On April 2, the Moorestown Township Board of Education announced it had a seat to fill. With the board on the precipice of a potential $21 million bond referendum, the seat is open for a civic-minded citizen who wants to have his or her voice heard.
Board member Tinamarie Nicolo recently gave the board her resignation notice. She cited the time commitment as the primary factor leading to her decision. She said with her children at a critical age and the board taking up a large portion of her free time, she felt it was best to step away and commit more time to her three children.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the board, and I think the district is at a real critical point right now with the [potential] referendum,” Nicolo said.
Board President Sandra Alberti said an ideal candidate is someone who values education and the role education plays in serving the community at large. She said diversity of perspectives is important to a board, so whether someone brings a different background, day job or just a different outlook to the board, it’s all valuable to the board’s conversations.
She said the board is a good place to start for someone who is community-minded and looking to get involved, but doesn’t know where to start. Alberti said the board is often people’s first step toward doing more formal community service.
“In today’s day and age, more and more people are interested in engaging in community service,” Alberti said.
Alberti said, in particular, 2019 marks an important time for the board. A vote on a nearly $21 million bond referendum could be on the horizon for the Moorestown Township School District. The referendum would finance the addition of more classrooms to make space for the extra students. The potential referendum is still very much up for discussion, and the board has plans to get additional community feedback on the subject.
The board is also currently engaged in budget discussions and contract negotiations with Moorestown Education Association.
“There’s a lot of things the board is contemplating right now,” Alberti said.
The board is also preparing to present the action steps for the upcoming strategic plan. Alberti said they’ve had a lot of great community involvement as they’ve created the plan, and anyone who enjoyed being part of that process would be welcome to join their ranks.
Alberti said the board plays a vital role in shaping the district’s policies. She said public education is meant to serve the public, so they act as the community’s voice on the budget, policies and everything in between.
She said there are no shortage of people in the Moorestown community with opinions on education. If someone feels the community’s voice isn’t currently being heard, she said that’s another great reason for someone to join.
“It’s a nice opportunity to continue and shape work in a way that reflects your opinion,” Alberti said.
On average, board members can devote between five and 15 hours a week to serving, depending on their committee involvement and the happenings within the district.
One common misconception is that board members have the ability to make administrative-level decisions. She said the board’s primary functions are to hire a superintendent, pass the budget and uphold and pass policies, so the board isn’t the spot for anyone looking to get involved in day-to-day level decisions. But for those looking to have an influence on the budget and potential referendum, now’s the time to join.
Nicolo agreed now is a critical time for the board, and anyone looking to fill her seat could fill an important role.
“There’s a lot of percolating energy on the board right now,” Nicolo said. “I’m anxious to see what comes of the next five years.”
Applicants must be at least a one-year resident of Moorestown, must be registered to vote, must satisfy a criminal background check and cannot currently hold office as a member of the governing body of Moorestown Township.
Interested individuals must submit a resume and letter of interest either in person or in the mail to the Moorestown Township Board of Education to Administration Building on Stanwick Road. The resume and letter of interest must be received by 4 p.m. on April 15.
From there, the board will interview candidates and select a candidate as part of a public vote at a yet-to-be-determined board meeting. The selected candidate will subsequently serve until the January reorganization meeting. There will be three, three-year terms and one, one-year unexpired term up for grabs during the November elections.