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Opinion: Now is not ‘time for a change’ for Princeton school board leadership

I am writing in support of Beth Behrend, Michele Tuck-Ponder and Jean Durbin for Princeton’s Board of Education.

Upon assuming board leadership in January 2019, Behrend and Tuck-Ponder took immediate steps to improve board oversight. Through fact-based and expertise-based decision-making, they have steered the ship straight, even during these unprecedented times.

The Princeton Public Schools district is certainly not perfect, but I couldn’t disagree more with a “time for a change” narrative I’ve heard with respect to this board leadership. In fact, reelecting Behrend and Tuck-Ponder with a mandate to continue the work they have begun is our best bet for measurable and timely improvement with respect to equity and excellence for all our children and management of our tax dollars.

In addition to Behrend and Tuck-Ponder, there are six candidates running for the three seats. Jean Durbin’s proven record of dedication and results in her volunteer and professional careers, as well as her absolute integrity, collaborative approach, strong understanding of the issues facing Princeton Public Schools and knowledge of how to make change at all levels of government, make her my clear choice. Durbin shares the current leadership’s results-oriented focus on equity, excellence and fiscal responsibility and she will bring complementary skills and new perspectives to the team.

If you appreciate the following accomplishments and initiatives that have taken place under Behrend and Tuck-Ponder’s Board leadership, and want to see more like them, please vote for Behrend, Tuck-Ponder and Durbin:

• District-wide free Pre-K
• Restorative justice practices resulting in substantial decline in suspensions
• K-12 racial literacy curricula partially implanted and under further development
• Ongoing diversification of faculty and supervisors
• Training in culturally sensitive teaching
• One-to-one technology program that levels the playing field and allows teachers to adapt to 21st century best practices as well as pandemic exigencies for all students
• Sustainability built into all facilities planning
• More healthy, sustainable and locally-sourced food in the cafeterias
• Successful implementation of major facilities projects
• Stabilization of finances, and banking of surplus for unforeseen circumstances
• $500,000 in administrative cost-savings in this year’s budget
• Multi-year priority-based budgeting process
• Increased transparency and communication with the public
• Improved coordination with partner institutions
• Hiring of highly-qualified senior administrators, including interim superintendent, permanent business administrator and facilities manager. Note: the number one job of the next board will be to hire an experience and inspired superintendent who understands district priorities and will deliver measurable results.

For more information on these candidates, please see the following:
Behrend: facebook.com/BehrendforBoard
Tuck-Ponder: www.mtp4boe.com
Durbin: facebook.com/JDurbin4BOE


Amy J. Mayer

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