This year's board of education election presents stark choices for our community. There are three vacancies, two for three-year terms and one for one year to complete the term vacated by David Strom.
The candidacies of Frank Russo, Peter Wezenaar and Joel Katz should be a real source of concern for members of the community. All three have stated that they feel that our community cannot afford to provide the level of educational excellence that it currently does and that their priority is to cut taxes, even if they dig deep into the muscle and bone of our educational program.
Frank Russo has long been an activist for more religion in our schools as well as for draconian cuts to school funding. He has stated that much money could be saved by increasing elementary school class sizes as high as 30 children because "the home the child comes from is the determining factor for school success" and class size doesn't matter. Will this defeatist attitude give our children the educational opportunity to reach their fullest potential? I don't think so.
When Peter Wezenaar was on the BOE he advocated banning books and complained that teacher-recommended literature was not vetted for political content, allowing too many "liberal" books in the curriculum. These men are members of far right religious organizations. I fear for my (non-Christian) children and anticipate that they may be discriminated against and made to feel excluded within a school system run by them.
Mark Marcellus, Rob Seiden and Larry Greenstein present a clear alternative to this terrifying picture. Marcellus and Greenstein became involved in our schools from two seemingly very different points of view, Mark as an advocate for gifted and talented students and Larry as an advocate for the disabled. Each has transcended these interests to work on behalf of every student in our schools and both consistently labor to increase the depth, equity and rigor of our educational program. In his work on the BOE Budget Committee, Rob Seiden has used his business acumen to wring every penny of value out of each dollar for the benefit of our students. Our school district would be in good hands with these men on the board.
If you have pride in our community and hope for our children, please vote for Marcellus, Seiden and Greenstein on May 17.