Four candidates seek three seats on North Brunswick school board

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NORTH BRUNSWICK – A former board member, a newcomer and two incumbents will face off for three three-year seats on the North Brunswick Board of Education.

David Brockman has lived in town for 38 years. His 9-year-old attends Livingston Park Elementary School and his 11-year-old attends Linwood Middle School.

He works as a project manager for a construction management firm. He volunteers for The Hugs for Brady Foundation and is a girls softball coach for the North Brunswick Baseball and Softball Association.

In seeking his second term, Brockman said he is focused on solving overcrowding, especially as the North Brunswick Middle School project is underway.

He also said equal education for all, regardless of where a child is on the educational spectrum, is important.

“Special education students are just as important as the kids who are advanced proficient,” he said.

In addition, he said school security is very important.

“We have worked hard to secure the properties, but slow and steady upgrades will continue to improve the security of our buildings,” he said.

Richard D. Liguori is a lifelong resident of North Brunswick. His wife is an English teacher at South Brunswick High School. They had both attended Judd Elementary School, Linwood Middle School and North Brunswick Township High School. Their three children currently attend the same three schools.

He is a finance manager who previously served on the school board from 2007-15. He was a board president for five years and vice president for one year. He served on all of the board committees and chaired the Business Operations Committee.

Within the community, Liguori has been an executive board member/director of recreation scheduling and coach for the North Brunswick Soccer Club, treasurer of the North Brunswick Foundation of Educational and Community Excellence, lector and choir member at Our Lady of Peace Church, treasurer of the North Brunswick Historical Society, co-chair of the North Brunswick Anniversary Galas, charter member of the Knights of Columbus Council 11378 at Our Lady of Peace Church, a past Grand Knight for the council, and a former member of the North Brunswick Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Liguori said if he were to serve on the school board again, he would work to eliminate the achievement gap.

“I will continue to work with our administrators to pursue avenues for modern, technologically-advanced curriculum accessible to all levels of learners and with a focus on both equity and excellence. I will keep close contact with these administrators as they continue to study student data, and I will work to assess and, if necessary, reallocate resources to ensure that all of North Brunswick’s students are given every opportunity to reach their full potential,” he said.

He also will concentrate on fiscal responsibility.

“According to Trenton’s own funding formula, our school district has been severely underfunded for many years now. Despite this year’s additional funding, I will continue to push legislators in Trenton, side by side with board members and administrators, to understand that North Brunswick deserves the full funding to which it is entitled. Additionally, it is imperative that the new middle school construction schedule needs to be both on time and on budget. In regard to both capital and operating expenses, I will continue to insist on bottoms-up budgeting, clean audits, favorable bond ratings and shared services with the township,” he said.

In addition, he said transparency and open communication are of concern to him.

“The board should consider different and more up-to-date ways to complement current cable broadcasts of public meetings. To this end, I will work together with board members to explore further usage of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to deliver timely information from our school district,” he said.

Howard Liu has been a resident of North Brunswick for 21 years, having gone through the K-12 education system in the town; he is a 2009 graduate of North Brunswick Township High School.
 
 Serving as a program analyst for the U.S. Army as an Army civilian, he has tried for the past couple years to join the North Brunswick Board of Education (BOE) in order to “fight for a more transparent government.:
 “I would make sure to fully represent the people of North Brunswick, since that is the number one job as an elected official. I will ‘vote’ no on all motions to proceed to a closed door session during the public monthly meetings. All meetings should be open to the public since the decisions that the BOE makes affects students, teachers and residents of North Brunswick. 
“The last video of a BOE meeting on the nbtschools.org website is from 2014. Every monthly BOE meeting needs to be there shortly after the meetings take place so a member of the public can view the meeting afterward if they are unable to attend in person. Minutes should be posted within 24 hours as well,” he said.
Liu said he is also focused on quality education without increasing taxes.  
 
“I will speak out strongly against any tax increases for North Brunswick residents with the state already leading the country with the highest property taxes. I will work to improve the graduation rate in North Brunswick since it is important for every child to graduate high school so that they may pursue the career goal they see fit. I would also focus on making civics classes a requirement since it is important for all children to be informed on the important issues of the day so they can be educated, informed citizens and have a positive contribution to society. We need to get the educators and supervisors on the same page in order to wholeheartedly prioritize our students,” he said.  
 
Liu also said there needs to be less focus on the bureaucracy of the administration. 
“Students should feel comfortable to go directly to the North Brunswick BOE to speak out with issues they have with administrators and administration. I would encourage all current students, teachers and taxpayers to come to the monthly BOE meetings and speak out during the time allotted for the public to speak with all their issues and concerns. I would go through the rules and regulations of K-12 students and see what we can do on the BOE to make their educational experiences better such as cutting unnecessary and unreasonable rules and regulations. The number one job of the administration should be to put the educational experiences of our students first. I will make sure the BOE does the important job in holding the superintendent, principals and administration accountable since the policies the administration enact affect the educational experiences of K-12 students in North Brunswick.”
Incumbent Claribel Cortes could not be reached by press time.
Election Day is Nov. 7.