As a former member of the Garwood Board of Education and a substitute teacher at Lincoln School for the past four years, it came as a surprise to me when I read a local Patch article regarding forced mergers for K-8 districts throughout New Jersey.  According to the article, Garwood was listed as a possible candidate to become regionalized.  While money has been earmarked to study school consolidation, no definite plans have been announced.  However, having been involved with Garwood schools in various capacities, it greatly concerned me that this possibility could even exist.

One of the events that I look forward to each year is the EFG (Education Foundation of Garwood) banquet recognizing a Lincoln School teacher of the year.  At this event, one of our many outstanding teachers is celebrated for their incredible dedication to our students and for creating an atmosphere that embraces academic achievement and community spirit.  As a substitute teacher I am inspired by these devoted professionals who selflessly give their time and energy for the benefit of our kids.  At this point, I worry that consolidating our district will take away the small town with a big heart identity that has been nurtured since the inception of Lincoln School.

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As a member of the joint committee that consists of the Board of Education, Garwood’s governing body, and Planning Board, we will continue to keep the lines of communication open to respond assertively and thoughtfully to this issue and any others that may impact the school children of our community.

I believe in proactively standing up for our educators and students, and will continue to do so if elected on November 5th.

Councilman Russell Graham

Council Candidate (D)