ELECT EVAN LERNER TO THE BRIDGEWATER-RARITAN REGIONAL BOARD OF EDUCATION
Election Day is this Tuesday, Nov. 7. It is the day we as Americans get to show up and participate in our futures and the futures of our children by voting and electing candidates for office who we believe will best represent our interests. I write today to urge you to vote so your voice is heard. I request that you support my candidacy for a seat on the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional Board of Education. The ballot for school board candidates is under the special questions. I am candidate No. 3.
Who represents you on your local school board will likely impact you and your family’s lives more directly than who represents you for the other offices up for grabs. The great majority of your real estate taxes go to the schools. And your children will reap tangible dividends for getting a great K-12 education. Your vote matters and I urge you to be guided by experience, qualifications and, most of all, relevant achievements.
In discussing the election last night, a friend pointedly asked, “Why you?” It’s a simple but fair question, and one I could answer in several pages. Instead, I highlight a few reasons why I am the best candidate for the job and address them to different groups of stakeholders as priorities are, of course, different for different people.
For students/parents of students – for the last 22 years, I have run a successful employment agency placing people in jobs at all levels. As a result, I am expert in matching people to jobs, focusing on traits that matter and managing people. While vice president on the board of education several years ago, I spearheaded the search that resulted in the district hiring Dr. Michael Schilder as its superintendent. Mike served the district for over six years and implemented many changes that helped catapult the Bridgewater-Raritan school district’s national and state rankings. On the flip side I was one of only two board members who wanted to hire a superintendent candidate other than Victor Hayek 3 ½ years ago. Dr. Hayek’s resume demonstrated his inability to stay in one job or even one career for long and I argued correctly that constantly changing jobs is the reddest of flags. But the board nevertheless hired him. Dr. Hayak stayed in the job less than a year and I’m told has had multiple jobs in the time since leaving B-R. The district has now had three superintendents in three years. With the real possibility of several principals in the district retiring in the next few years it is vital that the board exercise sound judgment in approving hiring decisions and I bring that sound judgment and experience to the equation.
For stakeholders without children in the district – my track record of keeping tax increases in check is outstanding. While I was on the board we reduced the tax levy increase by 50 percent. In the three years since the tax levy increase has gone up by 75 percent. Last year the increase was 3.54 percent and it was implemented without voter approval using a loophole to bypass the 2 percent cap. Further, during my tenure, Bridgewater-Raritan became not only one of the highest achieving districts in Somerset County, it became one of the most efficient financially in terms of dollars spent per pupil. A great education within our means has always been my mantra and it will remain the same if elected.
For our business stakeholders - positive working relationships between a school system and companies located within the district provide benefits for all in the community. While on the board, I worked closely with the superintendent to connect the district with Henkel Corporation, a leading manufacturing company with headquarters in town. As a result, today B-R students have internship and work study opportunities they did not have before and Henkel is achieving its goal of being involved in the community. As a board member, I would seek to work with our administrators to investigate other similar mutually beneficial connections. With local companies such as Linde Americas, Sanofi US., PVH Corp., MetLife and more, the possibilities are endless.
For teachers, administrators, and other staff – a board of education member should not only perform her/his statutory functions but also be a supporter of district employees. I believe teachers and administrators should be empowered to do their jobs to the best of their ability and be given the support and guidance needed to do so without undue interference by board members. My actions as a board member for almost 10 years illustrate that I am indeed guided by these beliefs.
A candidate for all stakeholders is definitely the best candidate for your vote.