Video: Planet Princeton forum for local school board candidates

Planet Princeton held a forum for Princeton school board candidates on Monday, Oct. 3. All five candidates seeking a three-year term on the Princeton Board of Education were invited to attend and submit answers to written questions as well. Candidate Lisa Wu did not respond to any emails and did not participate in the forum.

Incumbent school board candidates Deb Bronfeld, Susan Kanter, and Dafna Kendal participated in the forum with newclomer Rita Rafalovsky.

The candidates discussed several topics during the hour-long forum. Planet Princeton developed the questions for the forum based on discussions at school board meetings, education issues that are being debated across the region and nation, and submissions from readers who completed the Planet Princeton election survey in August.

Each candidate gave an opening statement about why they are running for the school board. Candidates then answered the following questions befor giving a closing statement:

What is the greatest challenge the district faces?

Hundreds of new housing units are coming online in Princeton. How would you address issues of overcrowding in the district’s schools? 

Many seniors and families can no longer afford to live in Princeton because of the high taxes. How can the district maintain excellence while also keeping costs in check and what are your specific ideas for reducing taxes?

What is your position on cannabis dispensaries in Princeton? How far from schools should they be located if you approve of them? 

What are your thoughts on the district’s efforts when it comes to equity, inclusion, and eliminating racism? How would you rate the district’s performance in this area?

Gun violence in schools is a national issue. What do you think are the best solutions or approaches to address this issue in the school district? Do you believe schools need armed officers or armed teachers? Why or why not? 

Sex education is another issue that has become a topic of debate in the nation and in surrounding school districts. What are your thoughts on the sex education curriculum in our schools? Do you believe certain books should be banned because they aren’t appropriate for children? 

Planet Princeton will be publishing written candidate questionnaires in the coming days. Check back at for updates.


  1. I don’t know how anyone can confidently say we have done well or not on DEI. If the disparities in academic performance among different racial groups are evidence of systematic problems, shouldn’t our school district set clear goals on measures such as ELA and math proficiency, AP course participation, graduation rates and chronical absenteeism? If not, how does the school district know whether the district resources allocated to DEI produced any desirable results? While it’s commendable that our school district is committed to diverse hiring, has that translated to closing the achievement gap and improving student wellbeing? I’d like to see the school board regularly update the community about our performance on these measures and use them to evaluate the effectiveness of the school leadership.

  2. Well done, Planet Princeton. Thanks. The candidates seem qualified and it is nice that there are more candidates than three incumbents running for three seats. With that being said, and though I understand the value in continuity, I welcome a fresh face with new ideas and eager to contribute, and who is not repeating the same rhetoric but is more interested in actual numbers so improvements can be measured, and who could also balance the potential complacency of people who have been there for too long.

  3. To the person who keeps trying to post comments using a variety of handles, this is a violation of our comment policy, which also calls for civility and constructive dialogue and not personal attacks. Commenters need to engage constructively on the issues and must use one handle and not multiple handles when posting. It’s fine if you don’t want to use your real name but you need to consistently use the same name and a real email address. Thank you.

  4. Thank you, Planet Princeton, for organizing this forum! I enjoyed hearing from 4 out of the 5 candidates (such a pity Lisa Wu didn’t participate!) and found some of the answers quite striking. Rita Rafalovsky’s appeal for more accountability and measurable educational and other standards really resonated with me, and I hope enough of my fellow citizens agree. We urgently need a new perspective on the school board — we can and should do better for our children.

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