October 21, 2020

Knowledge, Hard Work of Candidates Behrend, Tuck-Ponder, Durbin Will Best Serve Students

To the Editor:

November’s coming, and again the only interesting local election is for Board of Education. I believe all candidates sincerely want to educate all our kids well and spend wisely, but some spending claims I’ve seen seem off base to me:

  • Opposition to the agreement to educate Cranbury kids at PHS. But on net it benefits PPS by $2-3 million/year (and can’t be revoked, anyway).
  • Opposition to the students’ new Macs as too costly. But they are more capable and better solve many issues such as in-class consistency, equity, testing, remote learning and security, while staying within the existing budget.
  • Objection to buying the Choir College. But no candidates favor that anyway.

Princeton has top-ranked schools, despite bigger challenges than some neighboring districts. We have low student-teacher ratios and four neighborhood schools that are worth the cost. Adjusted for pensions (borne by the state), special education needs and pass-throughs, our per-pupil spending is not wasteful.

There is very little wiggle room in the operating budget, due to the “2 percent cap” and rising enrollment from new housing. What a shame it would be to sidetrack our improvements and harm our stellar reputation by cutting an already tight budget to save a fraction of 1 percent of our taxes!

Beth Behrend, Michele Tuck-Ponder, and Jean Durbin clearly have more experience and energy around the operational details of our district. They have priorities that include wise spending and much more. I think their knowledge and hard work will best serve our students and, by keeping PPS a top-ranked district, our property values.

Bob Schwartz
Grover Avenue