EDISON – Familiar faces will represent the Edison Board of Education.
Incumbent Xiaohan “Shannon” Peng received 3,827 votes/14% to win re-election on Nov. 5 to her second term for the three-year board seat, while former board member Shivi Prasad-Madhukar recorded 3,358 votes/12% for a second term. Carol Bodofsky, who will serve her first term, had the third highest votes, with 3,592/13%.
Newcomer Anthony DeAmorin was close behind, with 3,205 votes/12%; Sparshil Patel collected 2,873 votes/10%; Tahira Masood registered 2,861 votes/10%; Neville Arestani received 2,333 votes/9%; Samuel Marshall gained 2,228 votes/8%; Kenneth Nelson received 2,021 votes/7%; and Christo Makropoulos recorded 1,135 votes/4%.
Election results are from the Middlesex County Board of Elections and are not official until certified.
Board members Richard Brescher and Theresa Ward did not seek re-election.
Bodofsky, 69, who has lived in Edison for 38 years, said she ran for a board seat to use her skills as an “advocate, problem solver and educator.”
She said she would like to concentrate on the proposed school construction project.
“Our children need room to learn in order to maintain the high standards that previous students have set – nothing less than excellence,” she said. “We will need to simultaneously meet the learning needs of our current students at each level, supervise and support the actual construction in a timely manner, and transition smoothly from old to new [facilities].”
Prasad-Madhukar, 49, who has lived in Edison for 15 years, said she brings varied experiences and qualifications from “budget and policy knowledge to perspectives of students and residents.”
Prasad-Madhukar said she will work on reducing overcrowding, creating space in the schools and reducing parking and traffic congestion. She said she will also work on seeking state construction grants, alumni-giving and shared-services; cutting wasteful spending; setting up a school fund where developers and businesses must contribute; and holding persuasive discussions with township and zoning officials to stop over-building in the township.
Peng, 46, who has lived in Edison for 12 years, sought another term because “the taxpayers and our children need an educated, independent and passionate school board member.”
During her first term, she was instrumental in helping save $8.2 million in non-classroom spending; working on a referendum to solve overcrowding; bringing in an independent third party for performance audit; and helping move forward additions to Woodrow Wilson Middle School and FDR School and a new baseball field at Edison High School.
In addition, she helped with implementing dance studios at Edison High School and John P. Stevens High School and a new digital art course; implementing online registration and enhanced Parent Portal; working on a reformed placement policy to ensure fair access to honor courses; and working with educators to stabilize the curriculum.
Peng said she will continue cutting waste and fraud and putting money back into the classrooms; holding all vendors accountable; addressing overcrowding issues and a stabilized budget; implementing full day Kindergarten and reducing academic gaps between the north end and south end schools.
In addition, Peng said she will continue to strengthen the curriculum in the foreign language and science areas; enhance sports programs such as introducing volleyball in the middle schools and field hockey in the middle and high schools; lower bus subscription cost; expand the lunch menu and improve the quality of the food; tackle vaping, drug and mental health problems among the students; and introduce an online parent request system to track and address parents’ concerns and complaints.