For the first time in history, Galloway Township Board of Education candidates are on the ballot in the November election. The Galloway Township School District has three open seats, each carrying a three-year term. Eight candidates are running for these seats.
Galloway Patch asked each candidate the same questions for this year's candidate profiles. Below are the responses from candidate Sherri Parmenter.
1. Why are you running?
I think it is my obligation to serve our community by contributing knowledge gained from my educational experiences in helping our community. The needs of all Galloway students can best be met by seeking to increase parental involvement in their child’s education.
2. What do you feel are the most pressing issues?
Having any Galloway School placed on the focus list for having large achievement gaps by the New Jersey Department of Education is a concern. In addition, three specific sub-groups of students consistently appear to be performing below the state minimum level of proficiency. Closing the achievement gap is the most pressing educational issue.
3. What changes would you make to what the current Board is doing?
Galloway’s school budget and the resulting property taxes will always be a priority. To provide the best education for our children while keeping property taxes stable will continue to be a challenge during these difficult economic times. That is why we need to evaluate the areas in which we can increase the sharing of services. No longer do we have the resources to be an entity unto ourselves.
4. What are some of the positive things you believe the current Board is doing/has done?
Thank you to the school board members for their implementation of an energy efficiency program.
5. What would you bring to the Board that no one else can bring, i.e. strengths, experience, etc?
Galloway is a diverse community. As an African-American, disabled female - I bring a unique set of life experiences which can provide insight to benefit our community. I believe my knowledge and expertise in literacy and technology will enhance the goals of Galloway Public Schools.
6. What is your educational background? Have you ever held political office?
I have a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Rowan University, a Master of Instructional Technology from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, a law degree from Atlanta Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Hampton University. I have never held a political office, although, I have served on several volunteer boards.
7. What are your thoughts on the election moving to November, and of the Board of Education approving the budget without putting it before the voters first?
Moving the election to November will increase voter turnout for Board of Education elections. The education budget is, nearly, two times the size of the municipal budget and deserves more voter participation. It has always been my belief that if voters were allowed to vote on Galloway’s school budget then they should have been allowed to vote on Galloway’s municipal budget. Since that was not the case, I agree with Governor Christie in allowing the school board to pass a budget that falls under the property tax cap.
8. What are your thoughts on the current busing situation?
The current busing situation appears satisfactory to date. During the 2011–2012 school years, I was very dismayed over the accidents involving our school children. Safety is always my primary concern.
9. Tell me a little about your personal background?
I have lived in Galloway for 10 years and have one offspring.