Joseph G. Torrone, Stone Hedge Drive, Retired educator.
Seeking three-year term to Toms River Regional School Board
My career in education included being a teacher for seventeen years, an administrator for almost twenty-three years, including twelve as a superintendent of schools. In the past I have worked countless hours volunteering for the NJ Special Olympics while working in the Howell Township School System.
What are your key concerns about the Toms River schools?
My key concerns about the Toms River Schools are as follows: a. The budget preparation process is inadequate and must be reformed. Currently the board and the community have no input into the budget formulation. They never see a complete line item budget and only receive 10-12 pages of broad accounts for a $200 million budget. The board should see the complete budget that is hundreds of pages long. Most boards have the finance committee meet with department heads and administrators to have them justify each and every dollar. b. Our district has many wonderful teachers and employees. A Personnel Committee will ensure fair and honest hiring practices are followed. The board should not be telling the superintendent whom to hire but the board should know why the candidate was considered the best by the administration. At the very least the board should see the resumes of the candidates, this is not happening now. c. Community involvement should be encouraged at every level by the board of education and the administration. Transparency on all levels needs to happen immediately to gain public confidence and trust.
What issues do you hope to address in the coming term? And what do you think should be done to resolve those issues?
In the coming term I would like to see the board and administration work with New Jersey School Boards. This organization offers in-service for no additional cost, other than our mandated dues. A good start would be to have the board and administration work toward establishing district goals in the area of curriculum. I would also like to see the district create a Strategic Plan. This would bring the community, students, teachers, all staff members, the administration and the board together to create a five-year plan as to what they would like to see the district accomplish during that timeframe.
What motivated you to run this year?
My motivation to run this year is that I believe my experiences and skills match perfectly with the Toms River School System’s needs. I would like to see greater community involvement, proper oversight of the budget process, and increased transparency at all levels of operation within the district.
How do you plan to serve the school board and the residents of Toms River in a meaningful way?
I plan on serving the school board and the residents of Toms River in a meaningful way by providing proper oversight of the district, encouraging community involvement, and asking all the stake holders to come together and establish common goals that will improve the education for all of our children.