As candidates for Berkeley Heights Town Council, we were contacted by the local teacher’s union (the “BHEA”) seeking written responses to various questions focused on the Berkeley Heights Public Schools in order to potentially obtain their endorsement.  We would like to make public our response (see Letter to BHEA below) that we sent to the BHEA earlier today.  

We are unclear why the BHEA is seeking to be involved in the upcoming local election given that the Town Council has no authority or control over education policy. The Berkeley Heights Public Schools are the responsibility of the Board of Education, a non-partisan, elected body.  We are also confident that the residents of Berkeley Heights agree that there should continue to be a clear separation between partisan politics and our children’s educations.  Thank you.

Letter to the Berkeley Heights Education Association:

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To the Berkeley Heights Education Association,

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Berkeley Heights Town Council election.  We are proud to be running to serve all residents of Berkeley Heights.  

Public education is immensely important, not only to those members of our community who have children attending our public schools, but to all property owners.  A strong public-school system maintains property values throughout the township.  However, we are unclear why you are seeking to be involved in this election given that the Town Council has no authority or control over education policy. Accordingly, we are not seeking the endorsement of the BHEA as we believe this is simply a charade for your organization to put its weight--and its funding--behind our opponent, Susan Poage, who happens to be a teacher.  

In our opinion, the last thing that Berkeley Heights needs is special interest money involved in our local elections. 

Very truly yours, 

Jeanne Kingsley and Jeff Varnerin