My name is Vidya Gangadin, and I have been resident of Jersey City for 20 years. I am running for a seat on the Jersey City Board of Education and I’m excited to have been selected by a committee of parents and community members from across Jersey City as one of three candidates they are endorsing. I am not a politician; I am a parent who thinks independently. I believe in public education and I am here to speak for the parents and children of Jersey City Public Schools. I am pleased to combine my experience, vision and knowledge with Marilyn Roman and Sangeeta Ranade. Our team is committed to working with the sitting board to usher in an era of achievement for Jersey City Public School children.
Four of my children attend our public schools, and I am a very active parent. I serve as the vice president for the Parent Teacher Partnership, and I am a member of the School Leadership Committee, the Citywide Parent Council for Academy 1 Middle School and a active member of the PS 38 PTA.
Being inside of our schools, I see students without textbooks and the resources they need in their classroom to succeed. Parents are concerned about the safety of their children both inside and outside of school. Teachers are pushed to use a scripted curriculum that does not address every student’s needs. Principals cannot choose their own staff. If elected, I will work together with my team and the rest of the board to end the entrenched culture that throws roadblocks in front of parents as they try to advocate for their children.
As a financial analyst working in the private sector for over 20 years, I oversee my company’s budgets, implement checks and balances, make cost-cutting recommendations and review contracts with a team of attorneys. If elected, I will review the $661-million dollar budget line-by-line so that we can account for every dollar being spent.
JCPS allocates about $22,000 per pupil annually, much more than many other school districts nationwide. But spending more, as we’ll do once again this year, hasn’t meant better outcomes for Jersey City students. The majority of students are still not proficient.
Suppose you were an investor in an organization that said it needed more resources to achieve a desired outcome. As you and other investors put in more, you found the goal was still unrealized. Would you continue along the same course, or try something different?
We Jersey City taxpayers are investors, and we need a complete audit to know how our money is being spent. Let’s send a clear message that the community expects accountability.
If we spend smarter and give students the opportunities and the support they deserve, the next generation will be able achieve its own piece of the American dream. Together, we can make a change.
On April 17, 2012, vote: Vidya Gangadin, 2A, Marlyn Roman, 4A and Sangeeta Ranade, 5A.