Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Press Release:

Roxbury TEAM school board candidates set agenda

Taxpayer Education Association Members (T.E.A.M.)

Contact: Craig Heard for further information 973-219-4542

Craig Heard, Marcus Morreale and Linda Verge, the three candidates running for the Roxbury Board of Education under the Roxbury TEAM banner, are determined to bring needed change and most importantly, a fresh perspective to the board.

The central theme of Roxbury TEAM is to provide the best possible education at the most reasonable cost. An excellent public education system enhances property values and is a benefit to society. At the same time, it must be understood that resources, especially in a poor economy, are finite. Striking a balance between those two factors are key.

The TEAM candidates will do that.

First and foremost is a pledge to put children first by reallocating money to the classroom. Currently, only 49 percent of school district funds reach the classroom in Roxbury. In nearby Randolph, it's 55 percent. TEAM plans to start redirecting funds by increasing high school teaching periods from five to six a day to attain greater student achievement. (TEAM does not plan to increase the length of the school day, only the number of teaching periods) TEAM will also find savings by streamlining administrative positions, which includes the elimination of one of two assistant superintendent positions. And during this time of rising property taxes and high unemployment, TEAM proposes an across the board two-year wage freeze for district employees.

We will also look for savings through new technology. Some districts and businesses have reduced power costs substantially by switching to solar energy. We will actively solicit all available grants and work with all relevant groups, teachers, administrators, students and booster clubs to develop innovative ways to reduce expenses and to improve education. Shared services with both other districts and the municipality will be a priority.

TEAM supports such state and federal education reform efforts as merit pay for teachers, reviewing tenure and increased employee contributions to health and pension benefits.

With such cost-saving measures in place or on the way, TEAM is confident that it will be able to rescind "pay to play" fees for parents, which we find discriminatory and to restore middle school sports.

Transparency is paramount for any public board and for far too long; the Roxbury school board has failed that test. TEAM intends to change that. We propose putting all financial transactions including the budget, bills, contracts etc. on the district's web site, which mirrors a pending state law proposed by state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris. We also will post details about curriculum, class size and a table of organization for district employees. Board committee meetings are now closed; we will open them. We will also look into putting school board meetings on cable television and we will do away with the current requirement that speakers "sign-in" and identify their topic before speaking at a board meeting.

On election day, April 27, 2011, you can find the TEAM candidates on the ballot positions at: 1-Marcus Morreale 3-Craig Heard 4-Linda Verge

The Roxbury TEAM Board of Education Candidates

Craig P. Heard has an extensive background in public service and education.

Heard is a former member of the Roxbury Board of Education and a past president (1997-1999). He also served seven years as a trustee of the County College of Morris and six years on the Board of Governors of Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he also has been a guest lecturer. Additionally, Heard served on the board of directors of Anna Marie College in Massachusetts and on the board of trustees of the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

Professionally, Heard is president/CEO of Gateway Outdoor Advertising in Hackettstown. Founded in Pittsburgh, in 1937, Gateway has offices in 13 cities in the US. Heard has a B.S. in accounting and a M.B.A. in finance and taxation, both from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

He has won numerous awards, including the Pinnacle Award from FDU for service to the community and the university, a citation from then New York Gov. Mario Cuomo for his support of anti-drug programs, a citation from the state PBA for his support of local police, and a certificate of appreciation from then U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett for his contributions to education. Heard also received an honorary membership for life by the PTA of New Jersey for both his and his wife's support of Roxbury school children. Heard, 64, and his wife have lived in Roxbury Township for 28 years. They have three children, all of whom graduated from Roxbury High School.

Linda Verge has been committed to community service for the last 25 years. A lifelong resident of the township, Verge, 43, is a graduate of Roxbury High School, County College of Morris and Upsala College in East Orange, from where she earned a B.S. degree in psychology.

Verge owns General Repairs and has been a substitute teacher in the Roxbury district for more than 10 years. Her ties to Roxbury schools are deep. Both her parents, Alice and Richard Frantz, worked in the district as a librarian and history teacher, respectively. Verge serves as Sunday school superintendent of her church, Mt. Fern United Methodist Church in Randolph. She also is a member of the Cornish Heritage Society and has served 22 years as a Morris County Republican Committeewoman.

Verge's family has lived in Roxbury for six generations. She and her husband have two children who attend Roxbury schools.

Marcus G. Morreale has the fiscal expertise to help oversee Roxbury Board of Education finances.

Morreale has been an entrepreneur for almost 20 years in commercial and industrial construction and engineering services. He is a Certified Public Accountant as well as a Certified Fraud Examiner. He holds a B.B.A. in business administration from Niagara University and an MBA from the University of Miami. He also has broad education experience, holding licenses as a Certified School Administrator and as a School Business Administrator.

Morreale is currently an adjunct professor at Berkeley College, Centenary College, and Warren County Community College. His combined background in finance and education makes him an ideal candidate.

Morreale, 48, has lived in the township for 25 years. He has two children who attended Roxbury schools.