Edison BOE selects newcomer to fill vacant board seat

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EDISON – The Edison Board of Education selected Biral Patel to fill the vacant seat left by Board Member Ralph Errico, who stepped down on Dec. 31.

Errico had served on the board for five years and began his second term in 2019. He served as board president in 2020.

Patel was sworn in by Middlesex County Clerk Nancy Pinkin at the Board of Education’s (BOE) agenda meeting on Jan. 26.

Twelve candidates – a former board member and 11 newcomers – vied for the vacant board seat. Each candidate presented why they were the best candidate at a BOE caucus meeting on Jan. 21.

Patel said he is “committed to work with all board members, teachers and parents to make sure our Edison schools shine brighter than ever.

“We must take pragmatic and tangible steps to resolve the overcrowding crisis that’s been plaguing our school system and commit to bring back full-day Kindergarten,” he said. “We also need to extend before and after care programs so no child is left behind.”

Patel added the board must also be mindful of taxpayers, especially during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I am committed to achieving a 0% budget increase this year and implement future budget controls,” he said. “We must collaborate with our educators, our teachers and staff members, who are our backbone of the school system. We must provide them all resources they need to educate our children.”

In addition, Patel said the board must ensure transparency and recognize the importance of mental health initiatives and the vital role of sports, arts and music as remote learning continues into the foreseeable future.

Patel is a parent of an elementary school child. He is employed in a global organization and has volunteered for several non-profit organizations based in Edison.