Voters select three residents to serve on Freehold Regional school board


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Three residents have been elected to serve three-year terms on the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education.

Representatives from Marlboro, Colts Neck and Freehold Township were elected on Nov. 3. The results of the election are unofficial until they have been certified.

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The elections in Colts Neck and Freehold Township were uncontested. Two candidates sought the Marlboro position.

Under the board’s voting guidelines, residents of Freehold Borough and Freehold Township vote for the Freehold Township representative; residents of Marlboro and Colts Neck vote for the Marlboro representative; and residents of Colts Neck and Marlboro vote for the Colts Neck representative.

In Colts Neck, Debra Fanelli ran unopposed for her first term on the board.

According to results posted on the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office “Monmouth County Votes” website, Fanelli received 20,155 votes.

Fanelli has lived in the Marlboro and Colts Neck area for 25 years and is the mother of two children with a background in education.

“I am very excited about my upcoming position on the board. I am committed to the best interests of the students in our community and look forward to serving on the board,” she said.

In Freehold Township, Elizabeth Higley ran unopposed. She was appointed to the board in 2019 to fill an open seat. Higley is the retired principal of Freehold Township High School.

According to results posted on the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office “Monmouth County Votes” website, Higley received 18,386 votes.

“I am honored to represent Freehold Township on the board. I am focused on working with the other members of the board and the administration as we face the difficult challenges of (school funding issues),” she said.

In Marlboro, there was a contested race between incumbent Michael Messinger and George Pometti.

According to results posted on the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office “Monmouth County Votes” website, Messinger was elected to his fourth three-year term with 11,204 votes. Pometti received 8,778 votes.

“I am extremely grateful that the voters from Marlboro and Colts Neck voted to send me back for another term on the board.

“As I have said since I first ran for this position, everything I do will be to give the kids of our district the same experience I had at Marlboro High School, while also realizing that the taxpayers of Marlboro cannot afford the property tax increases they have experienced, even more so now with the financial calamity posed by the government shutdowns put in place,” Messinger said.

“The issue facing the board right now is to do whatever is possible to get the schools open full-time so our students can go back to experiencing in-person education. Education is an essential service, just like Target, Wegmans and Walmart.

“Looking beyond the next six months, the biggest issue will be to continue to deal with the massive funding cuts put into place by Gov. Murphy and how we will have to continue to deliver an excellent educational experience with $30 million less dollars,” he said.

The board oversees the operation of the district’s high schools in Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro. Those six towns, plus Englishtown and Farmingdale, comprise the district.

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