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 Madeline Avery.
1. Why are you running?
I believe that one of the responsibilities and duties of American citizenship to contribute your talents to the service of the community. This is my home and I believe I can contribute my talents and knowledge to the goal of continually improving our educational community. I appreciate the fact that Board members volunteer their time out their sense of civic duty and I am ready to accept the challenge.
2. What do you feel are the most pressing issues?
The most important issue is to provide Galloway’s children with the best education possible while using taxpayer dollars efficiently. Education is one of the most important services provided to the children of our community. Although the 2 % property tax cap presents fiscal challenges to fulfilling the mission of providing a thorough and efficient education – it is a challenge we have to meet. This requires creativity, which will force us to think outside of the box.
3. What changes would you make to what the current Board is doing?
If elected, my focus will be to examine areas where we can eliminate redundancy and further increase efficiency by sharing services which will save taxpayer dollars. That examination will include evaluating the current operations and discussing with other local school boards and government officials to determine where we can enter into agreements to share services. These are very challenging times that require all local elected officials to be having an open dialogue of how we can make the most of our decreasing tax revenue. In addition, I will advocate for a joint budget presentation between the Galloway School Board, Greater Egg Harbor Regional School Board and the Galloway Municipal Government to provide Galloway taxpayers with an all inclusive presentation of how their taxpayer dollars are being spent.
4. What are some of the positive things you believe the current Board is doing/has done?
I was disappointed with the outcome of the two failed referendums. One of our top priorities should always be the safety of our students. Maintaining our schools facilities is part of creating a safe environment for children to learn. Resulting from the failure of those referendums the school board has begun setting aside money to address these issues. As always, the challenge for members of the Board will be to make wise spending decisions to provide the essential services for our students while maintaining the facilities.
5. What would you bring to the Board that no one else can bring, i.e. strengths, experience, etc?
I am a public school educator of 27 years. I am currently employed by Greater Egg Harbor Regional serving as a Social Studies teacher in Absegami. In 2011, I was awarded the Absegami Teacher of the Year. Formerly, I was the President of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional Education Association. My strength is as a creative problem solver who seeks information to make the best decision possible.
6. What is your educational background? Have you ever held political office?
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies/Secondary Education from Montclair State University. I have never 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?
I agree with the school board’s majority opinion to move the election to November. Historically, voter turnout for school board elections has been very low. Moving the election to November presents the opportunity to increase voter participation.
8. What are your thoughts on the current busing situation?
My number one priority regarding the busing situation is safety. The consortium is valuable because it is a sharing of service that saves taxpayer dollars. There is no amount of money worth being saved that puts student safety at risk. When elected, this will be an issue that will have my complete attention.
9. Tell me a little about your personal background?
I was born in Secaucus NJ and have lived in South Jersey since 1984. I moved from Absecon to Galloway in 2001. I am married with a 14 year old son who currently attends Absegami.