Editor’s note: Each of the 12 candidates running for a seat on the Brick Township Board of Education were sent a questionnaire by Brick Shorebeat. 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: 58
Montclair State University, BA in History
Do you currently receive any public salary compensation? If so, from what public agency?
Yes, from the Freehold Regional High School System as a Substitute Teacher.
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
As it presently stands, the administration of the Brick school district remains in flux. What should the academic priorities of our administrators be over the next three years?
The Brick school academics need to be addressed. We must work from the early grades to help the students understand the value of an education. It is not too early in the elementary schools to bring in speakers to engage the students in the wonders of learning that are yet to come. One of the tasks I would put to administrators is outlined in my answer to question #2. In addition, administrators should work with all teachers, especially those with many years of experience, in the implementation of curriculum and the policies that guide the academic growth of our schools.
At its core, a public school district will always be judged based on the achievement of its students. Though Brick’s performance has improved in some areas in recent years based on state data, that same data has repeatedly shown that the Brick district lags in the category of college and career readiness. In a competitive state like New Jersey, what specific initiatives should be put into place to ensure that Brick students will be able to compete in both college and the marketplace with their peers who reside in the state’s highest-performing districts?
In the middle schools we need to have speakers from various colleges visit and talk with students about the many opportunities available to them. Then show that it is a simple matter to focus on what they want to achieve and promote work with the advisors in the school to guide them to the correct courses.
In the High Schools, we need to implement a college-course credit program. This would allow students to take high school classes and receive college credit. Many schools in the State have implemented this type of program with great success. It is simple to implement as it only requires a teacher with a Masters or Doctorate and the cooperation of a local college.
Most Board of Education meetings are extremely lightly attended. On some occasions, concern has been expressed that not enough parents are engaged in the academic aspects of the school experience. What specific ways can the district better engage parents and members of the community with the aim of bringing them into discussions on academic achievement?
I believe that more parents are engaged than the attendance at meetings may indicate. Since my wife teaches as does many of my friends (none of them in the Brick System), I hear of the great lengths that many parents go to insure that their children are receiving a quality education. The purpose of the school board is to insure that money is made available to ensure the proper education of the students and the maintenances of the buildings. The educators are directly involved with the parents. In addition, even though attendance may be light at board meetings, the parents and other residents of Brick can watch the meetings at their own leisure by accessing meeting videos on the BOE website. Rather than increasing attendance, an effort should be made to inform all residents of the easy access to the board videos.
In recent years, some long-sought facilities improvements have been completed in various school buildings. With the condition and age of the district’s facilities continuing to be a chief concern among Brick residents, which improvements and/or upgrades would you prioritize, and which funding mechanism would you favor to finance those projects?
I am very familiar with what needs to be done to repair the infrastructure of our schools. I was an active member of the ad-hoc Facilities Committee that was tasked in 2011-2012 by the Board of Education to determine the repairs, renovations and additions required for our schools to be brought up to date. I was able to see, first hand, the resulting disrepair caused by past Boards of Education neglecting to sufficiently fund maintenance which had resulted in numerous run-down and possibly unsafe conditions. All of our schools need renovations ranging in cost from a few dollars to many millions of dollars for major repairs. The multitudes of problems that need remedy are staggering and will require continued investment to prevent failure. Besides the buildings, an area that apparently has been underfunded is the repair and maintenance of the buses. A small investment to insure that each bus is safe seems to have been ignored for far too long. While the Brick High School has had its electrical system upgraded, the electrical systems and security required in all schools needs to be addressed.
The current board still wants only to patch repairs. Money needs to be spent to repair and upgrade and not just ‘patch’ systems, as had been done in the past. Yes, we can do small repairs with $1-million or less but not the major repairs that are needed. Real money needs to be found for the repairs required for the schools and this will require a public vote once we, again, survey the schools. We must develop and rigorously keep to a schedule of maintenance, renovations and upgrades so as to prevent the neglect that had been a hallmark of past Boards of Education. Money has to be spent, not only on educating our students, but also on the infrastructure so as to insure a safe and clean environment for our children that promotes learning for the 21st century.