Editor’s note: Each of the four candidates running for a seat on the Brick Township Board of Education were sent a questionnaire by Brick Shorebeat. All but one candidate, John Barton, responded. Their answers to our questions will be published on our site verbatim. We have disabled comments on profile articles to ensure the candidates’ statements speak for themselves and readers can decide, without additional, potentially anonymous commentary, their view on those running for office.
Full Name: David Fischer
Current Age: 57
Current Occupation: Self Employed Mail Order & Swap Meet Sales
Highest Level of Education Achieved (optional: include degree/institution or certification, etc.): BA in History from Montclair State University
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
Question 1: With the implementation of Common Core and other multi-state initiatives driving much of what is being taught in classrooms nationwide, what are some specific programs the Brick Township school district can initiate or expand in order to differentiate itself and stand out in a positive manner for the scholastic benefit of its students?
The common Core initiative is one that I believe will fail in the short run. It has taken teaching to the test to a new level. Students in Brick (and all of NJ) this year will be subject to 47 days of testing and test preparation. This is being done at the expense of actual learning time. Corporations are trying to take over education in order to reap the billions of dollars of profit to be made on the backs of students and taxpayers. As for what we should do, Unfortunately Common core has to be followed under state law but we must not lose sight of educating the whole student. We must find ways to bring back programs that were cut back or eliminated due to the requirements of Common Core (and NCLB). This means we have to change the focus from 47-days of testing to 47-days of learning. We must not lose sight of what is best for the student.
Question 2: Brick Township suffered a significant blow to its tax base during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. With recovery from the storm not nearly complete, please describe your plan to ensure the relative stability of the tax rate in a township where many families feel they cannot afford an increased tax burden. Please be specific in listing any ways you feel the district could either cut expenses or generate revenue, keeping in mind that under state guidelines, Brick cannot reduce its school district tax levy.
I would not institute any unnecessary new programs that would place an increased burden on the taxpayer.
I would evaluate current revenue programs and continue those programs that are showing positive cash flow.
I would insure that no money is spent unless it benefits the students.
I would promote and obtain greater business support for sponsoring all activities in our schools.
I would ensure that our BOE actively searches for donations and grants from not only businesses, state and federal agencies but also philanthropic organizations.
I would continue to research options that would allow for a stabilization of health and benefit program costs.
I would require more justification from the various departments when they submit their yearly budget requests.
I would re-evaluate the use of cost-saving alternative power initiatives since not only in our district, but throughout the country, there have been great success stories with alternate energy sources.
I would look to save energy through proper insulation of our schools.
I would ensure that the money and schedule is available for the proper maintenance of all facilities.
I would work to ensure that the highest standards of professionalism are being maintained by our coaches, extracurricular advisors and volunteers
I would encourage the BOE to investigate more possibilities for shared services with the township.
I would ensure that the fees charged to outside organizations for use of our facilities cover the true cost.
I would ensure, when we are offered matching funds, we take advantage of them and not just let them go to another district because of our inaction.
Question 3: “College readiness” has become one of the primary drivers of how schools and school districts are graded in New Jersey’s School Performance Reports and in a slew of private rankings that are published each year. What are some policies, programs or reforms you believe could help improve Brick’s performance in this area, and how should they be implemented?
I would task the superintendent of our schools with creating an environment where the teachers are free to bring new ideas to his attention, ideas that would be vetted with the goal of increasing academic excellence in all of our programs. Promptly adding, improving or removing programs that coincide with current research in education is the only way to keep our students on track to excel in their chosen educational and life careers. There are ‘bridge’ programs which are promoted by the State and colleges that allow for college credits to be earned by taking high-school courses simply by having the curriculum approved by the college and the course taught by a teacher holding a masters degree in the subject. Any of the programs would have to include using the latest in methods, technology and research as well as a strong partnership with colleges to insure that the correct direction is being taken by our schools.
Question 4: You may use this space to make a personal statement as to why you are running for the Board of Education and why you feel you are the best candidate for the seat for which you are running.
I consider my background in education, Technology and business qualifies me to represent the students and taxpayers of our community. In addition, I am an active appointed member of the Brick Historical Preservation Committee and have served on BMAC (Brick) and the DART Coalition (which works to stop substance abuse among our young). Since I was 17, I have been working with technology and managing businesses. I developed my team leadership skills and became proficient at implementing ideas as I elevated my hands-on self-taught experience to the level of managing small to multi-million dollar businesses. For the last 23 years, I have been operating my own successful sales business which allows me the flexibility to be available for all the duties of a board member. As a result of my business and educational background, I am well versed in conducting research which will allow me to investigate matters put before the Board. I have worked for many years in several school districts which has allowed me to gain insight into the operation of schools and the needs of the education community. I have many relatives who are educators and they are a rich resource for me whenever I need to discuss any aspect of education. I do not have any self-interest in serving on the BOE other than to ensure that our students are afforded a well-rounded education, that our educators and other employees are treated fairly and that our community and taxpayers’ interests are not overlooked. I have every confidence that my education, technological and business background provides a good foundation for me to efficiently perform the duties of a member of the Brick Board of Education.