Saturday, October 24, 2015

Candidates Debate


  On Wednesday 21- October the Bogota High School PTO, Steen School PTO, and Bixby School PTA hosted a Candidate Debate for the six candidates seeking to be elected to the Bogota Board of Education. This year there will be three seats to be contested on during the Election on Tuesday 3-November. The six Candidates are Kathy Van Buren, Eileen Lewis, Asia Burnett, Michael Leong, Michael Cabana, and Jo Ellen Granquist. Of these candidate only Ms. Van Buren is a current Board Member. She won a one year term in 2014 in the seat that was vacated when John Mitchell was elected to Bogota Council.
    The debate was moderated by Ray Pinney of the New Jersey School Boards Association. Each candidate was given a chance to make an opening statement, then were asked a series of questions by Mr. Pinney. Ms. Granquist was unable to attend but had an opening statement read by Mr. Pinney. When Mr. Pinney  explained the rules of how the debate would be conducted, he also praised the Borough of Bogota for having a field of six candidates for the three seats on the Board. His comment was that this many candidates shows how interested the residents of the Borough are interested in their school system.   There was also approximately two dozen people in the Audience, with most being parents of Students who are attending at least one of the three public schools. 
     Each Candidate, in attendance, gave an opening statement, then were asked the same question answering in a random order.  Most of the answers to the question were similar amongst the candidates. "The main goal of the Board of Education  is to provide the best possible education for the Students of Bogota." " The role of is Board Trustee is to implement the policies , and programs of the Superintendent."   Some question provided a chance for a few candidates to have unique answers. On the question about goals for the district Mr. Leong talked about the need for a return of the vocational arts  it the curriculum.  He said that manual labor skills will be needed as much as science & math, and it should be taught how all school subjects will be useful with each other. On the question of how can a Board member support a decision they may not be in favor of. Ms Van Buren answered first by recalling on her previous time as a Trustee  that she voted one way because that what was expected of her.  She said she regrets the time she did. After that she then would research all the sides of an item and to find common ground even if it is something she may vote against. Ms Burnett said she would try to learn as much as she could on a subject. This would also include talking to Teachers, Parent,and possible Students if she thought it would help make the best possible decision. 
     Then the Audience had to chance to ask questions. One was :Is someone responsible  for the District low test scores, and how can they be improved. Ms Van Buren wanted to answered first by saying that the Superintendent is the first to hold any responsibilities to the District and its Students. Then she said the job of the Board is to support the Superintendent  with programs that will better educate the Students.  Ms. Burnett also said the importance of the Superintendent to be a leader of the District. She added that it also take long term consistentes leadership in the Administration, and in the schools themselves to help build up policies that will raise the performance of the schools. Mr Cabana then talked about some districts have also had frequent change but have managed to maintain high standards for their Students. 
   The closing statements by each candidate was to empower the residents that the Board of Education was their organization. They need to vote for the best person to become the next Trustee. They need take the responsibility of the Student and cast their ballot on Tuesday 3-November.The   election will be on Tuesday 4- November with the polls opening at 6:00a and remain open until 8:00p.

Polls are located at the at :
-- For Districts 1& 6 it is the Bogota Recreation Center at 162 W. Main St.
   Districts 1&6 is that part of the Borough located West of the Railroad tracks.

-- For Districts 2&3 it is the Gym of  Bogota High School at 1 Henry Luthin Pl.  please use the door towards the back of the building on the North side of the Building.
  Districts 2& 3  is that part of the Borough located East of the Railroad tracks & North of Beechwood Ave

--  For Districts 4&5 it is  in the Gym of the Roy Bixby School at Maplewood & Fischer Aves.
     Districts 4 &5  is that part of the Borough located East of the Railroad tracks & South of Beechwood Ave.

Ward Dist. Address
1 Bogota Recreation Center - 162 West Main Street
2 Bogota High School Gym - One Henry Luthin Pl. (Left Rear of Bldg)
3 Bogota High School Gym - One Henry Luthin Pl. (Left Rear of Bldg)
4 E. Roy Bixby School Gym. Maplewood & Fischer Aves
5 E. Roy Bixby School Gym. Maplewood & Fischer Aves.
6 Bogota Recreation Center-162 West Main St.

Asia Burnett

Eileen Lewis

Michael Leong

Michael Cabana 

 Kathy Van Buren
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