Six candidates are vying for three three-year terms on the Red Bank Board of Education in the November 3 election. All six 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.
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 Richard Stout Jr. had to say in response.
Name: Richard R. Stout
Address: 70 Madison Ave, Red Bank, NJ
Where did you attend elementary/middle school? Wanamassa/Dow Avenue (Ocean Twp)
Where did go to high school? Westminster School
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree? University of
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when? No
What do you do for a living? (Title, employer, brief description of your responsibilities):
County of Monmouth, Fleet Services/Reclamation, General Administration.
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?
Do you own real estate in town?
Do you have children?
Do they/will they/have they attended school in the borough? If so, which school(s)?
Roughly how many Red Bank school board meetings have you attended?
Why are you running for a seat on the board?
I am willing and have the time, and, as a resident of Red Bank I need to and should give back to the community. I believe that we are all responsible for educating future generations. Furthermore, I believe that my life experiences have taught me the value of education. As such, I feel that I have something to contribute towards that end.
What should Red Bank residents expect of a BOE member?
They should expect the board member along with the other members to insure that the schools are run well and have the tools and resources necessary for the best possible outcomes. Additionally, residents should expect the BOE members to maintain civility, respect, and decorum during the course of discussion and/or debate on any or all school board issues.
What do you think of political party involvement in local school board elections? Is it
acceptable? Why or why not?
No. School board elections should be free from any political motivation and or agenda that might drive any ideologically guided group seeking to control a school board. Furthermore, involvement of politics in the election process has the potential to diminish the role of the BOE if any individuals are inclined to use it as a “stepping stone” for the advancement of their personal desire to attain a higher elected office.
Are the Red Bank primary and middle schools doing a good job educating children and preparing them for high school and beyond?
From what I have heard, Red Bank primary and middle schools, have some of the most talented and innovative staff around. Albeit, If this is true, I am almost certain that the children are getting a quality education.
If not, how would you try to improve outcomes?
Myself , together with the other board members would work in conjunction with administrators to “weed” out any impediments that might compromise a positive outcome.
What is your approach to fiscal issues such as budgeting, taxes and debt?
My approach would exercise complete and total fiscal responsibility. Maintain compliance with local resolution, state statutes including cap laws. Encourage and involve public input regarding possible large programs which may substantially impact the taxpayer.
In your view, has the current board done everything possible to keep a lid on the borough school tax?
As I am not a member of the board, I am not able to make that determination.
However, I believe that there is always room for improvement and the board should always keep that in mind.
If no, what would you do to change that?
Are there any school operations or services you think should be reduced or
At this time, I am not familiar with all of the operations and services that exist and therefore not in a position to judge their merit.
Will you propose specific cuts? If so, please identify them.
What are the primary criteria you have used or would use in deciding whether to vote in favor of a tax increase?
Only if it is absolutely necessary and the taxpayer base can reasonably afford it.
Governor Chris Christie has characterized the teachers’ union as the largest obstacle to school reform. Do you agree?
The teacher’s union leaders have a political agenda. They endorse political candidates and encourage their members to follow suit. This narrow focus is a contradiction to education which is supposed to be open minded. I certainly hope that the union members vote by their own volition and not solely on a single issue advocated by their union. On the other hand, I find the rank and file teacher dedicated to their profession.
Red Bank has a publicly funded charter school. Should it?
Yes, it affords an opportunity for parents to choose an alternative school that is not usually available in a publicly funded education system.
Should children of undocumented immigrants be subject to potential deportation?
Whatever the law dictates.
What specific initiatives, if any, would you attempt to implement if you are elected?
I do not have any specific initiative, however, educational innovation is paramount. Along with school administration, the board must, through its policy decisions be aware of new teaching methods and experimentation in order to remain on the cutting edge of instruction. Education is highly competitive and we need to enhance our school’s performance and image for Red Bank parents to send their kids to as opposed to private schools.
Is there anything else you’d like voters to know?
Red Bank public schools are plagued by a slew of negative misconceptions which need to be addressed by the school administration and the community. Our schools are a lot better than what is perceived. For example, a staff that is adept and dedicated to the unique challenges that these schools present, given its cultural diversity. We need to promote these schools by highlighting all of the positive attributes such as a productive approach to this cultural diversity as well as some of the educational innovations employed by teachers.
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.