The City of Linwood has made a commitment to excellence in our schools.  It has put heart power behind it. We have demanded and achieved excellence as a result. 

In February 2016 Belhaven Middle school ranked in the top 1.2 percent in the state.  Seaview Elementary was ranked in the top 7 percent of the state.  These rankings are directly related to the commitment of our teachers, administrators, school board, parents and children. We have achieved this excellence while holding the line financially as the school board had a zero budget increase this year; nothing short of remarkable.

Why on earth would you want to change a formula for success that has worked for more than 100 years?

The arguments for an elected school board are that it would become more "transparent" and there would be "accountability."  If both schools are in the top 7 percent of the state on a zero increase budget, how much more transparency and accountability do you want? 

The current board is made up of seven volunteers. They are educators, a CPA, retired Superior Court judge, lawyers - all volunteering their commitment to excellence and their heart power for your schools.  Show me a better, more qualified board than the one Linwood currently has. I bet you can't. 

I encourage everyone to go to the Linwood School District website and look at the bios of the Board of Education's members.  You will be impressed. 

Why would you want this to change?  Can you possibly get a better board through an elected process? Why would you take that risk when dealing with your child's education? Vote no.

The mayor (an elected official) appoints the Board of Education.  The board is non-partisan.  Politics don't belong in educating our children. 

Our appointed board has no agenda other than maintaining our schools' proven record of excellence.  They are not influenced by special interests or political party agendas.  If you want to be involved and are qualified, submit a CV to the mayor and I guarantee he will consider you for a position - regardless of your political party.  Vote no.

It is easy to get on line, create a blog and complain.  It is tougher to roll up your sleeves, volunteer, work hard and commit yourself to a standard of excellence.  That type of hard work takes time, dedication and sacrifice. It doesn't come from sitting behind a computer and punching keys to complain. Linwood is and has always been better than that.  

Instead of complaining or trying to change an institution of excellence, why not volunteer for the Linwood Education Foundation, the Parent Teacher Organization, The Linwood Educational Affairs Committee, or the Student Support Parent Advisory Council?  If you take the time to look at what is and has always been Linwood's commitment to excellence in education, you can only vote no.

Ralph A. Paolone

President of Linwood City Council

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