Supporting Tuck-Ponder For Her Courage, Experience, Fiscal Responsibility, Focus on Equity
To the Editor:
Our excellent school district faces many challenges, today and in the future. Two of the biggest issues — fiscal responsibility and ensuring equity for all students — have been the hallmarks of Michele Tuck-Ponder’s tenure on Princeton’s Board of Education.
During her three years on the Board, Michele has consistently and thoughtfully considered every budget and program decision through the eyes of the taxpayer and the impact on our children, particularly those children who are too often marginalized. As a 30-year Princeton resident, former mayor and member of town Council, current member of the Princeton Housing Authority, current chair of the School District Equity Committee, and mother of two children educated in PPS, Michele knows all too well these intersecting issues of fiscal responsibility and equity. She has brought this unparalleled experience to bear on our schools and their relationship to every aspect of our community.
Michele has demonstrated vigilant attention to responsible planning for our children’s futures. She had the courage to stand alone to vote against the $129M referendum because she believed there had not been sufficient investigation and consideration of the best possible utilization of existing space, expansion, and facility improvement. Ultimately setting aside this large referendum proved to be the wise path that allowed the district to focus on its absolute priorities with a smaller, successful referendum, while providing time to plan effectively and build the expertise to evaluate options regarding facilities improvements and needed expansions.
As her impressive judgement on the Board has shown, Michele knows that all such planning recommendations and decisions must be made within the context of our town’s educational strategy and goals for continued excellence in the future. Michele will continue to work to ensure that our facilities are the right facilities for developing the 21st century skills that all of our children need, regardless of their career and life goals. As we face both growth and our opportunity gaps simultaneously, every financial decision must be made through the lens of equity. That is why Michele supported the purchase of laptops for every student — because we needed to ensure that every student had a common device on a shared platform so that every student has equal access and opportunity to learn during this time of COVID and remote schooling.
Michele Tuck-Ponder is the right person to make sure that every decision of the school district, financial and otherwise, will be made through that double lens of equity and financial accountability.