A tough-fought campaign for three seats on the Robbinsville Board of Education ended Nov. 6 with sweep.
The slate of Shaina Ciaccio, Vito Galluccio and Lisa Temple all won election to 3-year terms on the school board, with their running mate Craig Heilman joining them after claiming an 1-year unexpired term. Galluccio led all candidates with 23.5 percent of the vote, followed with Ciaccio at 22.7 and Temple at 22.4. The winners beat out a challenge from Vincent Costanza—a former member of the board himself—and Noushin Kanani Asadpour.
Galluccio, Heilman and Temple all serve on the school board currently. Ciaccio will rejoin the board after serving from 2012 until 2017.
The Robbinsville Advance asked the winners Nov. 7 to provide a statement on the results of the election, what they hope to achieve in their term and how they expect to move beyond a heated campaign and onto school business. Their responses follow:
“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” -Luke 12:48
This verse has been echoing in my head all night. I feel the sheer weight of these words tonight. There is a great responsibility that you the community have entrusted to us, which is nothing more precious than the future of our children. It cannot be taken lightly nor taken for granted. Not ever.
I know there has been a divide in this town. And we have become weary of a relentless campaign season that seemed at times never ending.
But tonight, we start something new. A new chapter. We turn the page and begin again. I have full faith that while we may have different paths on how to get there, we all want the same thing: for our children to thrive and help be the change in an uncertain world.
I have always believed teamwork, unity, truth and love ultimately always win. And I have great hope for our board, our schools and our future. Much responsibility has been given to us, but now, more is required than it ever has been. We need to work hard to restore the credibility and trust that people have lost regarding our Board. And that begins tonight. God bless all of you.
I was glad to see our Column J slate prevail because I believe it is the right team to move our schools forward. Under board president Rich Young’s leadership, we’ve accomplished many positive things over the past year, and I want the momentum to continue. Many folks were surprised that I received the most votes for the 3-year seat because I had the lowest name recognition going into this race. What that tells me is that my message of property tax fairness and higher ethical standards resonated with voters.
This past year, our board showed that we can make our economy stronger by bringing our tax rate down modestly in line with the other high performing school districts while at the same time investing more in the students than ever before. I plan to continue advocating for that strategy of tax fairness and smarter spending by allocating more resources to the classroom. I also think there is more we can do to improve our ethics so that the community feels we are operating transparently and in their best interest.
Our residents and students deserve a well functioning board that collaborates and sets a strong example for our students. We don’t always have to agree but we do need to behave like professionals and treat each other with respect. I believe strongly in our board. It is made up of competent and caring leaders. Although we all have strong personalities, we must put differences aside, pull up our sleeves and work together to make our great schools even better. I am fully committed to doing just that.
I am thrilled with the results. Robbinsville had five excellent candidates to choose from, but to get all three of my friends on our slate was something that we worked very hard to achieve. Our slate showed Robbinsville that even though we don’t agree on everything, what is important is that we know that we can work together in a respectful way. The four of us will represent almost half of the board, and we can be the leaders to bring everyone together and focus on what is important.
Next year on the board, I want to work on creating a budget that will add more spending to the classroom, yet give a much needed tax relief to the tax payers. The big factor is the state funding, and assuming they keep their promise of continuing to make it a more level playing field for Robbinsville, we will be able to accomplish this. We also need to continue to focus on security and the safety of our children and staff. Plus, we need to continue to keep the focus on ethics, and making sure that the district represents our district in the best way we can. And, as always, I will work hard to bring the school board to the people to keep them informed and make sure that they know they are being heard.
I am thrilled with the outcome of this year’s election, humbled by the support of the community and excited to continue to serve our district and students. Over the next three years, my focus will remain on ensuring all students receive the education they deserve regardless of their ability. Schools are not only a place for academic growth, they are a place for nurturing and developing the “whole child.” Preparing students to face the real world is a priority of mine. Discussions around school safety need to extend beyond our physical security features. It is imperative to include identifying mental health concerns. We must create a culture of inclusion and empowerment to speak up when something isn’t right. Finally, I believe in a balanced approach to budgeting. This includes not only addressing the needs of the district and students, but considering the taxpayers. I am excited at what the next three years can bring for our district.