The third community forum this season for South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education candidates was hosted by the Hilton Neighborhood Association at DeHart Community Center in Maplewood on October 18, 2018.
The eight candidates first were each given four minutes to talk about their qualifications and their goals. Below are timestamps for where to find those statements in the video as well as timestamps for and transcriptions of questions from the audience:
Narda Chisholm-Greene at 1:30
Marian Cutler 5:10
Shannon Cuttle 9:35
Javier Farfan 14:10
Mike Laskowski 18:55
Annemarie Maini 23:33
Bruno J. Navarro 28:20
Christopher Tzraska 32:55
39:30: Questioner #1 was Steve Latz, former BOE member and current campaign volunteer with the Maini/Farfan campaign. Latz had a three part question:*
1. Would you or would you not envision if things go right that in 5-7 years 90+% of kids at CHS will be taking honors courses.
2 What do teachers have to do in the classroom to be successful with all kids to get to the point where all kids are achieving at a high level?
3. What does the Board have to do to get teachers to do that?
1:00:15 Questioner #2 was Candice Davenport the public health nursing supervisor for Maplewood Township and Past President, New Jersey Society for Public Health Education. Davenport had two questions:
1. Part of the job of a BOE member is collective bargaining and dealing with teachers unions and currently our teachers are not under contract. What is your experience with collective bargaining and union contracts?.
2. We talk about achievement gap and closing that in the elementary school and we have awesome programs at the high school, but there is middle school challenge. What are your thoughts on how to enhance middle school experience so that we catapult them into success in high school?
1:23:30 Questioner #3 (did not give name; Village Green is following up) – Given the agreement among all of your critical importance of getting superintendent selection right, what are top 3 things you are looking for in the superintendent and why? And how will you guarantee selection of the best administrator with knowledge of current best practices?
1:34:45 Questioner #4 was Philip Cokorinos, a professional opera singer and district parent — If the superintendent makes a very unpopular decision which is driven by confidential personnel matters or the goals that the Board has set for the district and you are facing our very active public, what will you do? or what have you done?
*Reached for comment by Village Green, candidate Annemarie Maini noted that she did not know ahead of time that Latz, who volunteers on her campaign, would be asking a question, nor had she seen the question beforehand. She also remarked, “No one else was asking a question. I also didn’t like the framing of the question to talk about honors as we have re-aligned the courses at the high school. I answered the question as higher level classes (meaning algebra 2 and pre-calc, physics, etc.) and not just the old paradigm of level 2, 3, 4, and 5 and then AP (Level 6) where level 4 honors was just barely teaching to the standards.” Village Green will update this report when we hear from Farfan.