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: John Talty
Current Age: 75
Educational Background: Point Pleasant Beach HS in 1958
Current Occupation: Retired
Do you currently receive any public salary compensation? If so, from what public agency?
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
Yes, BOE 2004-2007 and 2010-2014 when I resigned due to by pass heart surgery. When I tried to undo my resignation, it was defeated by two BOE members who are now running for township Council on the Republican ticket. I am trying to regain my seat for the one year remaining on my present 3 year term.
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?
Administrators should continue to build on the solid foundation created with the new reading and math programs. All students at all grade levels benefit from having strong writing skills. This is something that really needs to be prioritized. Students who go on to college have a better chance at success with strong writing skills. Students who go directly to the workplace will also stand out if they are able to read and write well.
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?
The same academic priorities discussed in the first question, primarily the writing skills, will lead to college and career success. We also need to make sure we are guiding our high school students well with course selections and when to take these courses. High school students need to be proficient in math and writing so they don’t need to waste time and money in college taking remedial courses.
In addition to the added expense, these courses usually do not offer credits toward graduation and can delay degree completion. Another initiative our district should begin is offering more vocational and technical coursed at the high school. Training students in areas like technology and technology repair, HVAC, electrical work, plumbing, and other fields will create interest in the students. They can then choose to pursue schooling after high school in the areas, have a strong base knowledge, and have a springboard to lifelong employment in these needed areas.
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?
As board members, we want to have as much positive influence on the education of the students as we possibly can. However, the most important contribution to a student’s success is an involved, supportive family. Parents are busy working and managing life in general, but a great priority really needs to be their children’s education. I was part of a Board that made sure all the Board of Education meetings were filmed and made available online so parents or anyone in the community can view them whenever it is convenient.
While I am always happy to see parents at meetings, and I encourage everyone to stay informed about what is going on in our district, I think it is even more important for parents to spend their evenings reviewing homework with their children, reading to them, and talking with them about what went on in school that day. The district can engage parents through offering parent workshops that focus on different important topics that improve education. We can offer these workshops at different times, both day and evening, to allow more parents to get there. We can even film some of these presentations and include them on the website , too.
Parents want to see their children do well in school and we need to include parents as part of the team that helps that child succeed. If every member of the team understands the goals and the tools available to reach those goals, everyone wins.
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?
Just like in your home, if feels like as soon as you complete one project there Is another one waiting for you. I am proud to have been part of a board that really took on some tremendous facilities projects in our district and made such great improvements like the new science labs and bleachers at Brick High School, the new track and gym floor and all new auditorium seats at Brick Memorial High School. The new windows and doors throughout the schools, the HVAC upgrades throughout the district, and many more projects. The best part of these projects is that we were able to do it without burdening the taxpayers with increased taxes to do them.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Walter Campbell #5e who was most responsible for the improvements with our facilities and Larry Reid #9e who as chairperson of the Business/Finance committee saved us millions of dollars which the Board was able to use for Facilities improvements and other important projects. We need to continue with these upgrades and we need to continue to do it creatively so we don’t burden our residents with increased property taxes or building referendums. I think we should prioritize the heating and cooling systems that still need to be upgraded, as well as gymnasiums at Brick High School. Another priority is some of the parking lots throughout the district. We need also prioritize any aspects of the buildings and grounds that could pose safety hazards.
We want our students to have a safe and comfortable environment in which to learn! So as not to put these expenses on the taxpayers, we should fund them through various energy savings, by always cutting any waste we can find within the existing budget, and by generating revenue through things like corporate sponsorship and advertising. Creative ideas will yield creative results
Please get out and vote for
Walter Campbell #5e
Larry Reid #9e
lois Turner #10e
John Talty #11e