Editor's Note: Each of the nine candidates running for a seat on the township Board of Education responded to a questionnaire sent by Brick Patch. Their answers to our questions – plus one personal statement – will be published on our site verbatim. Two candidate profiles per day, in alphabetical order according to last name, will appear this week until all have been published. We have disabled comments on profile articles to ensure the candidates' statements speak for themselves and readers can decide, without additional, anonymous commentary, their view on those running for office.
Full Name: Lawrence K. Reid
Current Age: 65
Current Occupation: Managing Director of Ice Skating Arena in Englewood, NJ
Are you employed by a public school district?: No
Highest Level of Education Achieved (optional: include degree/institution) :
Master’s Degree in Business Administration
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
I have never previously held public office, nor do I currently hold public office.
Where do you stand on balancing Brick’s resources between academics and sports programs? Given a tight budgetary environment, where would your priorities lie in this regard?
The choice between academics and sports programs is really a false choice. Both are important in the education of Brick students, since academics and life skills are all part of the learning process. If the school budget is managed efficiently and effectively, there is no reason to have to choose one over the other. Currently, the Board of Education spends 83% of the budget on the salaries and benefits of BOE employees. If the students are the number one priority in our schools, why should their programs be the first to be cut when difficult economic times put pressures on the school budgets?
How would you seek to bolster the academic experience of students with the goal of adequately preparing them for college? What specific types of programs and initiatives would you like to see put in place to make Brick the most academically challenging district it could be?
The number one priority in adequately preparing students for college and/or employment in our “global economy” is to make sure they are highly proficient in working with a computer. They should be knowledgeable and skilled in such programs as Excel and Word, for example. The Board of Education should develop a budget and policy to have a computer for every student in the district, starting initially with the high schools, and moving down through the grades as quickly as possible. Financially, this is more attainable than ever before, due to the increasing costs of textbooks, and the decreasing costs of laptop computers. Many high schools in the state have already implemented a policy of every student having a personal computer. Our district needs to be in the forefront of technological education, not behind the times and trying to catch up.
How should the board deal with public participation at board meetings? Also, briefly describe your views on how the Board of Education can achieve the most transparent relationship possible with the community, and specific policies you would propose that would help meet this goal.
As elected representatives of the students and taxpayers of Brick, the primary way to determine public sentiment is by listening to public comments at Board of Education meetings. If a formal meeting is held once per month, then a work session or pre-agenda meeting seeking input from the public is the best way to develop policies that are responsive to the public. Developing agendas and having details on budget activity well in advance of the BOE meetings is an important step toward promoting the most transparent relationship possible with the community. BOE meetings could be held occasionally where the only purpose is to seek public comment on the school programs, budgets, and policies. The BOE should look forward to hearing from the public, and respect the opinions of those who step forward to voice their concerns and comments.
Capital projects – including repairs to aging school buildings – have long been a concern of many Brick residents. What improvements should be prioritized and what would be your strategy in mapping out a potential referendum to be presented to voters?
The first priority in our current budget environment is to make sure that maintenance and repair of our current facilities is being performed efficiently and effectively. This involves managing the staff and budget to ensure that repairs are made on a timely basis, and the schools are clean. Then, a potential referendum would be put together recognizing “needs” vs. “wants.” Capital projects would then be prioritized, with student safety and educational impact being the highest priority. Redecorating offices and rearranging common areas and entrances are “wants” that will have to wait for better economic times.
In 250 words or less, please describe why you are seeking election or re-election to the board, and why you are qualified to represent the interests of the taxpayers and the students in such a position.
I am seeking election to the Board of Education because my educational and business background will allow me to question the status quo and bring some new ideas to the priorities in the Board of Education’s budget. I will analyze every expenditure, look for efficiencies in operational policies, and return to a policy of having the students as the first priority in ALL economic environments. Parents commit to live in town, and in many instances will have a 12 year educational experience with the school district. These parents and students should be the highest priority in any budget presented to the public, and it is the Board of Education’s job to ensure that outcome. I know that we can deliver a quality education even if there is less money to spend.
I have no conflicts with any family or business involvement with the Brick Board of Education, nor do I have any municipal conflicts. This will allow me to fully represent the interests of the taxpayers and the students as a BOE member. My own educational experience included 12 years of public schools, and I have three grown children who each successfully completed college after attending 12 years of public education. I fully understand the value of a quality public school system as it relates to the entire community; its impact is not only on the future of our children, but on our property values and quality of life, as well. I feel that the BOE members should serve as community representatives without any conflicts that would compromise their ability to impartially represent the taxpayers and students of Brick Township.