Incumbents on Monroe school board focus on referendum

MONROE โ€” Addressing student growth and fighting for school funding fairness top the priorities for the incumbents who won the three, three-year seats available on the Board of Education.

Incumbent Jill DeMaio garnered the most votes with 6,426, incumbent Steven Riback followed with 6,015 and incumbent Kathy Kolupanowich received 4,348 in the election on Nov. 7.

Candidate Michael Elgawly received 3,916 in his losing bid for his first term.

DeMaio, who will serve her second term, said she takes her position as a board member very seriously and will continue to work hard for the students and the community. She said the district’s biggest challenge is the unprecedented growth the township is experiencing.

“We are planning for a referendum in March for a new middle school,” she said. “This will be the first step in addressing the growth. In addition to the growth, we must continue to educate the whole child and provide all the students of this district the best education we can.”

DeMaio said her goal is to give every child an exemplary education and prepare them for their future.

Kolupanowich said she is humbled and honored that the Monroe Township community has elected her to a seventh term on the Board of Education.

She said in working with her fellow board members, there are three areas that she believes are important to accomplish: continue to fight to get a new state fair funding formula in order to alleviate the school tax burden on residents and reduce property taxes; deal with the increasing student population in the district by supporting the referendum for a new middle school; and concentrate on the districtโ€™s curriculum needs to raise test scores and make Monroe more competitive when getting into college.

Riback, who will serve his second term, said representing the students, staff and residents is an honor and very humbling. He said as he enters his next term, the board has to balance fiscal efficiency with educational excellence.

“Currently, the growth in student enrollment is our biggest challenge,” he said. “The board has approved a referendum for an additional middle school and we will be developing further plans for a new elementary and addition to the high school in the near future.”

Riback said it is important to note, however, that academics and programs to meet the varying needs of the students in the district are always key considerations.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.