October 23, 2019

Endorsing Kendal, Bronfeld For Board of Education

To the Editor:

Voters who believe that more money and buildings will solve the schools’ problems are the voters most apt to turn out on November 5.

Your vote can help change that. Princeton schools need a BoE majority that will determine the reasons for PPS’s continuing budget shortfalls. A Board’s job is to lead, not to follow. BoE members must seek, and find, real alternatives. Of all four candidates (for only three seats), Dafna Kendal and Deb Bronfeld are the most likely.

To those who say, “The schools can’t wait,” note that enrollment numbers will not be known until:

1. The judge’s final rules on Affordable Housing are announced publicly.

2. Public hearings are held and evaluated.

3. The town opens bids.

4. Construction is completed (AvalonBay took more than two years to be built, much less affect enrollment).

5. The Mt Laurel rules require only that building be made possible through zoning changes, and allows ten years to build.

6. Until the town re-zones, and site plans are presented, it won’t even be clear which schools we need to expand.

7. Thus expansion can wait at least until the current debt is paid, in 2023. Likewise another bond referendum.

Meanwhile, however, the BoE may want that $107M balance anyway — so it can also buy Westminster. If this would mean closing Westminster, is that the best outcome, when we don’t even know that school expansion is needed? If PPS does have to expand, should Westminster disappear, or could buying just a portion (for much less than $40M) solve both its problem and ours?

The BoE is once again planning behind its closed doors — while paying another consultant $90K-$140K to teach it “how to listen to the community.” What will it take to get them to listen — not just to the school community, but the entire community?

Having attended many of BoE’s committee and full meetings, and now personally interviewed each of the four candidates, I plan to vote for the only two candidates with the guts to question PPS’s excesses — Dafna Kendal and Deb Bronfeld: Dafna for her willingness to hear, and Deb for her insistently protesting spending that makes no sense. Neither candidate is the choice of the school establishment.

One further thought: Get out and vote for Zwicker and Freiman for NJ Assembly. These thoughtful Dems represent another majority for whom full support is essential.

Mary Clurman
Harris Road