OLD BRIDGE — Two incumbents and one former board member are expected to fill the three, three-year terms open on the Old Bridge Board of Education.
Salvatore DiPrima and Richard J. Dunn will serve their third consecutive terms on while former member Kelly Ellis-Foster will serve her second term.
Salvatore DiPrima, 60, who is a 24-year resident of the township, is married with two adult children.
“The Board of Education has undergone a renaissance of sorts during my tenure and I’d like to be a part of the continued growth and improvement to our school district,” he said. “We’ve made a difference with new initiatives, such as full day kindergarten; iPad, Kindle and stream distribution; defeat of the proposed charter school; and implementation of a five-year strategic action plan to name a few, the latter two coming about under my presidency. We’re not done, and I’d like to be a part of the future.”
DiPrima said there are many factors involved in a successful school district.
“In order to stay ahead we must always look for ways to improve,” he said, noting a quote from Schools Superintendent David Cittadino, “The biggest room in any organization is the room for improvement.”
“We as a group try not to forget that. We cannot become stagnant or complacent. We must always keep our students’ and staffs’ physical and academic well-being at the forefront of any decision or vote we are involved in. We owe that to the community members who we represent.”
DiPrima is employed as a financial services operations manager. In the community, he said he makes a point of being involved with township, community and school events.
“I enjoy being involved and I’d like to think my involvement makes a difference,” he said.
Richard Dunn, 48, who is a 21-year resident of the township, is married and has two children.
“I’m seeking re-election to the Old Bridge Board of Education to finish what we started back in 2011 with making our school district the finest in the state,” he said. “I want to continue promoting the finest educational enrichment through improved educational opportunities for all students.”
Dunn said it is in his nature to give back to his community through volunteerism and service.
“Being a member of the Board of Education gives me the satisfaction of community service,” he said.
Dunn said the most challenging issue facing the Old Bridge Board of Education is the reduction in state aid by Governor Phil Murphy.
“Old Bridge is slated to lose approximately $11 million dollars over the next six years, leaving the district in a fiscal crisis,” he said. “I will be a leader on the aforementioned and will work progressively and think outside the box to plug the hole in our budget from the loss of state aid.”
Dunn is employed as senior vice president of Paramount Assets, LLC and is a real estate executive. In the community, he serves as the deputy fire chief for the South Old Bridge Volunteer Fire Department and previously served on the Old Bridge Township Planning Board.
Kelly Ellis-Foster, 55, who is a 20-year resident of the township, is married with two adult children. She previously served on the board from 2015-17.
“The Old Bridge School District has made significant gains in the past few years,” she said, noting examples including improved technology, an energy savings program, a Blue Ribbon School, nationally recognized Project Unify program and a safety and security model that is one of the top in the state. “But the district has been challenged with severe cuts in state aid which could have a devastating impact to operations. I believe I will bring the skills necessary to see us through these difficult times. I understand how the budget works and all the complexities and variables. I know as a district we can overcome the obstacles and continue our level of excellence.”
Ellis-Foster said one area she would like to focus on is how the district can continue to offer new and innovative programs that are cost-effective and allow the district to deal with the cut in state aid.
“We cannot go backwards, so we need to find a way to use our resources wisely,” she said. “One of the pillars of the strategic plan is fiscal resilience, and the district has been proactive in finding alternative ways to increase revenue into the district and how to cut costs. We need to continue this and leverage partnerships and innovative ways to deal with the impact of state cuts.”
Ellis-Foster is retired after 30 years with Honeywell International. In the community, Ellis-Forster said she has volunteered for numerous school and community events/fundraisers. She works at the concession stand at the Old Bridge High School football games, chaperoned class trips, worked Parent Teacher Association events and supported many of the district’s charitable organizations.
Ellis-Foster is the founder of Old Bridge Glass Slipper, event chair of Old Bridge Relay for Life, a Girl Scout leader for Troop 81816, a Cub Scout Leader for Pack 129, served as a trustee for Alumni Path Foundation, served on the executive committee for Shore Aid Telethon, and served on the Old Bridge High School Marching Knights Parents fundraising committee.
“Giving back to the community is something I feel very strongly about, and I have demonstrated that over the years,” she said.
Polls open between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Nov. 6.