My name is Peter Fallon and I am running for re-election to the Watchung Hills Regional High School Board of Education. I am completing my third term on the Watchung Hills Regional High School Board and before that I served two terms on the Warren Township K to 8 Board of Education. I have lived in Warren since 1991. I am an attorney who specializes in litigation and independent investigations in employment and student matters for school districts around the state. Consistently throughout my nine years as a member of the WHRHS Board I have been a strong advocate and voice for fiscal responsibility while at the same time finding ways to fund the wide variety of courses and extracurriculars that the WHRHS offers. I am currently the chair of the Board’s Finance and Operations Committee. Last year I led the effort to obtain board and voter approval of a referendum which resulted in the State approving over $330,000 in state aid for the replacement of the old artificial turf. The original turf field was worn out and could not have continued to be used, so the project had to go forward. The project would have cost the District the entire $970,000 if the referendum had not been approved. By helping to convince voters to approve the referendum I helped bring in over $330,000 in state aid that we would not have otherwise received. I also supports the efforts being made by the Board to increase revenues from use of the facilities by outside groups and from advertising on the fields.
I am one of two board members who served on the committees which developed the strategic plan adopted by the Board this past Spring. My focus there is improving the guidance department so that more of our mid-level students can get into competitive and highly competitive colleges. I was also recently been selected to become a member of the Legislative Committee of the New Jersey School Boards Association.
I am proud of the part I have played in the accomplishments of the WHRHS Board during my three terms on the Board. The Board has expanded the number and variety of Advanced Placement course offerings through which WHRHS can and do receive college credits. It has improved the guidance department both through greater professional development and training for our guidance counselors and teachers writing recommendation letters and providing more resources such as the Naviance system which provides students and their parents with a great deal of information about colleges that are likely to accept them based upon similarities with the records of prior accepted WHRHS graduates. The Board has greatly expanded the arts department courses. In the last several years the Board has also greatly increased the variety of elective courses that it offers. And in the last two years the Board has shifted towards deciding which electives to offer in a given year based more on the courses students sign up for and less on what the teachers want to teach.
I am proud of the fact, that over the nine years that I have been a member of the board, WHRHS has consistently had around 80% or more of its students participating in sports and/or other extracurricular clubs and activities at the high school. This, combined with the wide variety of elective courses offered and the fact that the Board has moved towards deciding which elective courses to offer each year based more upon what the students sign up for than on what the teachers want to teach, results in more students being more involved and engaged at school and less likely to get into or cause trouble. That is one of the reasons why I and the rest of the Board have consistently supported strong course offerings in the core subjects and a wide variety of electives, sports and extracurricular clubs and activities.