efficacy of nursery school programming and services to prepare children for success in school. I strongly support this program and would like to see it intensified and possibly expanded in some way to include the other local nursery schools. Yes, planning for the Valley Road building must include consideration of the YWCA Nursery School; there is limited affordable space in Princeton for this essential service.

 

SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES FROM
PRINCETON BOROUGH

Vote for One; Term: 3 years

Alan K. Hegedus
ADDRESS
: 56 Armour Road, Princeton Borough
YEARS IN SCHOOL DISTRICT: 12 (Township and Borough)
EDUCATION: BS, Engineering - Youngstown State University
OCCUPATION: Corporate Executive (Retired)
CHILDREN: Six adult children, five grandchildren (four in Princeton)
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Past Chairman, Princeton Area United Way; Member - Nassau Club, Springdale Golf Club; Republican Assn. of Princeton Board Member; Candidate for Borough Council (1998); Library Special Study Committee (2000)

RESPONSES:
1. The attracting and hiring of substitute teachers (as well as other staff positions) is an administrative task assigned to the superintendent and staff. Their proposals must first be considered and endorsed (or not) by the school board in its oversight function. Substitute positions should not be made permanent with benefits equivalent to full time staff positions.

2. The $78.2 million school expansion and renovation referendum is laudatory for its comprehensiveness and high standards. The current school board is to be complimented for diligence and courage in - finally bringing this dire need to the consciousness of the community. The weakness of the plan lies in the financial shock imposed on the taxpayers of Princeton and the degree of difficulty facing us in implementing such a large project on time and on budget. It will take a major management commitment to execute this investment properly in our community, which has a poor history in expenditures just a fraction of this scope.


3. The Valley Road building deserves a better fate than recent discussions regarding alternatives have afforded. I believe that more serious thought should have been given to using this site to satisfy some of the recent space needs for which Princeton organizations are about to spend nearly $100 million of private or public funds (schools, library, Arts Council, Borough and Township offices, ......). It may not be too late to consider a final use of Valley Road within these current needs, but the financial realities of Princeton and its taxpayers will have to be given a priority not often voiced. 

4. Regarding a prekindergarten program, it would appear untimely for the Princeton Regional Schools to consider expanding its scope beyond its current educational reach until the space and other constraints on resources are brought into balance.