September 13, 2017

Board Candidate Stresses Fiscal Prudence, Long-Term Planning, Unifying Community

To the Editor:

I am writing to introduce myself and to ask for the support of your readers as a Princeton School Board candidate in the November 7 election.

As a 16-year Princeton taxpayer, community volunteer, public school parent and corporate attorney with financial and governance expertise, I will leverage my experience and passion to build on the excellence of our public schools. I will do so, however, in a financially prudent manner that helps preserve the quality of life and economic diversity of our beloved town.

We as a community face ongoing challenges in ensuring that our tax dollars (48 percent of our property taxes) are spent wisely to secure the best possible education for each and every one of our 3800-plus public school children. Rising enrollment, limited land for expansion, and the politics of state/federal funding and charter schools can either divide and frustrate us, or they can be viewed as an opportunity for us to think “outside of the box” and seek creative, equitable, and fiscally-responsible solutions. I believe the latter approach benefits us all.

Our School Board, working with the Princeton Council, must develop a long-term fiscal plan, calling upon financial and other experts in our community, and use it to make sound strategic decisions that will positively impact budgets into the future. The Board must embrace innovation and transparency, adopt best practices from other districts, capture savings through energy audits and sustainable technologies, and review administrative positions to ensure that the jobs people are doing reflect current needs. As a community, we should model for our children how respectful listening and dialogue can help bridge our differences, leading us toward our common goal of seeing our children thrive.

Those who know me professionally or from my years of public and board service — for our schools and school gardens, on the boards of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed or the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton — know that I bring critical thinking, objective decision-making, and passion to all that I do.

With your support on November 7, I’d like to become part of a school board that is transparent, forward-looking and sees opportunity in challenges. Together let’s focus on fiscal prudence, long-term planning and unifying our community to enhance the educational experience of all of our children. I welcome your thoughts and ideas at

Beth Behrend

Riverside Drive