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BOE Candidates Address Public


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BOE-Election-CollageThe five candidates for this November’s Board of Education election addressed a nearly full house at Wednesday night’s forum sponsored by the Conference of SCAs, answering nearly two dozen questions that touched on everything from their qualifications to their aspirations.

The candidates for the single seat that is to be filled this fall are Joanna Breitenbach, Judy DiNapoli, Dominic Ferry, Lisa Freschi, and Michael Perry. Breitenbach, a 10-year resident with two children in H.B. Whitehorne middle school noted that she is a past president of both the Junior Woman’s Club and the Laning SCA. DiNapoli is a former Verona school district employee who said that, as someone who does not have children in Verona schools, she would be well-suited to represent taxpayers who also do not have schoolchildren. Ferry, who has two children in our schools, stressed budget management experience as a Nutley town employee. Freschi, the mother of three sons who are Verona High School graduates, noted that she held multiple SCA leadership positions over the years, and attended more than 150 SCA meetings and 75 BOE meetings. With two children now in school and a third who will do so in the future, Perry said that the fact that his youngest will graduate in 2028 demonstrates his vested interest in Verona’s schools.

All five described themselves as fiscal conservatives and Breitenbach, Freschi and DiNapoli all chose the constraints on school finances as the biggest challenge facing Verona. Ferry stressed that his background in project management gave him the skills to keep the referendum work from going over budget, which he said had been a problem in other districts. (Verona has a good track record in that regard: Under the management of Business Administrator Cheryl Nardino, Verona was $155,000 under budget on the 2005 referendum and all projects were completed on time. About $2.1 million in interest earned on the money borrowed was used for tax relief over the following five years.)

The candidates praised Verona’s efforts to strengthen its curriculum and hailed its successes in increasing enrollment in Advanced Placement classes. But when asked if they supported full-day kindergarten, there were different opinions. Perry was unequivocally in favor of it, while Freschi and Breitenbach both said they were happy that they had had extra time at home with their children. DiNapoli said it would be a “wonderful thing” if a way could be found to fund it. Ferry reserved judgement, saying he wanted to see a study on the subject.

You can watch the full presentation of the forum below. By the way, all of the candidates were in favor of improving the quality of the BOE meeting video. The election is Tuesday, November 4.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].


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