Sunday, November 6, 2016

Question for Candidates part 2

  Bogota Blog NJ sent out a list of  eight questions to the six candidates running for  the three seat available for the Bogota Board of Education.
Those candidates are Incumbent Trustees are Amanda Montgomery, Lisa Kohles, and Charles Severino. The other candidates are Ronald Patron, Kimberly Virbukas, and Michael Leong. Questions were sent out to all candidates at the same time, after the Schedule debate was forced to be canceled due to a power outage at Bogota High School. Questions and answers to the first question will be listed by order of the responses received. Then the next answers  to the following questions will rotate so each candidate who responded will be the first answer listed for at least on question.
   This  post contains the final 4 remaining question .
Bogota Blog NJ will not endorse any one candidate or party. The answers are in the candidates own words with no editing
The 2016 Election will be held on Tuesday 8-November 2016. Polls will be open from 6;00a to 8:00p

           Questions of candidates for Bogota  Board of Education 2016

-Can there be a plan to bring  a comprehensive preschool  program to both Elementary schools         

Michael Leong:
A comprehensive plan is something I would have to look into for the future.
Kim Virbukas:
Bogota had a pre school program a few years back and bringing it back would be a good thing for our community as well as for our future students.  Why wouldn’t we want to give our future a better start to their school life.
Charlie Severino: 
Any educational plan must come from the superintendent.  The board cannot have a role in the planning or implementation.  We can only approve a plan presented by the administration.
Ronald Patron:
 Yes Bogota needs to develop a plan to make preschool a reality. We could turn around our under performing schools and close the educational gap thus allowing our students to compete with the best school districts.
Amanda Montgomery:
It would be wonderful to introduce a comprehensive preschool program for both Elementary school. The budget would have to be closely examined but the largest concern would be space. We would have to see how to introduce a program without combining the existing classes to avoid making them too large.
Lisa Kohles 
 I would love to see a comprehensive preschool program brought to both Elementary schools but that is not up to the Board of Education to suggest.  Administration would have to look into all aspects of these programs and make sure that it is suitable to the district and the schools.  This is an area that I would like researched by the Administration.

-Various surveys  rank Bogota Schools at, or below average.  In one survey, from  a realtor   has Bogota being  equal to neighboring districts with 4 of 10 ranking. With new Housing developments planned, how can the Bogota School move above other districts to encourage  families to relocate to Bogota.

Kim Virbukas:
First we need to look at the questions being ranked.  Why aren’t we hitting those goals, what is stopping us and what can be done to improve them.  This is very concerning as a parent and a homeowner.  If we aren’t improving on realtor ratings then why move to Bogota?  My answer to incoming families would be 1. we have our own High School. ( not being sent out of town for school is a plus and builds community). 2.  We have 2 elementary schools less than a mile from each other. 3. Our teaching staff is very accessable I haven’t met a teacher yet that hasn’t  stayed after school for extra help. 4. We use powerschool, you work and can still see your childs grades everyday.  5. We are a small community and your children will not get lost in the system.
Charlie Severino: 
We can attract families by making our schools more attractive.  That is currently being done.  The new science lab, the soon to be redesign of the front of the High School and hopefully a new biology lab next year.  The improvements in the science labs will better educate our children, which will raise our test scores and raise our standing.
Ronald Patron:
It is only by working together we can do better. Additional benefits will result in property value increases, higher rankings, and making our town a more attractive place to live.
Amanda Montgomery: 
We need to close the gap between test scores when the student leave the Elementary Schools and enter the JR/SR High School. The JR/SR Administration needs to continue to push the students to reach the potential we all know they have. If they could do it in Elementary School, they can do in the JR/SR HS.
I also believe that parent involvement plays a huge role in the success of the students. The school district is fifty-one percent Hispanic. It would be incredibly beneficial if all mailings/emailings would be send out in both English and Spanish. We are working on fixing the school website to keep it up-to-date to allow parents to see upcoming events. PowerSchool is another way to closely monitor students. It gives real-time grades and assignments. No more waiting for progress reports or report cards. Teachers enter grades almost immediately, it’s a great way to keep the students on task.
Lisa Kohles:
As a parent whose children have gone through the Bogota school system we need to take the steps in improving our facilities.  Bogota is very outdated in many areas and money needs to be spent on things like Science and Biology labs which are being done.  We need to continue to grow in our Special Service Department to so each child’s needs are addressed and taken care of.   Children are leaving the borough and going to Catholic schools for their sports programs.  I would like our sports programs to attract children and of course to excel and see students getting scholarships for not only for their academics but to go on in college and play their sport.
Michael Leong:
 I believe we should be trying to manage our teachers and students better. As stated earlier, we need to take better care of our teachers and our students. We could start up more activities to keep them more engaged in a school setting while encouraging their interests.

- Other School Districts have allowed Advertising at their sports venues. On Score board,  and/or other signage. Can the Bogota District take advantage of outside advertising to assist in funding Bogota Sports so more the  School budget funds  can go to improving the  Academics in the district.

Charlie Severino: 
 I am not adverse to outside advertising being used to supplement our operating budget at our sports venues.  My only concern would be the type of adverting offered.  I do know that several years back an attempt was made to secure advertising to no avail.  That does not mean we can’t try again. As a current member of the board I will ask our Interim Superintendent to pursue that avenue now to see if there is an interest.  I fully support any attempt to supplement our budget which will take the burden off of the taxpayer.
Ronald Patron:
 Yes, as an additional source of revenue as long as it’s properly negotiated for a finite period of time.  These advertisements cannot conflict with our values or promote the wrong message.
Amanda Montgomery:
 I wouldn’t be opposed to advertising as long as it adheres to all legal guidelines. It would also need to be discussed in detail where the money from the advertising would be spent so it is equitable to all programs.
Lisa Kohles:
 Bogota sports are near and dear to me.  I have continued over the years to make sure that all sports would continue in our schools.  I am totally for advertisement to help in any way to fund Bogota Sports.  Every sport is in need for additional equipment, uniforms and training.  This past year the Bogota school district hired a trainer for all sports which from my own experience with my child was a great asset to this district.  Whatever can be done to take the burden off the budget would be welcomed.  Something I would be interested in pursuing with the Administration and Athletic Director.
Michael Leong:
 I think advertising like this could be considered on a case by case basis.
Kim Virbukas:
I have seen this done in other school systems and there are pros and cons for having them or not.  This is something that would need to be looked in to.  Why haven’t we done it yet?  If we decide to do it how long do the ads stay up for?  What do we charge for them?  How is that money being spent?  What is appropriate as far as the signs are concerned?  There would need to be guidelines for it.

- Why do you want  to be elected to  Bogota Board of Education, and do you believe is it necessary  either have, or had children attend Bogota Public Schools to be a Board Member.

Ronald Patron:
 I am seeking election to the BOE because I know firsthand the struggles of trying to play catch up. As a parent of children in these schools I want to be sure that they never experience such. While I don’t believe it’s necessary to have kids in the system to be a part of the BOE I can’t imagine that anyone without children could possibly have equal interest.
Amanda Montgomery:
I believe deeply in our education system. I want to continue to push our schools forward to give our children every opportunity to get into the best colleges and compete for the top paying jobs. I don’t think it’s necessary to have/had a child(ren) in the school, does it help, sure, but if you make it a point to get out to the school events and talk to the parents/teachers/administrators you’ll be able to help the schools just as much. In the end, we all just want what’s best for the kids, they deserve our best efforts! I’m hoping that by remaining on the Bogota Board of Education, I will be able to Continue the Progress made this past year.
Lisa Kohles: 
About 6 months ago I was appointed to a vacant position to the Bogota Board of Education.  I decided to run for a 3-year term position because nothing means more to me then a child’s education.  I have lived in Bogota all my life and went through the Bogota school system having attended Steen school and Bogota High School.  My 3 children attended both elementary school and the Bogota High school so I saw over the years what issues I had with the district and wanted to see changes to.  Progress is being made and I can help continue this.  Each child should be proud that they are from Bogota and that their school years were fulfilled educationally and emotionally.  Lastly making less of a tax burden for all residents of Bogota while maintaining our programs and making much needed improvements to the school district.
Michael Leong:
As a parent to two children in the school system, I believe it is a fundamental necessity.  Elected or not, I only want the best for my children and the students in the Bogota Public School system.  I don’t think you have to be a parent to care, but the motivation could not possibly to be better than to want more for your children.
Kim Virbukas:
I thought about running a few years back but didn’t think that I had the time to do it and this is near and dear to my heart as I have three children in our school system. This is an important part of our community, the BOE affects all of us it is not just a parent thing.  This has a direct impact on every child's future, did we prepare them for not just College but for life.  Did we provide them with the best we can?  They will be the future of our community and nation and we need to make sure that WE are doing all we can for them.  I can promise you this:  If elected I will work to make the BOE better and will only have the best interest of the children first.
 Charlie Severino: 
 I would like to be re-elected to the board so I can continue the progress that has been made in our district.  I take partial responsibility for the zero percent tax increase and the improvements made to our schools. I don’t believe it is necessary to have or have had students in our schools to be a board member.  However, I do believe it does help which is an advantage.  Everyone has something to offer.  People like myself who have had children go through the system K through12 know how things were and can aspire to see that children currently in the system can enjoy the same.

 This  Election Day 2016 , the polls are opening at 6:00a and remain open until 8:00p.
  Bogota Public Schools are closed due to the need for them to be polling stations. 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.

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