Planet Princeton

Letters: PRS Board of Ed. Group Endorses Rebecca Cox and Martha Land for School Board

To the Editor:

We enthusiastically support Rebecca Cox and Martha Land for election to the Princeton Regional Schools Board of Education. They have real experience working for our kids, in our public schools, in our town. They understand the current, complex challenges facing public schools, the needs of our students and the high standards and aspirations of our community.

Rebecca Cox has served on the school board for six years. As the board’s president during the last two years, Rebecca has steered the board through significant positive changes, achieved several taxpayer-friendly contracts with unions, and passed extremely conservative budgets several years in a row. She is a creative problem-solver with fastidious attention to detail and the highest standards for improvement and achievement for our staff and students. Her accomplishments and valuable contributions as a Board member are truly too numerous to list. As well as a dedicated public servant, Rebecca is a public school parent and graduate of Princeton High. She has deep roots in this community, and her commitment to our schools and students is unquestionable.

Martha Land is also a public school parent, with two children at Princeton High and one at Community Park. Since moving to Princeton almost a decade ago, Martha has dedicated much of her life to improving access to educational opportunities for all our children. Drawing on her expertise as a professional nonprofit fundraiser, Martha has been an energetic fundraiser and athletic booster in all her kids’ schools, and for five years has served with distinction on the board of Fund 101, which annually raises scholarship funds for Princeton High School graduates. Her strong command of governance and financial stewardship and her experience working for our students in our schools will allow Martha a smooth transition to school board duties. As a veteran fundraiser, nonprofit board member and advocate for all our kids, Martha approaches her work with vigor, thoughtful pragmatism, great personal warmth and humor.

Our children deserve school board members who will always put their educational best interests foremost. Our community deserves school board members who have relevant, up-to-date knowledge of and commitment to the public schools in our town. Rebecca Cox and Martha Land are the clear choices.

Sincerely,

Mia Cahill, Molly Chrein, Tim Quinn and Andrea Spalla

 Ms. Cahill, Ms. Chrein, Mr. Quinn and Ms. Spalla currently serve on the school board. The four say the letter represents their view as private citizens, not as school board members.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Charles Tibbetts

    The argument that extremely low-turnout April school elections are a bright and shining example of popular democracy is preposterous. Public awareness of the election beyond the confines of the educational community itself is virtually nonexistent. The Democratic Majority Leader of the NJ State Assembly, Lou Greenwald, said that “April school votes are a costly charade.” Further, Greenwald went on to say that by moving the election to November, “we’re controlling government spending and property taxes and increasing public participation in our democracy. These are all good things.” (Source: http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com. 2/7/12.) It’s clear that the PRS school board marches only to its own self-interested drummer–and that’s the way the “insiders” want to keep it.

  • democracy

    Mr. Tibbens,

    Moving the school board elections to November would have meant that the residents of Princeton would have lost the right to vote on our school budgets, which account for about half of our property tax bills. This would have been the least risky and easiest thing for our board of education to do, which is why so many other boards across the state moved their elections. It also would have been profoundly less democratic than allowing us to continue approving our school budgets every year.

    I really appreciate that the Princeton Board of Education DID NOT move the school election and continued giving us residents the final say regarding our school budgets and our property taxes.

    You are welcome to support whichever school board candidate you like, but please do not try to mislead others.

  • LLLL

    Mr. Tibbet is welcome to support his candidate for school board, but he is not right in disparaging the school boards’ decision to maintain the April election as “undemocratic”. If the elections had been moved to November, we in Princeton would not even be voting on the budget. The law incentivized boards to move elections to November by including the provision that a budget kept under a 2% cap will not require voter approval. By keeping the election in April, the school board has protected the right of Princeton voters to approve or reject our school budget.

  • Charles Tibbetts

    Here they go again! The local version of the “educational establishment” attempting to preserve its stranglehold on public school outcomes in Princeton. The last thing this small, self-perpetuating group wants is an independent-minded member on the board who will bring a fresh perspective to local educational policy-making.

    It is a fact that to ensure continued control of the outcome of school board elections, our board unanimously refused to move the annual school election to November’s general election. More than 90% of NJ school boards made the move. This essentially undemocratic decision will cost Princeton taxpayers $40,000 annually. And since less than 7% of Borough voters vote in the April school election, the outcome can be easily controlled by a very small group of voters.

    Mr. Sipprelle is clearly the most qualified candidate by virtue of his professional career, accomplishments and wide-ranging experience. Not only is he a public school graduate and parent, but he is the only candidate who has been a teacher, PTO president and school board member.

    A vote for Mr. Sipprelle is a vote to guarantee that our schools will remain both excellent and affordable. Students, parents and taxpayers will best be served by the independent voice, open mind and real world experience that Mr. Sipprelle will provide.

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