On Tuesday, November 7, Verona voters will choose between two candidates to fill one seat on the Verona Board of Education. Lisa Freschi is running for re-election, and she is being challenged by Connor McCann, a 2015 graduate of Verona High School. MyVeronaNJ.com asked both candidates for their views on four key issues for the future of public school education in Verona.
Question 4: Is the Verona BOE transparent enough? If not, what information needs to be more widely available or better explained?
Freschi: The board is very transparent. One change that has taken place, which is important to note, is that the full agenda (agenda, resolutions, and supporting material) is uploaded to the website for public access. In the past, only the simple agenda was available. Now everyone has access to the same packet (with exception of resumes, student information, or personnel information) that the board receives. It gives the public an opportunity to read through what will be voted upon and time to ask questions or voice concerns at the beginning of every meeting. Since board meetings generally are not well attended, I’d like to encourage the public to contact the board with any questions or input. It is the best place to get firsthand information.
McCann: The Verona BOE at this current point lacks transparency and can absolutely do more to be more transparent. The most crucial piece of transparency, is allowing for the public to know how their money is being spent. Residents of our great town work hard each and every day to pay the taxes necessary to send their kids to excellent schools. In return, they have the right to know how their money is being used.
Furthermore, less should be done by the board in closed session committee meeting and more done in open, public meetings. A public board’s job is to serve the public. A key component of that service is making sure the students, staff, and all residents are made aware of how the board is operating. Also, when implementing a 5 year plan for the district, I would advocate for parents, students, faculty, and residents to be able to provide their input on what they need from the Board of Education, which can then be taken into consideration for the plan.