My name is Robert Cianciulli and I am campaigning to become the first new member of our School Board in some years to be elected directly by the voters. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote my Candidate Statement. I would be grateful if you would take a moment to check it out.
At this point in time, the only thing I would add to it is that, first and foremost, I am running simply as a single parent who cares about our community, not about the power that comes with being on School Board. I am the only parent on the ballot this year and, if elected, I would also be the only parent on the School Board out of 7 members. I believe strongly that School Boards make the best and most balanced decisions when its members are primarily comprised of residents who are both taxpayers and parents.
I feel that the Board needs someone like me who truly believes that there's no contradiction for a School Board member to be supportive of parents, students, and teachers, as well as taxpayers. I don't understand why the School Board and the residents are often at odds. I don’t believe that needs to be the case. I recall last year's negotiations of the teachers' contracts and the protracted and unnecessarily contentious way in which it was handled by the Board. This is something that I know quite a bit about since, as a corporate attorney, I have been negotiating very challenging contracts every day for over 20 years. The relationship between our school community and our Board is so vital but, unfortunately, that relationship is not going to be so easily mended. It will take quite a bit of time, but I am hopeful that we can get back to where we all need to be as a community.
As a Board member, I will owe each of you the respect that I, myself, believe I am entitled to. I have been walking around knocking on residents' doors these last several weeks and was surprised to hear how many people feel that their voices often aren't being heard or respected by the Board. I am disappointed to have heard this so often.
The bottom line is that I am here for you---all of you. And if you see me around town, please come up and say hello. Please don’t feel that you have to pay a sitter for the night for your kids in order to come to a Board Meeting to speak to me. I need to know your own impressions of our community, not just during election season, but all year around. I am humbled by your support. And I promise never to forget it.
Candidate For Berkeley Heights School Board
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