Patch reached out to the ten candidates running for three open Middletown Board of Education seats and asked them questions about themselves and their vision for the community.
The terms of Board President Chris Aveta and members Vincent Brand and John Bennett, Jr. expire this year. Bennett joined the board last year, filling a one-year unexpired term. All incumbents are in the running for their seats.
The seven challengers are: Bob Banta, Richard G. Campbell, Michael Craig, Rocco DelGuercio, Michael A. Donlon, Anastasia Millicker and Michael J. Ostrander, Jr.
Polls open on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Below are responses from candidate Michael Donlon:Can you please provide a brief bio, including how long you’ve lived in Middletown and your ties to the community?
I am employed as an Operations Integration Manager with the United States Postal Service. I am married to my wife Laura for 23 years and have 2 children who both have attended Middletown Schools. My daughter is now a junior in college and my son is a freshman at Middletown High School South. We have lived in Middletown for 12 years. I am a former Board President and Board of Education member and a current member of the townships’ Municipal Alliance. I have held various positions in youth sport programs coaching or managing baseball, softball, basketball and football. I am the secretary to the Middletown Athletic Cub. I am a member of the Knights of Columbus and a lecturer and CCD instructor at my church.
What are your motivations for running for elected office?
We should always be looking to see how we can give back to our community. Elected office is one of those ways.
What new ideas do you have for Middletown schools?
The best ideas come from open discussion with the students, parents, administrators and the community at large. These discussions have resulted in Full Day Kindergarten, Block Scheduling and the Shared Services Agreement with the Township to name a few. I look forward to further discussions; the possibilities are endless.
What challenges do Middletown schools currently face, and what do you plan to do to address them?
We need to ensure we are offering the appropriate course information to allow our students to enter their post-Middletown School experience with the necessary tools to succeed. Another challenge is retaining top teachers and administrators. We need to keep great people and let them know Middletown is a place where they are welcomed and respected.
Property taxes are always a concern, especially in New Jersey. How can Middletown control taxes?
While the state has imposed a maximum 2 percent cap on property taxes, I have to realize the percentage is not what is important. What is important is balancing the educational needs with that of sound fiscal responsibility.
What accomplishments in your private life translates positively to a position in public office?
I have volunteered here in Middletown for the last 12 years in many areas including sports and church related programs. In addition, I spent 13 years attending night school to achieve a degree in Management from the Rutgers School of Business which exemplifies my perseverance and commitment. At work, I interact with employees at every level of the organization and many executives of some of the country’s largest corporations. This translates into good communication and cooperation skills and this is what I would bring to the Middletown Board of Education.