This paper recently published a letter from one of our school board members. In that letter, this elected official suggested that we switch back to a 7-8th grade middle school concept and consider a Princeton Plan as ways to make an originally proposed $87 million bond potentially cost residents only a third to a quarter of that amount. That's an awfully steep discount for which we should know exactly what the schools and students are and are not getting in return. From my recollection of attending school board meetings, a 7-8th grade middle school is both inappropriate and obsolete. The Princeton Plan is completely news to me but smacks of "educational profiling" which is not too far off from what New Jersey State Troopers have been recently accused of.
Of even greater concern in his letter, was the claim that "nothing has changed since the May 16 election and that the board has done almost nothing on the subject of the bond proposal and alternative plan." With many options to consider, this board member says in his letter "from where I sit, I don't see the process moving forward effectively." Finally he says if the community doesn't provide the board of education with input, "the board will decide it for you."
Easy to recall were the many vocal community members who attended school board meetings, the majority tending to favor significant changes and improvements to our public schools desperately in need of adequate space and facilities to accommodate the growing population. The silent majority spoke at the polls. The outcome would seem to be a "dream team" board committed to a new approach with wild enthusiasm about making their vision seen and felt. My takeaway from his letter is somewhat different and reminds me of the ending line of the film, The Candidate in which the newly elected senator played by Robert Redford says to his handlers, "what do I do now?"
This newly elected board does deserve our continued support and input, but the responsibility and accountability of presenting well-conceived, strategically sound programs that can be implemented quickly is on them, not us. Please share your thinking, not your rhetoric.