LAURA VAN WINKLE
36 Terrace Avenue
Woodland Park, NJ 07424
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Laura Van Winkle a 47 year resident of Woodland Park and a 15 year member of the Passaic Valley Board of Education. On a personal note, I worked 25 years as a Children Talent Representative, having clients on Broadway, Movies, Television and the Radio. Upon retirement, in the first two years I proceeded to spend a small fortune, because I didn’t have enough to do with my time. I then was fortunate enough to be hired by Fairway Market in their Customer Service,/Catering Department. I have two children who went to local schools and graduated from Passaic Valley, then went on to college, one to Dartmouth and one to the University of Delaware. I have always felt that my daughters’ steps to further their education were thanks to what they learned at PV. With that thought I am trying to continue on as your representative. I want to enable all of our children to pursue their education to the fullest.
During my tenure at Passaic Valley we have been able to maintain a realistic budget while providing our children with the best education. We have great educators and many of them live in our communities and want to see PV succeed. We started a “Kaplan Program” at PV which enables our youth to get a course on the SAT’s at a reasonable price. At PV we opened our own Autistic Program two years ago which would save us money yearly, and in addition allowed us to bring in children from other districts that pay us to send their kids here. The program has done so well that we had to open an additional classroom this year. Unfortunately, we have some kids that don’t qualify for this program and we have to send them out of district at a cost of up to $90,000 per year (transportation included).
My main concern at this time is the $30,000,000 that the County Freeholders are allowing Passaic County Tech to spend on a new “STEM” Building. This expenditure is going to affect all the county high schools detrimentally. I believe that Tech is wonderful school and they have many great programs. Yes, I am jealous of their indoor swimming pool and track, as well as the turf fields. They have great Vocational and Technical Programs, including building, culinary, nursing, electronics, electrical, plumbing, etc. These are programs a Vocational and Technical High School should have.
At a recent meeting there were members of BOE’s from all over Passaic County. When they told us about the addition they were planning, everyone was appalled. It seems they had it all figured out, $15 million would come from the state and the other $15 Million would come from the freeholders. When I questioned our freeholder about this, I was told they would no longer have to pay the $1 Million Dollars per year on Capital Expenditures at Tech. EVERY YEAR TECH GETS $1 MILLION DOLLARS. They were willing to forego this to get their building and our Freeholders chose to agree, even though it will cost every high school funding from their budget. Every school pays Tech $12,000 per year per student that goes there. We also supply transportation. This cost PV over $1 Million dollars this year as we have 106 students attending. When the building is done there will be room for an additional 1200 children to go there, this is at the cost of the local schools and their programs. This means, to maintain our classes and our programs we will be forced to raise taxes, because an additional (at the very least) 100 kids will go there. I attended the next freeholder meeting and asked why the public was not voting on this issue. Basically I was told they didn’t need to do that. They are in charge of the financial support for Tech.
It was shortly after I questioned the building at Tech that the Woodland Park Democrats chose to withhold their support for my candidacy which they had supported for 15 years. This is why they have spent thousands of dollars on signs, etc. to unseat me. I have spent my own money to try let everyone know I am still in the race.
If I am no longer to be there by the will of the people, I can accept that, however because of the whim of the Democratic Party who should not even be involved in school boards, I must run on my own. I believe that Passaic Valley needs an independent voice and I am sure I am the woman for the job.
I look forward to discussing this with any and all concerned residents.
Laura Van Winkle
Resident of Woodland Park for 47 years
Member of PVBOE (3 years as President
Retired Children’s Talent Manager (Stage, Screen & Radio) 25 years
Pas Treasurer of Woodland Park Senior Citizens
Secretary Woodland Park Democratic club
President of West Paterson PTA (1975-1983)
Cheerleading Coach, West Paterson Boys Club (1982-1984)