Eric Siegel for Millburn Board of Education
Sunday, October 21, 2012 • 10:11pm
We live in challenging economic times. We need leadership that understands our community’s values because tough decisions lay ahead, I am an independent thinker who has always been able to find the middle ground. I am currently serving as the unanimously appointed Board of Education Vice President, proving that I have earned the respect of my fellow Board members.
I am fully vested and vetted in Millburn. I have lived here for fourteen years, and I work and run a business in town. I have three children in Millburn schools: one in elementary school (2nd grade); one in Middle School (8th grade); and one in the High School (11th grade.) No other candidate has more knowledge about our wonderful district. I have coached your children in baseball, football, basketball, soccer and hockey. I am a supporter of community events and groups such as the Fourth of July celebration, The Summer Concert Series, Millburn Little League, the Ed Foundation, and the Turf Fields, to name a few, I am your neighbor, friend, and physician. I care about ALL of the children and families in our town.
I have worked tirelessly to serve our district through tough times, while working hard to uphold our high standard of excellence in our schools. I am proud of my accomplishments on the board. In my tenure on the Board of Education, we hired a new superintendent and new leadership team, negotiated a new contract for our teachers, worked on a QSAC review, and re-invested in the schools infrastructure and technology. We kept a commitment of decreasing surplus and reducing the town’s tax burden – with increases of 2%, 1.35% and this year, 0.65%. Each year, these numbers come in under the cap, or limit mandated by the state. We came in below the cap each year, so as to not “tax people out of our town,” while not threatening our budgets for future years. At the same time, and most importantly, student achievement has never been higher. I am proud of this combination of fiscal responsibility and academic excellence.
I have served on the Finance Committee, the Program Committee, The Property Committee, The Policy Committee, The Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, and the Special Education Committee. I am the calm, level-headed board member who seeks to bring people together. What separates my candidacy from all of my opponents is EXPERIENCE. I care deeply about public education. I am not beholden to any special interest groups and I am committed to doing what is best for our students and township residents.
My goal is to increase to use of technology to improve the educational experience at all levels, bottom to top, IEP, or just the kid in the middle. This will allow us to provide more differentiated learning in grades K-8 and will enhance the high school education, as well. One of my goals for the high school is to use technology to lessen the weight of backpacks by switching to electronic textbooks. The timing depends on the continued technology and infrastructure upgrades, and the use of textbooks with electronic alternatives. But all of these visions must be realistic and stay within smart fiscal parameters.
Lastly, I want to address the NJ Monthly ranking of our high school. Myths are being told by my opponents/their surrogates, because of either a complete lack of understanding of the facts, or for the purpose of political gain. We must always be concerned about our schools performance and we should always strive to improve, but what is being lost in the discussion with my opponents are the HARD FACTS. Our schools improved in every academic metric, and those stating otherwise are doing a disservice to our town and are ignoring reality. We improved in HSPA Math and Language. We improved in the number of AP scores above a 3. Our students’ average SAT score is 1851, which is one hundred points higher than the average SAT score of the school that ranked number one in NJ Monthly. In our younger grades, Millburn had significant improvements in NJ ASK scores. The truth is, academically, Millburn is tops in the state.
As always, you can reach out to me at eric.siegel @millburn.org