October 19, 2022

Princeton Residents Should Pay Attention to PPS BOE Election

To the Editor:

The Board of Education (BoE) elections are coming up this November, and the campaign signs around the town make it quite evident. While three incumbent BoE members are running for another term, it is time for Princeton residents to take stock of how our school district has been trending in its performance. But first let’s take a look into why all residents should pay attention to this BoE election, regardless of whether we have kids going to Princeton Public Schools.

The ranking of a school district is an important measure as it is a good indicator of the learning and development among its student population. Every student matters, and a school district that takes that approach of no child left behind is the one we all should strive for — a great school district. Such a district acts as a magnet attracting the best school staff (teachers, musicians, coaches, administrators, etc.), and newer residents. It is a key factor in real estate values, which in turn funds (via taxes) the costs of public services to keep this town safe, resourceful, and beautiful. Hence it is of vital importance to Princeton residents to pay attention to the BoE elections, and more importantly to go out and vote to elect the right candidates. 

Let us take a look at how our school district has been performing. For some years now, PHS has had a gradual downward trend in key measurable indicators. Some examples: Niche Ranking — from 16th place nationally in 2019 to 43rd this year; U.S. News — from a Top 100 (94th place) nationally in 2009, to 490th this year; Math Proficiency — PHS 51 percent vs. Montgomery 70 percent and West Windsor 67 percent.

The “so what?” from all of this:

Our school district is very good and this is still a desirable place to live and raise kids. But it has the potential and resources to be truly great.  

The school district is in the midst of a five-year strategic plan and it is important to set a clear strategy and specific measurable goals with action plans.

BoE plays a very important role of appointing the right school district leadership, and in giving the needed autonomy while holding the leadership accountable for delivering on the strategy.

This November we are presented with the choice of re-electing the three incumbent BoE members or to elect at least one, maybe two newer candidates.

Upon reviewing the qualifications of the newer challengers, Rita Rafalovsky stands out as the one who understands the concerns of many residents, and shares the vision of what is possible with all the great teachers and resources Princeton has to offer. Let us support her candidacy with our valuable vote.

Venkat Yaddanapudi
Windermere Way