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Put students first, vote ‘Make Bayonne Great’

Dear Editor:

I am running for the Bayonne Board of Education on the “Make Bayonne Great” team to restore fiscal accountability to our school system.

I recently attended a conference hosted by parents of Bayonne special needs children. After stating my case that the school board’s purpose is to see the dollars paid by taxpayers are responsibly spent for the students, I listened to many heartbreaking stories from parents simply wanting the best for their children. I heard of an autistic child who was for lack of a better word “warehoused” with the same lesson for months by a teacher who received good administrative reviews. With the work of a new teacher, that child is now reading chapter books. When I rhetorically asked why the first teacher wasn’t at the top of the layoff list, I was told nothing can be done due to tenure. Is the school board using our tax dollars as a jobs program for established interests rather than for teaching our children?

I heard another story of a child who was diagnosed independently with a need for hearing assistance but months into the school year had not received anything. Is there not a fund set aside for such cases? If the school needs to confirm the diagnosis, why was this not done quickly? Why is so much money being spent and wasted on lawyers in arbitration?

The school board blames the administrators for not being honest, and the administrators blame the school board for not giving the resources necessary. Both blame parents for demanding too much. I have heard the dollars just aren’t there, but I do not believe that. Perhaps the money is just in the wrong pockets. The current school board is considering out-sourcing school lunches to a third party vendor as Jersey City already has done. How would a private company handing out what is already pre-packaged lunches save us money? Or would this be just another case of the school board putting our tax dollars in the wrong pockets?

The school board’s authority is in allocating public monies. I will work to see more money in Phonics learning over “sight words”, more attention paid to the arts, an extra emphasis in science and math tutoring, and especially for special needs kids to get the attention and assistance they require. Construction, while necessary, should not take priority. Education should take priority over construction projects, business interests, and other less useful pockets. Along with my running mates — Lauren Alonso and Evelyn Sabol — I will focus on finding the money and put the students first.

Please vote the “Make Bayonne Great” team for good things to happen.

CHARLES SHEPARD
School Board Candidate — 6D

 

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