Barrington Bulletin

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All school board candidates respond to reader’s request for information

Barrington School District Board of Education candidates Holly McCauley and Robert J. Klopp today joined candidate Carla Bolling in responding to Barrington Bulletin reader Bruce Byrne’s “Letter to the Editor” asking for some details about the candidates’ background and goals.

Byrne asked the candidates – Mindy Berwick, Klopp (incumbent), Carla J. Bolling (incumbent and board VP) and McCauley — for details on:

Avon School 1. How many years have you lived in the Barrington School District?
2. How many children in your family attend or have attended Barrington schools?
3. How many school board meetings have you attended in the last two years?
4. In what capacities have you evaluated budgets?
5. What non-budget interests or skills can you bring to the school board?
6. What are the two or three greatest challenges facing the Barrington School District, and how should we address them?

Below are the responses in the order they were received:

Response from Carla J. Bolling, Barrington Board of Education vice president:

1. How many years have you lived in the Barrington School District?

• I have lived in Barrington for just over 14 years. My husband and I moved to Barrington in September of 1999.

2. How many children in your family attend or have attended Barrington schools?

• I am proud that all three of our children are excelling in the Barrington School District. I have two children in Avon and one in Woodland.

3. How many school board meetings have you attended in the last two years?

• I was originally sworn into the Barrington Board of Education in October 2009. Since then, I have only missed two regular meetings.

4. In what capacities have you evaluated budgets?

• Although I have not been a member of our Finance Committee, our board has worked closely together on how to best to allocate our funds with the best interest of our students and district in mind. I am currently a member of the Negotiation Committee, where part of the negotiation process includes evaluating the impact of a new contract on the overall budget. Staffing our school district is a large and important part of our overall budget.

5. What non-budget interests or skills can you bring to the school board?

• As a board member, I have supported updating and upgrading our technology so  our students and staff can utilize the benefits of what is new, exciting and offers alternatives to traditional learning. Since 2009, we have installed  SmartBoards in our classrooms and have added SmartTables to assist with hands on and interactive learning. We’ve upgraded our Internet and computers, allowing us to keep up with technological changes, ensuring we have the resources available to challenge and allow our children and staff to explore learning through multiple mediums.

• I work to keep our schools safe for our children. Although our schools have been updated with new additions within the past 8 years, some of our new construction still needed some additional updating. For instance, the Avon gym needed acoustic panels installed. This was a safety concern for our children because, in the event of an emergency, instructions were difficult to hear. These panels were installed within the past year and have made a drastic reduction in the noise level in the gym. We have also installed security cameras around both schools and a new keyless entry system on the doors for broader accessibility and control.

• By profession, I am a certified Project Manager for a large telecommunication company. One of the skills I carry over to the board first and foremost is Lessons Learned. I believe that our board is continually progressing forward while learning from our past. By taking into account our past experiences, we are able to grow as a school district and community. Another skill I carry over is communicating with our stakeholders. These stakeholders include our children, staff, administration, parents, community and beyond. I work to talk to people in our community and listen to what concerns they have, what is working and what is not. I then try to relay those messages to our board for discussion and action as required.

6. What are two or three greatest challenges facing the Barrington School System, and how should we address them?

• I believe the biggest challenge we face as a district is effectively and efficiently utilizing the funds in our budget as we strive to provide a safe learning environment for our children. We need to do this while ensuring we are up to date with the latest technologies. With budget constraints over the past few years along with our growing class sizes at Avon, we have had to make some adjustments to some of our programs. We work closely with our teachers in discussing new curriculums and identifying alternatives to traditional education. Thinking outside of the norm has opened up opportunities to new and creative ideas for learning. We have also taken measures to help ensure the safety of our children in our schools and will continue to look for opportunities to continually improve our security system.

• As a sending district to Haddon Heights High School, we want to make sure our students are maintaining high standards along with their peers from Haddon Heights and Lawnside. Our board has asked our administration to partner with both Haddon Heights and Lawnside administration on the curriculum we are all teaching with the goal that all districts come into the high school with a more uniformed skill set.

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Response from Holly McCauley

1. How many years have you lived in the Barrington School District?

• I have lived in Barrington for 12 years. My husband has lived in town for 43 years and was educated through the Barrington School District.

2. How many children in your family attend or have attend Barrington schools?

• I am proud to say both of our children are doing great in the Barrington School District. Our two children currently attended Avon.

3. How many school board meetings have you attended in the last two years?

• As a parent and non- school board member, I have attended several board meetings over the past three years.

4. In what capacities have you evaluated budgets?

• I have over 15 years of supervisory experience in the banking industry.

• I have 5 years of supervisory experience working at a law firm doing bankruptcy work for mortgage companies.

• I have also taken part in budgeting money for the school with APT (Avon Parents and Teachers).

5. What non-budget interests or skills can you bring to the school board?

• I am one of twelve active committee members that represent the food allergy research and education (FARE) for both South Jersey and Philadelphia area. I have the knowledge and resources to educate others on food allergies. I’m all about making children safe and feeling safe in school.

• I am a member of the Democratic club.

• I am the current president of the APT. (Avon Parents and Teachers)

• I was a part of Harvest Fest organizing committee this year.

6. What are the two or three greatest challenges facing the Barrington School system, and how should we address them?

• With increasing student enrollment in Barrington School District, we need to find alternative options to balance the school budget and enhance our education programs. In the 2013-2014 school year, two additional class rooms were added to compensate for the additional enrollment. If I am elected, I will work hard with the rest of the board members to solve these issues.

• I believe we need to continue to utilize the new state guidelines for standardized testing. This means keeping teachers current and informed on standards through professional development. I feel committed to keeping our technology current in order to enhance our child’s learning capabilities.

• Barrington School District is doing a great job with security improvements. They have installed cameras and keyless entry systems on doors into building and they continue to implement security lock down drills. With the increased enrollment each year, we need to plan new ideas for security. There is always room for improvement in terms of how we handle security in various situations. We must continue to work with the Barrington Police Department to keep our security measures current and effective.

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Response from Robert J. Klopp, Barrington Board of Education member:

1. How many years have you lived in the Barrington School District?

•  I am Barrington born and raised.  I attended both Avon and Woodland schools and graduated from Haddon Heights High School in 1989.  In 1989, I left for college and a career as an officer in the United States Army.  I returned to Barrington with my wife in 2002 where we are raising our three children.  I guess the simple answer is 30 years.

2. How many children in your family attend or have attended Barrington Schools?

• We currently have two children in the district and will have a third in two years.

3. How many school board meetings have you attended in the last two years.

• I have attended all but one school board meeting within the last two years.

4. In what capacities have you evaluated budgets?

As a former officer in the United States Army, one of my positions was that of a logistics officer.  As the logistics officer, I was charged with developing, implementing and monitoring an annual operations budget of over $18 million.  Currently, I am a business owner.  As the owner, I continually evaluate all of our budget needs in order to maintain the profitability of the business.  While a member on the school board, I have served on the Negotiations Committee for three years and the Finance Committee for one year.

5. What nonbudget interests or skills can you bring to the school board?

• I feel one of my greatest assets or skills is the ability to listen to all sides of the story.  Everyone in life has different experiences that have formed who they are and what they believe.  If we as a school board can draw from the experiences of the community members, teachers, administrators and our children, we are able to make informed decisions that will continue to improve our district.

6. What are two or three of the greatest challenges facing the Barrington School System, and how should we address them?

• As a tax payer, I was glad to see caps placed on budgets.  As a parent with students in the district, I was concerned that these caps would hinder academic growth.   Therefore, I feel the greatest challenge today is the ability to achieve continued academic growth within a constrained budget.  I feel that as a district/board we have been effective over the last few years.  That challenge lies ahead of us every year.  The true heroes in these tough economic times are the teachers and administrators.  They continually find cost efficient and creative ways to make learning both fun and effective.

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Response from Mindy Berwick

1. How many years have you lived in the Barrington School District?

• I have lived in Barrington for 13 years. My husband and I purchased our first and only home in Barrington in August of 2000. I was born and raised in nearby Voorhees and educated through the Voorhees Public School District. I graduated from Eastern High School in 1996.

2. How many children in your family attend or have attended Barrington Schools?

• We are proud parents of a daughter who is currently in Woodland school.

3. How many school board meetings have you attended in the last two years?

• In the last two years, I’ve attended one school board meeting. I do consistently read the minutes from the meetings online to stay informed.

4. In what capacities have you evaluated budgets?

• As a sole small business owner of a local hair salon, I evaluate budgets on a daily basis. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say I think about my budget in my sleep! It is key for me to stay on top of my business’ income and expenses at all times. On a weekly basis, I analyze my employees’ performance levels, customer satisfaction and customer retention constantly trying to increase profit for the salon.

5. What non- budget interests or skills can you bring to the school board?

• Currently I am serving as secretary to the Woodland Parent Teacher Group (WPTG). I was also a member of the Avon Parent Teachers (APT), volunteering last school year as president. During my years at Avon, I chaired several school fundraisers and events. Being a member of both boards have given me the opportunity to meet and be involved with many parents, teachers and students. Prior to starting my business, I also worked in the Avon cafeteria for two years. During those two years, I was able to see and understand the daily challenges of budget cuts as well as see the the staff adapt well to those challenges. Volunteering for the school has meant I’ve had to make many decisions regarding activities to keep or change for the children. I pride myself in being a good listener, being fair  and consistently seeking out opinions from parents and teachers involving the various activities.

6. What are the two or three greatest challenges facing the Barrington School System, and how should we address them?

• One of the greatest challenges I feel we face as a school district and nation as a whole is bullying. Cyber bullying has been very prominent across our country, and I feel it’s very important to be pro active. I do feel that both schools have taken a pro active approach with the students in regards to the dangers of the internet and cyber bullying. However, most Barrington parents did not have to worry about cyber bullying when they attended school. I would like to implement more parental workshops to inform parents of the constant changes to social media so we can try to stay one step ahead and remain informed of the many benefits and dangers the internet has to offer.

• I also feel that parental involvement is an ongoing issue with the district. Parental involvement seems to peak at Avon and dwindle once the students go to Woodland. I’d like to to see more “behind the scenes” involvement at Woodland. As a parent of a middle school child, I understand the challenges parents face when our children think it’s no longer  “cool” for Mom or Dad to show up in class to read or walk them to the bus stop or to school. I feel the middle school years are so vital for our children and that communication between the staff, parents and students is so important. I feel that different ideas and strategies I’ve learned from being a consistent presence at the school can be useful to the  school board to bridge a gap between parents, teachers and the board.

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DISCLAIMER

The author of the Barrington Bulletin, Mark Correa, is also a member of the Barrington School District Board of Education as of Jan. 6, 2013. Please be aware that I do not speak for the board in any way. The thoughts, views and opinions contained within the posts on this site are mine and mine alone. And the comments after any given posts are the thoughts, views and opinions of the author of the comment.

If you have any concerns over my objectivity or with the content on this site, please leave a comment or email me at BarringtonBulletin@gmail.com.

Thank you.

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3 comments on “All school board candidates respond to reader’s request for information

  1. Patti Pawling
    November 1, 2013

    Thanks to the candidates for sharing your vision with the voters. As a former 22 year member of the Barrington Board of Ed, I am well aware of the time commitment and dedication the position requires. I appreciate your willingness to serve. I am proud of the job the current board members are doing on behalf of our children, and I look forward to meeting any new board members who are elected.

  2. Bruce Byrne
    November 5, 2013

    Thanks to all of our candidates for standing for election and putting in this effort to answer these questions. My wife, Barbara, and I are going to feel much more confident about voting well today. Thanks also to the Barrington Bulletin and its editor for stepping up to make Barrington an informed community. Please, if you haven’t already, forward this link to your Barrington friends. Oh yeah, and put your computer/tablet/phone down and go out and vote!

  3. Pingback: Barrington election results: Tight race for school board posts | Barrington Bulletin

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2013 by in Events, Schools and tagged , , .
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