There is a contested race for the Marlboro representative’s seat on the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education in the November 2020 election. The winner will serve a three-year term on the board.
The board members oversee the operation of the district’s high schools in Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro. Those six municipalities, plus Englishtown and Farmingdale, comprise the district.
Michael Messinger and George Pometti are running to represent Marlboro on the board.
Messinger is the township’s current representative and is seeking his fourth term.
In the board’s voting structure, residents of Marlboro and Colts Neck will vote for the Marlboro representative.
Pometti has lived in Marlboro for 24 years and has been a Monmouth County resident for 43 years. He is a Worldwide Congress Manager at Bristol Myers Squibb, Princeton, and currently serves as a Democrat county committee member in Marlboro.
Asked why he is running for a seat on the regional school board, Pometti said, “I believe in science, protecting our children’s health and safety, and making sure every child in Marlboro gets the best quality of education.
“As a board member, I will oppose and fight any efforts to cut busing and to make sure we consolidate costs so we can protect every taxpaying parent who sends their kids to our great high school.
“I am grateful for the wonderful educational foundation my children received as Marlboro High School students and would like to see this caliber of quality education continue in our high school,” Pometti said.
Messinger has lived in Marlboro for 51 years. He is an investment adviser.
“I know from firsthand experience what a great place Marlboro High School is and I want to see our children in the district have the same, if not better, opportunities in all our high schools. Besides the quality of education, I also want to continue to implement fiscal discipline on the board.
“Being a taxpayer and having a parent who lives in a local 55-and-over community, I realize firsthand the financial struggle many of us have as our property taxes expand at a greater rate than our salaries or retirement income.
“I will continue to work on maintaining Freehold Regional as a district that continues to generate above-average educational outcomes while spending well below the state average per pupil,” Messinger said.
“As we all know, our teenage years are over in a flash and this valuable time for educating our students cannot continue to be wasted with remote learning (during the coronavirus health crisis). … I will continue to support all FRHSD initiatives to get the students back into the buildings for full-time instruction.
“The other challenge the district faces is the massive funding cut put in place by the state and Gov. Phil Murphy. The district has lost over $10 million in state aid over the past three years, with another $20 million in reductions planned over the next four years.
“A $30 million cut in state aid to a high quality school district where we pay such high taxes already is obscene and a threat to our students’ education.
“Since the motives behind the funding cuts have been purely political, I will continue to work on getting as much public pressure as possible on the politicians in Trenton who are responsible for this (reduction in aid),” Messinger said.
Debra Fanelli is running unopposed for the Colts Neck seat on the Freehold Regional board. Residents of Colts Neck and Marlboro will be able to vote for Fanelli. She could not be reached for comment.
Colts Neck’s current representative on the board, Carl Accettola, did not seek re-election.
Elizabeth Higley is running unopposed for the Freehold Township seat on the Freehold Regional board. Residents of Freehold Township and Freehold Borough will be able to vote for Higley.