[The following is a message from BOE candidate and incumbent Yoni Silver. All candidates are welcome to submit their messages to TLS]. After much thought and deliberation I have decided to run again for a seat on the Lakewood Board of Education. Given my knowledge ofthe inner dynamics of this complicated district, I feel I can continue to be a valuable asset to the students and tax payers. I will continue to be a liaison to both of our student communities with the utmost sensitivity required of an elected representative.
My primary goals over the next 3 years will be to improve the Lakewood School district and the plight of its students.
Our public school graduation rates are unacceptable and to that end I will ensure that the district hires a truly competent Superintendent that will put the students before politics. One that will not only have the right language, but will do what’s needed to finally turn this district around. The public school students need our support and encouragement to save them from the dismal record of the past. We cannot continue with a failing public school system. A superior educational system in the district is in everyone’s best interest. Our problems are not a lack of necessary funding, rather how the money is being spent. Until the administration is held accountable for their performance, and bench marks in place, no improvement can be achieved.
I have been approached by some Mosdos and concerned Askonim encouraging me to run again for the BOE. They are concerned with the way our district is headed and particularly the following issues:
Over the past 20 years our BOE taxes have continually gone up.
Since the year 2000, our taxes have doubled. In my first year on the board I have voted against yet another substantial budget increase, and helped negotiate a reasonable reduction. In 2010 the Boe proposed an 8 Million dollar increase. I along with some of my other fair minded colleagues on the board helped bring that down to zero. The following year we lowered taxes for the first time in history. It has been a source of pride and satisfaction for me and my colleagues that we were able to stem the tide and accomplish tax relief for 3 years. Something that was claimed by many and the old board members to be impossible.
This year our new members along with the other 2 incumbents running for reelection have proposed a 5.2 % budget increase costing the average property tax payer $300.00. While I originally felt that Lakewood had decided to take a different route, I contemplated not running again. I was encouraged however by many in our Kehilla that last year was a mistake and now is not the time to step aside. The work I started 3 years ago must continue and it was this encouragement by many legitimate Askonim and Mosdos that pushed me back into the race.
I spearheaded the effort to end the Catapult Monopoly and all that entailed. Since 1986 Lakewood had only one vendor, Catapult, providing remedial services to our Yeshivas. For over 10 years, the Iggud Hamosdos were asking for other vendors to be included in addition to Cat. The previous board, including the two other incumbents running for reelection, ignored this request. I was able to rectify that in only my 2nd year. With the help of the other new fair minded board members we voted to issue an RFP for more vendors.
Today our Mosdos enjoy superior services, and more children receive the help they need than ever before. Unfortunately a select few individuals want to turn back the clock and go back to the days of Catapult monopolies.
Since 1992 the State of NJ paid rent for the use of the trailer space designated for remedial services. For almost 20 years our mosdos were never paid for the use of the classrooms in their buildings. Only Catapult was compensated for their trailers and some of this money was shared with just a select few mosdos.
I spearheaded the push within the board to distribute rent money to all of our mosdos giving up classroom or trailer space. Finally after much wrangling we prevailed and today our Mosdos collectively receive almost 750,000 dollars in rent money.
I will continue to push for changes in the BOE that will make our district a better place.
I will work with my colleagues to continue what we started and finally bring positive permanent change that will bring Lakewood onto firm responsible ground.
I will not change my vote 3 times depending on who twists my arm the hardest.
I will make sure we vote in a president that doesn’t hastily make early morning emergency meetings.
I will always vote my conscience with the best interests of the students and the community at large.
I want to thank all that voted for me 3 years ago, and ask for just a few minutes of your time on April 17th to go the polls and vote for me.
Help me help you by voting.