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Board of Education Candidate: Timothy Berrios

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany Focus reached out to all Board of Education candidates for the upcoming election. Here’s what Timothy Berrios had to say.

Q. What is the role of the school board of education? What is the role of the Superintendent of Schools? (Please answer both parts): 

A. The role of the Board of Education is to:

  • Hire and evaluate the Superintendent of schools.
  • Represent the public during contract negotiations and serve as a communications link between the community and the school district.
  • The board is responsible for adopting the policies, rules, and regulations that define the responsibilities of teachers.
  • Approve all employment contracts.
  • Set goals and monitor the achievement of goals.
  • Adopt policies under which the school district operates.
  • Approves and oversees the budget.
  • Approve the curriculum.
  • Ensure that the school district is well-run.
  • The Board of Education DOES NOT run the schools but ensures that the school district is run effectively.

A.  The role of the superintendent is to:

  • Keep the Board of Education advised on all matters affecting the school district.
  • To provide recommendations to the board so that decisions can be made (personnel, curriculum, and budgets).
  • Track the effectiveness of board and district policies and recommend changes,
  • Ensure the school district is run well.

Q. If you have not previously served on, or run for election to the Board of Education in the past, what motivated you to run at this time?

A. The Board needs someone who can navigate challenging conversations among district and township officials. Parsippany needs someone who is not afraid to speak up, and not be pressured to think a certain way. I am not afraid to go against the norm and stand up for what I or my community believes in. Given all the changes and challenges that the town is and will face in the next few years, you need a team with experience–Not someone who just woke up one day and said, “I want to run for the board of education.” You need someone who is involved in and up to date with town developments–attending meetings of the town council and planning board as well as attending community events. All of which I currently do.

Q. Between April 30, 2022, and April 30, 2023, how many Board of Education meetings have you attended? 

A. I have attended every Board of Education meeting between April 30, 2022, and April 30, 2023. 

Q. Attending Bi-monthly meetings is only a fraction of the commitment needed by an elected board member. If you have attended less than three meetings during this time, how will you assure voters that you have the time and dedication to serve on the Board of Education?

A. Not Applicable as I attended all Board of Education commitments. 

Q. If elected to the Board of Education, what would be your three top priorities in detail?

  • Providing a safe and secure environment for our children to learn.
  • Enacting policies and setting goals that increase student achievement.
  • Developing fiscally responsible budgets.
  • Enhancing Social/Emotional, academic, and co-curricular programs.
  • Investing in technology as a teaching and communication tool.
  • Supporting our “at risk” students.
  • Incorporating the considerations of all stakeholders’ rights in the decision-making process.

Q. Describe your plan to balance the needs/wants of your constituents, state and federal mandates, and your personal beliefs to ensure that school district policies are appropriate to these sometimes competing priorities.

A. As board of education members are elected NJ State officials, we swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the State. I also represent the Parsippany Troy-Hills community along with the district’s teachers and school administration. I will make sure that the values and views of the community are considered when educational decisions are being made. My priority is the children in the school district. If an item comes to me for a vote that I personally disagree with, I will vote in the best interest of children. 

Q. Describe your comfort level with fiscal responsibility and your ability to make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions to maintain financial stability.

A. In my 9 years on the Parsippany Board of Education unfortunately I have faced this challenge a few times–Whether it was the middle school scheduling snafu and the search for a new Superintendent as a result, personnel decisions, proposed cuts in programs, approving turf fields at the high schools, or implementing iPads and Chromebooks for the students. I have and will always seek the community’s input at board meetings, recommendations from administrators, and collaboration with other BOE Members before deciding and will continue to do so.

Q. As a publicly elected Board of Education member, you are a constant representation of the Parsippany Board of Education, including on social media platforms. Describe how you would balance your personal opinions with your sworn obligations to the board while using these platforms.

A. I do use social media for both business and personal purposes. If I post something personal or make a statement, if necessary, I will add a disclaimer that I am a Board of Education member and that I’m speaking for myself. I never promise district calendars or curriculum changes.

Q. Having a family member employed by the school district or elected as a Board of Education Member creates a potential conflict of interest. If this situation pertains to you, how can you assure voters that, if elected, your decisions will be objective and in the best interest of the school district and not seen as nepotism?

A. My two daughters are members of the NJEA and one of them is a district employee. I will follow the advice of the board counsel and the School Ethics Commission requirements.

Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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