Opinion: Beth Behrend has used her skills to advance Princeton schools on many fronts

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Beth Behrend

I write to endorse Beth Behrend for reelection to the Princeton school board, where she has served as board president for the last two years. I worked with Beth on the board of the Watershed Institute prior to her election to the school board and as a result was confident that our schools and taxpayers would benefit from her election to the board three years ago. I also serve on Princeton’s Citizens Finance Advisory Committee and understand the significant impact that our public schools have on taxpayers’ wallets.

Beth has now established a record of leadership that proves she is the right person for such a challenging and important position. Beth has used her organizational skills, diplomatic temperament, clear thinking and strong work ethic to advance our schools on so many fronts: financial transparency and budgeting, equity and racial literacy, community engagement and collaboration, and navigating the rapid shift to remote learning while addressing the ongoing challenges of meeting student educational, emotional and nutritional needs in a pandemic. These are just a few of many examples.

When Beth came to board leadership, there was little financial transparency, little to no fund balance (which is the liquidity cushion needed to properly manage a $100 million-plus enterprise), and the board was forced to cut staff (despite growing enrollment) to balance the budget. Under Beth’s leadership, the board and administration, working as a team, have put the district’s financial house back in order, have saved money and stabilized district finances, begun addressing long-overdue facilities maintenance issues and made real progress towards equity (by among other things, leveling the technology playing field through a revenue-neutral technology initiative).

Princeton is rightly proud of its public schools. We are determined to provide an excellent education to our kids regardless of who they are or where they come from. We are also concerned about community affordability. It makes for very complex equation that we rely on our school board to continually solve. In Beth I think we have the right person to lead that charge and that’s why I endorse her.

I urge everyone to cast their ballot to reelect Beth Behrend to the Princeton school board on Nov. 3.

Scott Sillars
Princeton