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Middletown Board of Education Candidates Share Views at Forum

A large slate of candidates seeking different opportunities to serve on the board took questions Thursday at the Middletown Arts Center.

For the first time the public got to hear from 10 of the 14 candidates seeking a place on the 9-member Middletown Township Board of Education at a candidates forum at the Middletown Arts Center.

The event, sponsored by Middletown Mornings public interest group, attracted nearly two dozen attendees. It is the first of three forums planned in Middletown. Organizer Stephanie Murray, who also serves on the 5-member Middletown Township Committee, said it will be hard for voters to sort out who is competing against whom for the contested three 3-year terms and the single one-year unexpired term. (There is no contest for the two, unexpired 2-year terms). "It is such a large ballot," she said. 

After introducing themselves and talking about their qualifications, the candidates were asked for their views on subjects like redistricting and how to balance savings with district needs. The candidates showed they had more in common than differences. Their responses were largely were similar: as expected, every candidate is for putting kids first, transparency of finances, and cutting where necessary -- with community input. 

Not present at the hour-long morning debate was three candidates for the three-year term: Leonora E. Caminiti (I), Richard G. Campbell, and James Cody (I). Also absent was Drew Wilson, one of six candidates for the one-year unexpired term.

Flip through the photos for highlights from the candidates statements, and see the ballot below. You can find profiles of those who have filled out candidate questionnaires on Patch by clicking on their names. 

Board of Education: 

Three-Year, Full Term Candidates (Vote for three)

  • Leonora E. Caminiti, Lombardi Court (incumbent)
  • Richard G. Campbell, Radcliffe Drive, Lincroft
  • James Cody, Whispering Pines Drive, Lincroft (incumbent)
  • Michael A. Donlon, Broadway, Leonardo (incumbent)
  • Joan Minnuies, Bray Avenue, Port Monmouth (incumbent)
  • Robert J. Superti, Oakwood Road, Leonardo

Two-Year Unexpired Term Candidates (Vote for two)

  • Ernest Donnelly, Redfield Road, Lincroft
  • Susan Griffin, Holland Road, Middletown (incumbent)

One-Year Unexpired Term Candidates (Vote for one)

  • Shane D. Overgaard, East Road, Belford
  • Michael Craig, Renier Ct, Middletown
  • Drew Wilson, Appleton Ave, Leonardo
  • John Bennett Jr., Wilson Ave. Port Monmouth
  • Barry Allen Travis Jr. Stephenville Blvd.
  • Helene A. Henkel, Jefferson Street
Pilgrim October 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Polly, I also have read the article you reference in your reply and encourage all of those reading these comments to throughly read it. Robert A. Roth, article author, was once the Chief Financial Officer for Middletown Township; he wrote the article while employed by the Township. After retiring from Middletown, he was later called back as consultant and temporary financial officer to replace Richard Wright who suddenly left his financial position after a significant miscalculation of incoming township revenue. Much of what Mr. Roth says is accurate and factual and much of what he says is well informed opinion and some of what he says is no longer accurate. "Some ... school districts ... do not have adequately licensed financial staff to safeguard and secure the huge sums involved ... and that only municipalities have certified municipal finance officers ... ." Do you think this is true of those professionals who are financially accountable and responsible for the Middlegtown Board of Ed budget? The issue of deferred school taxes and how they are gathered and used is something that all Board of Ed candidates schould be aware of and understand. I posted my original comment because very few residents even know about how the municipality uses school taxes regularly to supplement its budget. Mayor Fiore jumped all over a Board of Ed related comment because it is a municipal revenue stream generated by school taxes that he doesn't want the public to question.
Polly Graf October 24, 2012 at 01:11 AM
According to charges made during the public portion of the BOE meeting Wednesday night Joan Minnuies was at a PTA meeting at Thompson School the other day soliciting for funds for her campaign. She is not a member of the PFA and has no children in the school. She admitted being at the meeting and she admitted seeing the campaign literature but made no effort to remove it. She denied bringing the literature to the meeting. It is illegal in New Jersey for candidates for elected office to solicit for campaign funds on school property.
Pilgrim October 24, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Mayor "Not All Residents Are Equal' Fiore, have you decided to no longer be part off this conversation? Did Peter Carton tell you to back-off because you were bringing too much attention to the deferred school tax issue. Why haven't you answered any of my questions or commented SPECIFICALLY on my assertions? Have you read Polygraph's attachment written by Robert Roth and found it helpful?
Polly Graf October 25, 2012 at 09:37 AM
Pilgrim, the mayor has left the building. According to the grapevine the ex-board member who accused Joan Minnuies of violating campaign law is following through and is seeking to have charges brought against Joan for campaigning on school property.
Town Cryer November 07, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Pilgrim here is another bone you can chew on, "Add Omitt" its the practice done by Middletown where New homes and new Buildings, just built,are held off the Tax rolls till after the School tax rate is struck. Then the Township puts them on the tax rolls. The Township keeps all of The BOE tax dollars.

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