Freehold Township school board president will bid for state Assembly seat


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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – A lifelong resident of New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District who is the president of the Freehold Township K-8 School District Board of Education will be a candidate for state Assembly in November.

The candidacy of Michael Amoroso of Freehold Township was confirmed in the June 4 primary. Amoroso will be joined on the Republican ticket by his running mate Matthew Woolley.

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Amoroso and Woolley will challenge incumbent Democrats Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey for the two-year seats in the Assembly.

The 11th Legislative District is comprised of Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Colts Neck, Deal, Eatontown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Long Branch, Neptune City, Neptune Township, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls and West Long Branch.

Amoroso, 50, was born in Neptune City and lived there for 26 years before moving to Neptune Township. He has been a resident of Freehold Township since 2001.

“I have so many personal experiences with each of the towns across the district,” Amoroso said. “My first job was at the Howard Johnson’s on the boardwalk in Asbury Park and I grew up on their beaches and boardwalks.

“From an early age, I witnessed both of my parents working tirelessly to be champions of education,” he said. “My mother was a founder and director of the Brookdale Community College Learning Center in Long Branch where she was instrumental in developing programs to teach English as a Second Language and provide GEDs to students. My father was a research scientist at Fort Monmouth for 35 years and taught computer science at Monmouth University.”

Amoroso, who has been a member of the Freehold Township school board since 2011 and currently serves as president, said the township’s public school district was a prominent factor in his family’s decision to move to the township nearly two decades ago.

“In 2001, I relocated with my wife Maria to Freehold Township as my family started to grow,” he said. “In 2011, I decided I wanted to become a champion of education just like my parents were. … It has been in this capacity as a board member that I have learned so much about how local towns use their locally raised tax levies to fund public education. More importantly, I have come to understand how vitally important state funding is to the quality of our schools.”

Amoroso made note of the state aid being received by Freehold Township and other school districts in District 11 after a bill known as S-2 was signed into law in 2018 and changed the way aid was distributed to school districts.

For 2019-20, Amoroso commented that while Freehold Township is receiving a slight increase of $60,000 in state aid, which he said he considers to be flat funding, some  school districts in District 11 will see a decrease in state aid.

“Over the seven years of the phase-in period (for S-2), District 11 schools will lose $38 million and local taxpayers will pick up the bill or teachers and students will suffer,” he said. “I would have to say that given the current climate in Trenton with Gov. (Phil) Murphy and our current District 11 representatives, I am highly motivated as a champion of education to get this truth out to the district.”

Amoroso also addressed the cost of living in the New Jersey.

“Our seniors cannot afford to retire here and our new college graduates cannot afford to start a life here. This is a major systemic issue for our state. Making New Jersey affordable is a complex, but achievable goal, but it has to have some fundamental pillars: a strong education system, flourishing small businesses and competitive taxes.

“If you look at what is happening now, Trenton is failing all three areas, which creates a downward spiral for our state. Taxes are being either created or increased everywhere and constantly. Poorly funded schools create either higher property taxes or worsening programs which, in turn, make our residents leave and our students move away after college,” Amoroso said.

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