Dear neighbors,

At the beginning of 2020, despite the overwhelming chaos, it seemed like a year that we all came together. Despite the dark clouds and despair, there was always a silver lining. People paid more attention to one another, rekindled relationships, offered aid to those they could, and we all grew because of it. Now we are nearing the end of this tumultuous year, and it seems that we are starting to drift apart again. After all, another presidential election day is upon us, and the political divide can be felt in full force. For the presidential, senate, and house elections, this is all too common, and of course our norm… but not in education.

I am very disappointed to see politics looking to interfere with our local school board election once again. For many years it was known and accepted that politics would stay out of our schools, because when we are struggling to empower kids with math and language arts, we certainly don’t need the opinions of politics bearing down on us. N.J.S.A. 19:60-1 says that no political party designation may appear on the school board ballot, and for good reason. The Commissioner of Education even has traditionally frowned upon endorsements from political parties, because school board elections should remain nonpartisan. Sadly, that is not the situation we find ourselves in. With all due respect to our elected leaders (many of whom I went to school with your sons and daughters), many others and myself really wish you would have allowed the best man to win on their own efforts.

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I am not running on someone’s “team.”

I won’t take endorsements or contributions from any special interest.

I am entirely independent with no political affiliation.

I certainly would never create any conflict of interest that would keep me from performing 100% on the Board of Education.

However, I am running for Wood-Ridge. I am running for the students, parents, teachers, and all other residents that while the pandemic was at its peak had questions go unanswered. I’m running because as I sat at home during quarantine I did not like what I saw. I saw people who were confused and hurting, and they needed any sort of reassurance that things were going in the right direction. I’m running because now more than ever we need someone who is willing to bring people together, instead of stake claims of a “team.” Education is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it is an issue of the future. Leave the parties and “teams” to Trump and Biden, and let’s make Wood-Ridge about community instead. If you're sick and tired of the politicians and the divide in this country, let's start fixing it here. Keep education the way it was always meant to be, about the kids, and not about the politics.

-Dylan O'Byrne

Visit https://www.dylanforboe.com/ for more information