Bayonne’s best: accountability, experience, integrity

To the Editor:

I write this letter as a private citizen who is also the Vice-President of the Board of Education. The opinions I express here are my own and not those of the Bayonne Board of Education.

As the November 6 Election draws near, I would be remiss if I did not review with you the Elected Board’s record of success and thank you for overwhelmingly deciding, by an over 76% margin, that politics has no place at the Board of Education. Joe Broderick 6-I, Ava Finnerty 7-I, Charles Ryan 8-I and Mike Lawandy 19-I are known for doing what is right. Their integrity is beyond reproach. They bring with them a wealth of experience which has contributed to the Elected Board’s list of achievements: Joe, our “moral compass,” retired educator, athletic director, school administrator and Board of Education President, Ava, retired, an accomplished high school teacher and supporter of the arts whose specialty is curriculum and student achievement, Chuck Ryan, a retired Deputy Chief of Police, who puts safety/security first and is a tireless advocate for Special Services for students, and Mike Lawandy, an engineer/architect, our “go-to” person for concerns with infrastructure, whose keen understanding of numbers helped us navigate the financial debacle we inherited from the previous appointed board. These four candidates are a complete team and possess the skills necessary to continue to carry out our Board’s Blueprint for Success – moving the district “from Good to Great.” They shared a clear vision of what needed to be done, and, working collaboratively with Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael Wanko, they did it! They raised the bar by increasing the passing grade from 65 to 70, improved the BHS graduation rate to 91.2%, ensured the district passed QSAC state monitoring, and settled contracts on time to create a positive workplace culture – where collegiality is key to overall student success.

There is more that needs to be done. This team is up to the challenge. Among the important decisions facing them is the selection of a new School Business Administrator. Joe, Ava, Chuck and Mike have taken steps to ensure that the Board selects the most qualified person by approving Dr. Wanko’s recommendation to implement Frontline, an online recruiting program, to make certain we reach the largest audience of candidates. The Business Administrator will answer directly to the Board. This guarantees accountability and re-establishes fiscal integrity. Another priority is to get our new Vocational Automotive Tech Program up and running.

I am proud to work along side this team to give you the best: for your children, for your teachers and for educational opportunities for all. If you want the best this Board Election has to offer, look no further than the candidates you have already put your faith in: Re-Elect Joseph Broderick, 6-I, Ava Finnerty 7-I, Charles Ryan 8-I and Mike Lawandy 19-I. Let them continue to be your voice.

DENIS WILBECK