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 Ersi Tollja.
1. Why are you running?
In 1997, seeking opportunity, my family came to the United States from Albania. I have resided in Galloway since 2000 and attended Galloway Middle School and Absegami High School which instilled my sense of civic duty. I think that it is my responsibility to give back to the community that has provided much for my family.
2. What do you feel are the most pressing issues?
The most pressing issue, at any time, is to make sure our children have what they need to be successful. During these tight fiscal times, we do not have the luxury to provide for desires. When elected, I will make sure that every taxpayer dollar spent provides a direct benefit to preparing our children for their future.
3. What changes would you make to what the current Board is doing?
When elected, I will review to determine where we can increase a sharing of equipment and services between Galloway Municipal Government and Board of Education. Tax revenue has sharply decreased and we need to be creative to provide our children with what they need without exceeding the 2% property tax cap. My goal will be to ensure that we are getting our money’s worth for every tax dollar spent.
4. What are some of the positive things you believe the current Board is doing/has done?
The Galloway Board of Education has provided the funding needed to further integrate technology in the classroom to support student learning.
5. What would you bring to the Board that no one else can bring. i.e. strengths, experience, etc?
As a young civic minded individual, I can bring fresh perspective to the educational issues that affect the youth of our community. I believe that we need to prepare our children with skills for the 21st century. As a Richard Stockton College student, I can bring my knowledge and experiences to benefit the education of our children.
6. What is your educational background? Have you ever held political office?
I finished my B.A. in Political Science and Education at The Richard Stockton College and am currently enrolled in the Special Education Graduate program. I have not previously held a political office.
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 provides voters the opportunity to vote, at one time, for all the prospective candidates to represent our community. Any measure that presents an opportunity to increase voter participation and save taxpayer dollars is worthwhile. Since no other governmental budget is voted on by the public, I see no problem with the school budget not being voted on by the public if it stays within the 2% tax cap. That is why we have elections.
8. What are your thoughts on the current busing situation?
Given past history, I have concerns about the company that services the district’s busing contract. Nothing is more important than the safety of our students. Saving taxpayer dollars can not replace the need for student safety.
9. Tell me a little about your personal background
I’m a big Eagles fan, and there is nothing else that I’d rather do then watch an Eagles game on Sunday with my family and friends.