FREEHOLD – Four candidates are seeking three available three-year terms on the Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education in the Nov. 6 election.
The terms of board members Paul Jensen, Michael Lichardi and Susan Greitz will end in December. Greitz is not seeking re-election.
The candidates seeking the terms are Jensen, Lichardi, Jamie Corbett and Ron Reich.
Corbett is a realtor with Village & Castle Real Estate and was previously a teacher for more than 25 years, mostly teaching sixth grade math and science before retiring. She has lived in Freehold Borough since 2007 and is a commissioner on the Freehold Borough Shade Tree Commission.
“I was approached by more than one person to take on this huge undertaking,” Corbett said. “I believe my enthusiasm and work ethic, coupled with my analytical nature will allow me to successfully serve our community.
“I know what kids need to learn and what teachers need to teach,” she said. “I’m also budget conscious and would love to research ways to apply our resources to best serve the needs of the children, parents and stakeholders of the borough.”
If elected, Corbett said areas of focus for her will be providing a quality public education to all students, continuing to secure fair funding from the state and provide tax relief, and retaining teachers to help work toward Freehold Borough’s quality of education and population stability.
Jensen is the manager of kitchen and food services for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and also serves on the Board of Directors for Stomp the Monster, a local charity that raises funds for cancer patients going through treatment. He has lived in Freehold Borough since 2011 and joined the school board in 2016.
“The main reason I am seeking re-election is that we are not done with our funding issues,” Jensen said. “I would like to stay on the board to see the goal of 100 percent fair funding completed.”
If re-elected, Jensen said areas of focus for him will be receiving 100 percent funding in state aid so students can be provided a thorough and efficient education, getting all students in-district instead of renting classrooms for some Freehold Borough students to attend school in neighboring school districts, and making certain all students receive a nutritious meal.
Lichardi is a physician associate of more than 30 years and a doctor of podiatric medicine who has lived in Freehold Borough since 1998. He joined the school board in 2009 and has served as president since 2015.
“I completed a fellowship with the New York State Department of Health, providing training and experience in governmental and political issues of medically disenfranchised and special needs populations,” Lichardi said. “From a culturally diverse family, particularly Italian and Hispanic, my personal and professional experience provides a relevant perspective on borough issues.”
If re-elected, Lichardi said areas of focus for him will be ensuring that the construction of the additions and renovations to the district’s facilities are completed safely with any impact to school operators minimized, continuing to advocate for fair funding from the state, continuing to work toward academic improvement and narrowing achievement gaps represented in state assessment results, and beginning strategic planning renewal with respect to potential school consolidation or regionalization legislation that may be forthcoming from Trenton.
Reich is an attorney who has worked in law for more than 30 years and is currently part-time, in-house counsel for a corporation in Wall Township. He served in the U.S. Army and worked as a sales representative for medical supplies for surgeons. A resident of Freehold Borough since 1974, Reich previously served on the board from 1999 to 2014.
“I seek to regain a seat on the board because not only did my children attend the schools in the district, but now I have a vested interest with a grandson currently in the first grade and another who will enter the district in two years,” Reich said. “I believe it is a civic obligation to continue to ‘pay it forward’ and contribute to the well being of the students in our underfunded district.
“My background will continue to assist me in representing our district,” he said. “During my previous service on the board, I was on the facilities committee and worked for our first large building project before the current one. I was the local representative to the state Board of Education, worked on the finance committee and assisted in the hiring of at least two superintendents, as well as serving on other committees on the local board.”
If elected, Reich said areas of focus for him will be making certain the district is properly funded, protecting minority students from discrimination, and maintaining the lowest school tax rate possible for residents.