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Westfield — Candidate Statements

Re-Elect Mark Friedman for Westfield Board of Education

Mark Friedman

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 • 8:47pm

We have exactly 11 weeks to go before Election Day on November 4th and as a Westfield resident, you will have the opportunity to select three people to fulfill the current vacancies on the school board. Over these 11 weeks, I plan to communicate with the community through weekly letters to the editor, laying out what we have accomplished over the last three years on the school board and where I see the district going in the future. 

I have served on the Westfield school board since April 2011 and I would like to continue to be a part of the good work that this district is doing on behalf of 6,300 students.

I ran for my first term because I wanted to give back to the community.  Both of my kids were close to graduating from high school (they are now rising juniors in college) and many of you asked me why I wanted to take on this responsibility. It was a pretty simple answer. There had been many before me who had put in the time and effort so that my kids could benefit from a great school experience. I want to make sure that the kids who are in school now and the ones who will be with us for years to come, will have the same, perhaps even better, opportunities than my kids had.

The current board is a group of hard-working, dedicated people. The mix of experiences is outstanding—we have long-serving members, and many newer ones. We have attorneys and educators and business people. We come together on behalf of the entire community, not just those people who have children in the schools. We all fund the schools so everyone should be equally represented and we work hard to make decisions that will be in the best interests of everyone involved.

I am currently serving as the chairman of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Technology and Facilities committees. Over the last 3+ years, this board has continued to work within the budget constraints that we have, yet we have been able to find ways to invest in our infrastructure. We are deep into the repair of much of the district's roofs, we have invested in technology and we continue to work with the excellent teachers and other staff to help them develop their own skills so that they can better serve our students.

I am running again because there is much more to do. I continue to speak with other board members and the administration about our need to take a longer-term view of what we are doing so that we can be better prepared for three and five and 10 years into the future.  We live in the world of a two-percent budget cap each year and that limits what we can do unless we find other ways of executing our strategy. I believe that we are good at cost control, but we must look for alternative methods of bringing the outstanding services that we currently provide in the future. Costs are always going up and we cannot continue to pass these costs along to the taxpayer. 

With your support and three more years, we certainly will be able to continue to improve on what is already one of the most outstanding school districts in NJ. This has been a very rewarding experience and I would like to continue to contribute. 

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