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: Lawrence K. Reid
Current Age: 60s (seasoned, but well preserved)
Highest level of education achieved (feel free to list your high school, college, and the nature of any degrees you have earned):
Masters in Business Administration with a major in finance
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
Current 3 1/2 year term on the Brick BOE is my only elected office.
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 Brick Township school district can expand on our Advanced Proficiency course work at our high schools. In addition, we can add more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes throughout the district in our elementary and middle schools. Our new science labs at Brick High School, and the implementation of our 1:1 laptop computer initiative in both High Schools and Middle Schools differentiates Brick schools as among the leaders in New Jersey for technology in our classrooms. These efforts will benefit our students as they enter the job market or go for advanced degrees.
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.
Our plan is to continue to examine all areas of expense for more operational efficiencies, as we have done over the last three years. Healthcare and insurance have proven to be areas where reduced expenses can be achieved. Reduced energy costs through the installation of energy efficient lighting and heating equipment is an ongoing process started three years ago and will continue for the foreseeable future. Revenue will continue to be enhanced by grant applications for State and local funds that supplement our tax levy. One area that can generate additional revenue that I plan to pursue is school bus advertising. We are constantly trying to maximize the use of the existing budgeted funds, and only increase the school district tax levy as a last resort.
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?
“College readiness” really means that students have applied themselves throughout their 12 years of education to maximize their individual potential. Our primary goal is to create a “culture of excellence “ in all areas of curriculum and instruction. Policies and procedures that ensure a challenging academic environment are essential, and evaluations will be geared toward professional development of all our staff. Specifically, we need to make sure that Advanced Placement courses are offered in all subjects, and make it possible for as many students as possible to take College testing exams. These exams ensure that the students know how they compare to other students throughout New Jersey as they prepare for College.
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 am proud to be a member of a Board of Education that has made student education our top priority. Outstanding student performance in both academic and extracurricular activities is our motivation for being on the Brick BOE for the last 3 years. Our addition of a full day kindergarten and the 1:1 computer initiative are just two examples of our efforts to improve on the learning experience for all students. Sharon Cantillo and I have worked well together setting District priorities, and also examining expenses to determine where we can achieve efficiencies that will benefit both the students and the taxpayers. Our re-election will ensure that these policies continue. I know that my analytical skills will help all BOE members work together on improving student performance.