EDISON – The Edison Board of Education will reorganize with candidates on the Building Brighter Futures ticket in January.
Projected winners in the Nov. 2 election remain as election results were recently certified.
Biral Patel, seeking his first elected term, led the way with 7,501 votes, Douglas Schneider followed with 7,359 votes, and Brian Rivera with 6,732 votes, beat out six other candidates for the three, three-year terms available on the Edison Board of Education (BOE).
David Tingle followed with 4,886 votes, Padmaja (Paddy) Chinta received 4,839 votes, Elizabeth Conway, who was seeking her second term, received 4,619 votes, Vimal Parikh received 4,372 votes, Gabriel Haller received 3,120 votes and former board member Ralph Errico garnered 2,546 votes.
There were 119 write-in votes.
Before the election, the candidates shared what they would like to focus on if elected.
During these challenging times, getting the schools back open safely is a key issue, Rivera said.
“COVID-19 created a huge disruption to learning,” he said. “Priority for this upcoming year should be to have students and staff return to a safe and positive learning environment so our children can continue to grow academically and emotionally. We need to address any learning loss or gaps that some of our students may have encountered due to COVID-19. A plan needs to be developed by our district to assess students and narrow that gap, so we can get our students back on track to learning. We also must address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic trauma, which may have caused disruption in the lives of some of our students leading to an increase in mental health concerns. We must continue to support the social, emotional, and mental well-being of our students, staff, and parents. To assist in this area, school-based supports need to be in place.”
All good solutions require collaboration, Patel said.
“I want to change the focus of the board and make it a more collaborative institution,” he said. “I want to build a strong, mutually respectful relationship between BOE and all stakeholders, collaborate with administration, students, educators, staff members and parents to ensure transparency and a thriving environment, something that I started right after becoming a BOE member.”
Patel said he wants to ensure participation of all residents and working with the administration to resolve all outstanding issues promptly and ensure the school district is successful in transportation, enrollment, food services, academic opportunities and special education.
For the students to achieve their maximum potential, it is vital to have both short- and long-term infrastructure plans to solve overcrowding and pandemic-related facility issues, Schneider said.
“Having a multi-phased approach to all capital improvement projects is key,” he said. “We need solutions now and those solutions must still fit in with our longer term goals. Having the proper infrastructure will allow for less crowding, a more healthy environment and the allowance for students to learn. We would be able to offer more AP (Advanced Placement) classes and honors curriculum while still focusing on our reluctant learners. I am confident all of these goals can be achieved without causing a tax burden to the residents of Edison.”
Board member Yuna Chen did not seek re-election.