Demsak, Drelick make thoughtful decisions

| 30 Oct 2023 | 10:15

    We are Hardyston students, alumni, parents, friends, neighbors and voters who care very much about our school district.

    Despite significant budget cuts over the past few years, our elementary school was recently named the second-best in the county, in no small part because of our teachers’ devotion.

    Hardyston teachers are integral to our children’s lives and education. They are the adults who comfort our children in our absence, look out for them, worry about them, recognize their uniqueness, and become invested in their lives and their future success.

    They use their own money to keep our kids engaged and inspired. They take time away from their own families and lives to support our kids.

    Many a Hardyston teacher can be found on the sports fields or at dance recitals, concerts and plays solely to support our children. This letter just doesn’t have space for a full accounting.

    Yet Hardyston is not immune from the national teacher attrition crisis. Our students have lost several beloved teachers in recent years.

    We have been searching for a Spanish teacher, unsuccessfully, for two years. Good teachers are becoming scarce, hard to find and hard to retain, and we cannot afford to watch our teachers become casualties of larger political agendas and ambitions, which are overtaking our current Board of Education (which is, by definition, non-partisan).

    It is clear from recent meetings that some sitting BOE members are prioritizing a political agenda over our children’s best interests. That is why we cannot remain silent.

    One member elected in 2022 has publicly said the school should treat our children as products manufactured by the school. Another BOE member has attempted to rush through controversial policies or resolutions without heeding the legal Code of Conduct the BOE must follow.

    At the Oct. 10 BOE meeting, one member accused our teaching staff of abusing their sick days and said he would pursue a policy to make it harder for teachers to use them. Later, he accused our teachers of failing our students over the last 40 years and continuing to do so.

    Very few of us would continue to work for a boss who publicly maligned us and called us failures and we cannot expect our teachers to tolerate it.

    Many of us are current parents, alumni and family members of alumni who attended Hardyston School. We are writing to tell you that our teachers are the reason for our success and the reason we are the second-best elementary school in the county. They are professionals who care about our children, not machines mass-producing identical products.

    Noah Webster once said, “(i)n selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate - look to his character.”

    Every Hardyston voter must look past the latest newsworthy controversies, buzzwords and slogans at the character of the candidate for our children’s, and our town’s, future.

    Collectively, we believe that Nick Demsak and Brian Drelick are the best candidates. They are men of integrity who do not rely on partisan politics or misleading representations. They work hard to remain neutral and objective and make careful, thoughtful decisions that are in the best interest of our children and our town.

    Between them, they have eight children across all levels of our elementary and middle school and are attuned to the real and legitimate concerns of parents in our district, not manufactured concerns about protecting parents’ rights.

    They are educators who understand what our teachers need to properly teach our children and administrators who understand both the unique needs of our community and the demands on the administration. If you’d like to learn more, talk to us!

    Most importantly, regardless of any election outcome, come to the BOE meetings and insist that our children, and teachers, are treated respectfully, as people, not products or machines.

    Do not tolerate the use of our children’s education as a rallying cry for misplaced, divisive agendas or political ambitions. Our school cannot withstand any more political division that dehumanizes our students and damages the working relationships that are critical to maintaining our position as one of the best schools in the county.

    Kelly Stoll

    Jackie Califano

    Julia Dick

    Stacey Bello

    Romeo Arellano

    Kim Batistoni

    Ward Billeisen

    Matt Califano

    Dominic Chiocchi

    Paolo Balagtas

    Rachel Clements

    Falyn Cunniffe

    Natasha Cunniffe

    Michelle Altieri

    Kelsi Donohue

    Lauren Donohue

    Katie Joustra

    Robert Califano

    Ashley Arellano

    Michael Fiscus

    David Garcia

    Michele Garcia

    Deb Helfand

    Scott Helfand

    Michael Holzschuh

    Joan Jacobsen

    John Cunniffe

    Peter McConnell

    Rebecca Nilan

    Danielle O’Brien

    Cheri Snure

    Edward Blahut

    Christopher Sieber

    Brian Silipena

    Arlene Anderson

    Alana Steib

    Liam Cunniffe

    Robin Stoll

    Kali Wright

    Joel Dubnoff

    Lisa Casselano

    Christine Fleming

    Charley Sasjack

    Robin Donohue

    Kevin Burrows

    Richard Ramirez

    Judy Malmstrom

    Matthew McCouch

    Erica Vinales

    David Stoll

    Rich O’Brien

    Bob Helmond

    Susan Beebe

    Riley Cunniffe

    Larry Henderson

    Kristen Silipena

    Todd Anderson

    Cynthia Hanenberg

    Justin Bello

    Stefanie Allegrino

    Heather Malmstrom

    Robert Diamond

    Adam Irish

    Val Musa

    Chris Dick

    Desiree McConville

    Ed Jacobsen

    Carly Trovato

    Kim Talley

    Jaclyn Derych

    Crystal O’Rourke

    Erica Garner

    Erika Ramirez

    Robert Burke

    Mike Derych

    Erin Ashton

    Colleen Irish

    Kendra DeBree

    Don Vinales

    Riley Burke

    Erin Lewis

    Patricia Garofano

    Lynn Dubnoff

    Jason Malmstrom

    Taryn McCouch

    Brian Talley

    Greg Woodbury

    Sandy Sasjack

    Jennifer Diamond

    Corinne Wright

    Jeff Altieri

    Robin Henderson

    Vinny Chiocchi