Six candidates are vying for three three-year terms on the Red Bank Board of Education in the November 3 election. To help voters compare the candidates in terms of personal background and positions on key issues, redbankgreen emailed them identical sets of questions late last week. Here’s what incumbent Ann Roseman had to say in response.
Name: Ann Roseman
Address: 6 Alston Ct
Where did you attend elementary/middle school?
I attended several schools, including the Woodbridge Township public school system.
Where did go to high school?
Colonia High School (Woodbridge Township)
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?
BS from Cornell Univ., MS from Stanford Univ., in Mechanical Engineering
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when?
What do you do for a living? (Title, employer, brief description of your responsibilities):
President of Yale Hook & Eye Co., a manufacturing company in Hillside
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?
Do you own real estate in town?
Do you have children?
Yes, I have 2 adult children.
Do they/will they/have they attended school in the borough? If so, which school(s)?
Our son attended the Red Bank Charter School, and moved to Red Bank Middle School. Our daughter attended Red Bank Middle School, from which both of them graduated.
Roughly how many Red Bank school board meetings have you attended?
About 200 Red Bank Borough Board meetings, and about 200 Board committee meetings.
Why are you running for a seat on the board?
I feel that it is important to give back to the community. When I first ran for the Board, I felt this was a good way to use my time and energy, helping the district that was helping my children. I believe I have contributed in a meaningful way, and I would like to continue the work that I have been doing for the last nine years.
What should Red Bank residents expect of a BOE member?
A board member’s responsibility is not to run the schools, but to make sure they are well run. Board members should both support the educational professionals in doing their job and challenge them to meet high expectations, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
What do you think of political party involvement in local school board elections? Is it acceptable? Why or why not?
I am strongly against any political party involvement in our district schools. The NJ School Board Member Code of Ethics states, “I will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interest or partisan political groups” and every board member must agree to this statement. I believe that the involvement of political parties in school board elections is contrary to this code.
Are the Red Bank primary and middle schools doing a good job educating children and preparing them for high school and beyond?
I am convinced both by observation and personal experience that the Red Bank Borough schools have gotten a “bum rap”. Both of my children were educated at the Red Bank Middle School, and went on to high school academically ahead of most of their peers from other districts. They were both strong students while at the Middle School; the school recognized and met their needs. The Borough’s test scores are not what we want them to be, but I believe they are a reflection of the challenges that our students face outside of school rather than the quality of the education they receive in it.
If not, how would you try to improve outcomes?
It has been the long-time goal of the Red Bank Borough Board of Education to engage in a process of continuous improvement, by collecting and evaluating data and implementing school improvement plans based on that data. We have implemented many initiatives during my tenure that have created a better learning environment, including universal pre-K, nationally recognized study-skills program, improved science and technology instruction, and an enhanced music and arts program. I would continue to encourage this type of improvement for all of the students in our district.
What is your approach to fiscal issues such as budgeting, taxes and debt?
The first priority of a school district is to provide a thorough and efficient education to the students of the district. We must also implement federal and state mandates, some of them unfunded. In addition, the district has more specific goals for the instruction and management of the district. The primary objective of the budget is to meet those goals and mandates. However, during the budget development process, the board always has to remove critical items from the budget to minimize the impact on the tax levy. There are always difficult decisions on what items can be eliminated without crippling our ability to meet our educational goals and mandates.
Debt is incurred only for capital improvement projects, such as the RB Middle School renovation in the early 2000’s.
In your view, has the current board done everything possible to keep a lid on the borough school tax?
Yes. In the last year, to minimize our tax levy, we deferred much needed facilities maintenance, cut our professional development, and did not hire staff that were designated for improved instruction and school climate.
If no, what would you do to change that?
As mentioned above, I have never approved a budget that had not been reviewed and reduced before it was presented to the board for a vote.
Are there any school operations or services you think should be reduced or eliminated?
No, the current school operations are very lean. Red Bank Borough School District has the lowest per pupil costs of all of the districts that send students to RBR, despite having a student population with the most challenges.
Will you propose specific cuts? If so, please identify them.
All of the cuts I would propose have already been made.
What are the primary criteria you have used or would use in deciding whether to vote in favor of a tax increase?
As mentioned above, the budget must be developed to meet our educational priorities and federal and state mandates. It has been difficult to avoid a tax increase with increasing enrollment (up 45% in 7 years) and state aid that continues to be far below what Red Bank Borough School District should be receiving.
Governor Chris Christie has characterized the teachers’ union as the largest obstacle to school reform. Do you agree?
I cannot speak to what happens in other districts, but I disagree with this characterization as it relates to the teachers in Red Bank. Our teaching staff has been open to school improvement, and, in many cases, have been the source for school improvement ideas and plans.
Red Bank has a publicly funded charter school. Should it?
Red Bank voters and the Red Bank Borough Board of Education have no input on the existence of the RB Charter School, so this issue is not relevant to the election of Board of Education members.
Should children of undocumented immigrants be subject to potential deportation?
It is the legal and moral obligation of the Board of Education to educate all of the children who reside in our town, independent of immigration status. I do not consider immigration status to be an issue for a Board of Education election.
What specific initiatives, if any, would you attempt to implement if you are elected?
One of my main goals has been the implementation of smart assessments, that minimize the disruption to instructional time, but also informs the teachers in a constructive way on areas in need of enhanced instruction. I will continue to pursue this initiative to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our teachers.
Is there anything else you’d like voters to know?
My mode of operation is detail-oriented and data-driven. Over the past nine years, I have demonstrated my ability to have a strong positive impact on the work of the Red Bank Borough Board of Education. I have seen the excellent contributions that Fred Stone and Carrie Ludwikowski have made as well. I hope that we are all re-elected to continue to serve the students and the community.
All six candidates have been invited to participate in a forum sponsored by the Monmouth County League of Women Voters and the Red Bank Middle School PTO at the middle school at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, October 15. For more information about the event, call 732-768-0594.