Jefferson Township is hungry for change. The status quo has remained for too long. This is clearly seen with the victory of a “New Vision for Jefferson” and the emergence of Democratic candidates for town council. People are wondering where their tax dollars have gone over the years, especially with the school system. We all deserve a new face and a new perspective on the school board.

Deciding to run for an elected position is a big commitment and not one to be made lightly. I was not sure I could fulfill this commitment until after the deadline, which is why I am running a write-in campaign and my name will not be on the ballot. Three seats are up for election every year, and in 2018 there will only be three candidates on the ballot. I present Jefferson Township with an alternative option.

I was raised in Jefferson and went through the school system from kindergarten through graduation in 2017 from JTHS, where I was a successful student-athlete. I am now studying political science at Rutgers University in Newark and heavily involved with my campus. Most prominently, I am a senator in the student government, where I have a hand in allocating a budget of more than $100,000 to student organizations and events. While it is not comparable to the budget for our school district, I believe it gives me experience that others may not possess. I deeply care about my campus and also my home community. This is why I want to give back to the schools in which I have grown up by positively contributing to them.

It is my belief that we have too many administrators making too much money, with our highest paid administrator receiving nearly $200,000 a year. This is unacceptable. We have a public school system, so it should not be treated like a bunch of for-profit private schools. I also believe that our teachers deserve more pay, even if minimal. This is a fundamental issue that nobody else seems to want to tackle. Because we cannot compete with surrounding districts, we are losing – at an alarming rate – passionate teachers who motivate our children.

There are many parts of the budget that need to be looked at in detail so that we can better appropriate our tax dollars. I remember seeing in my Spanish classes what I would conservatively estimate to be $10,000 worth of textbooks, which would only be opened a few times during the year (if that, depending on the edition). Furthermore, textbooks are a horrible way to learn a language!

I will not tell you that I know everything or give you hogwash answers like what has seemingly become the norm for candidates in the modern era. I certainly don’t know everything, but I am eager to learn and that is the best thing I can bring to the table. I also carry a young perspective.

I am counting on your vote this November! Write in Dylan Terpstra for the Jefferson Township Board of Education.

This statement was provided to The Jefferson Chronicle by Dylan Terpstra.