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School Elections Newsletter May Get Sent Out

Board of Education discusses whether to put out bio information on the candidates.

The community relations committee with the board of education is considering putting together an election newsletter with information on the candidates—but they are trying to decide what else to include.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Schilder said at the Aug. 28 board of education meeting that the community relations committee has been discussing that it might be helpful to put out an election newsletter with biographies of those running for elections.

“It could also have a public relations piece, like a state of the district, similar to what we used to do,” he said.

Schilder said he ensured with the board’s lawyer that this is legal with election laws, which it is.

“We will be asking for direction from the board on that,” he said. “We will need it at some point prior to October.”

But, Schilder said, one of the concerns is that combining a public relations release with the biography of board members could be construed as being biased to the incumbents.

“It might look like we’re giving them an unfair advantage,” he said.

In the past years, Schilder said, the district has put a newsletter with the biographies of candidates and the opening pages detailing the proposed budget.

“It had statistics, what taxes were going up by and more,” he said. “But this would be a little different this year, especially since the public does not vote on the budget.”

Board of education member Jeffrey Brookner said he believes it is important to inform residents about the budget, but he does believe the information should be separate from the election facts.

“When we had the budget, if we didn’t inform about it, it wasn’t good,” he said. “Since we no longer vote on the budget, there is no sense in combining the election with something that is a puff piece.”

Brookner said he instead believes the district should collect biographies written by the candidates and put them on the website, then email them out to residents.

“Maybe there could be a one-paragraph introduction that the election is on the specific date and where you can check for polling places,” he said.

But board member Arvind Mathur said he also believes that the public should receive some information about what the board of education and district has accomplished in the past year.

There are eight people running for three board of education slots this year, including incumbents Patrick Breslin, Cindy Cullen and Daniel Petrozelli. The other candidates are Aaron Kurdyla, Jacqueline Barlow, Hany Mostafa, Kendall Blythe and Taha Murhaba.

What do you think? Should the district release candidate information, information about the district or both together?

Take our poll and tell us what you think in the comments.

Deanella September 04, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I think it would be very helpful to see the bios and past accomplishments for the incumbents and what each person hopes to accomplish. I agree that this shouldn't be a puff piece but a vehicle with which the voters can inform themselves and make educated decisions prior to voting.
teachB-R September 04, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Why not utilize the BReeze newspaper, which is provided to all residents of Bridgewater and Raritan?
BwaterDad September 04, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Well, the breeze can cover the election too if they want, like any other newspaper, but there should be some official source as well, at least for the basic information like candidate bios.

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