October 9, 2019

Stankiewicz Has Expertise, Commitment Indispensable to the School Board

To the Editor:

We strongly endorse the re-election of Greg Stankiewicz to the Princeton Board of Education. We’ve known Greg for 30 and 15 years, respectively, and can attest to his integrity, his commitment to building social equity, his belief in consensus and coalition building, and his public policy expertise — not to mention his very likeable and levelheaded personality. During Greg’s first term, we saw these qualities at work, and we believe they are indispensable. The board is facing the daunting challenge of managing a growing student population under strict fiscal constraints in a town with tremendous concern about steadily rising property taxes. Greg has the fiscal, planning, and policy experience — and the right temperament — to tackle the complexities of this job.

As part of Greg’s dedication to finding new revenue opportunities, he encouraged the district to work closely with statewide education organizations, to have a stronger voice in the State House. Such joint advocacy efforts helped produce a one-time increase in the state’s annual reimbursement for extraordinary special education costs, providing Princeton Public Schools with an additional $1.7 million this year. Greg is pursuing other state-level revenue measures, including supporting pending legislation calling for the state to fund charter schools directly, which would add $6.5 million to the district’s budget while keeping the charter school fiscally whole.

Greg believes our schools and municipality should work together. Toward that end, he helped implement a shared services study, to provide even better services in a more efficient manner.

As the School Board’s liaison to the Princeton Planning Board, Greg is in a perfect position to ensure that planning for the town’s and district’s growth is done in unison. We must not wait to act because, to paraphrase Lewis Carroll, if we don’t know where we’re going, any road will take us there. That’s why we approve of Greg’s vote in favor of the district hiring a highly reputable planning firm to engage our community, analyze the data, and provide options to school and town officials for managing Princeton’s inevitable population growth.

While we loudly applaud Greg’s fiscal and policy work, we give him a standing ovation for his fervent dedication to student wellness and inclusion. In response to learning about our high school students’ very high stress levels, he supported a later school start time, a block schedule at the high school, and reduced homework loads. Going forward, he wants the district to work with students to create the new, state mandated mental health component to the K-12 curriculum.

We know from personal experience that Greg believes in the right of every child to equal educational opportunity, regardless of race, socio-economic background, or ability. To help all students thrive, he strongly supported the equity audit and encouraged Princeton Public Schools to replace punitive discipline, which disproportionately and negatively impacts low income students and students of color, with restorative approaches.

It’s vital to keep Greg on the Board. Please join us in supporting Greg on November 5.

Betsy and Darma Ie
Carriage Way

Wendy Kaczerski and Roger Shatzkin
Chestnut Street