Jim Day brought many things with him when he moved to Verona 10 years ago: A family, the usual assortment of household goods, and a family commitment to public service.
Day’s father served in town government in West Caldwell for more than two decades. The younger Day hasn’t been on the Town Council here, but he has served on Verona’s Public Safety Committee, he’s coached youth baseball and soccer, and he shaped the Verona Board of Education’s new five-year plan as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for Finance. Now, he’s looking to put all this skills–and more–into a three-year term on the BOE.
Day, who lives in the Forest district, is one of four candidates running for two seats in the Board of Education election. In addition to Day, they include incumbents Glenn Elliott and Michael Unis, and fellow challenger Judy DiNapoli. The school board election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5.
He is campaigning on a four-part plan for the schools: increase efficiency in the school system, expand the curriculum, improve school buildings and maintain fiscal responsibility.
“I appreciate the work that the Board is doing,” says Day, “but it represents 54% of our tax dollars. “I felt I wanted to have a say.”
Day says that the reaction to his candidacy has been positive. “People know that I’m a straight shooter,” he says. “They know I’ll listen to both sides of the equation.”
And that’s exactly what he’s been doing, talking to parents, school staffers and even Board of Ed members. “I look at the school system as a project,” Day says. “The school system is constantly evolving. There is no down time: It is a year-round project. You have to understand the moving parts.”
Day concedes that Verona must do some spending now to improve the state of its facilities; the BOE is currently working on a referendum of more than $9 million that it hopes to present to voters early next year. But it is clear that Day would like to see more management around building spending in the future. “We need to be prepared for the future and prepared for emergencies,” he says. “If you spread [the spending] out, it will lessen the blow.” He would also look to spread spending out by working on more shared service agreements with the Town Council.
“One of the reasons I moved to Verona was that I had heard great things about the school system,” Day says. “I want to keep up that tradition.”