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Opinion: Please avoid conflict of interest on the school board

It was an honor to serve on the Hopewell Valley regional school board from, I believe, 2012-16.

Funny story about how I originally got involved.

There was a controversy at the time about whether a teacher who served on the Board of Education should be serving on Personnel Committee, which was the parent committee to the Negotiations Committee for the Hopewell Valley Regional School District teacher’s collective bargaining contract. I felt strongly that teachers, even from other districts, serving on the Personnel Committee and obviously on the Negotiations Committee presented a conflict of interest.

After I got on the board, we elected a new board president who reassigned board committee assignments and when I retired from the board, I felt very good about the integrity of the board and administration.

The current Board of Education election concerns me. We currently have two certified teachers serving on the Board of Education. There are two teachers employed at local districts running for school board seats. To me, electing four teachers to a board of nine introduces unnecessary challenges and complications. As executive director of a non-profit organization, I’m acutely aware of the loss of credibility if there’s even a perception of conflict of interest.

When there are talented alternatives running, it seems obvious to me that they would be a better choice. During my board service, I enjoyed working with Adam Sawicki and found him to be smart, thoughtful and collaborative.

If you live in Hopewell Township, please vote for Sawicki, Galiano, and Genovesi to avoid introducing conflict to the board.

Jon Butler

Pennington

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