Board member quits panel

The vacancy sign is out at the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education.

Citing a tendency on the part of his fellow board members to spend too much time discussing what he called mundane items and not enough time talking about education, Colin Miller of Farmingdale resigned from the panel on Oct. 14.

In a statement, Miller said, "When I was asked to serve in February 2001, I was persuaded by many people that I could make a difference; that my voice would be heard and listened to. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case.

"I used to enjoy my Monday evenings and felt invigorated by our meetings. I truly felt the district was moving forward. I would proudly tell people, ‘I am a member of the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education. We are one of the biggest and best in the state.’

"This has all changed. I now dread Mondays and the confrontations that are sure to occur. When people now ask me about the actions of the board I am embarrassed. I learned a long time ago that if a job is not both effective and enjoyable it is not worth my time," Miller said.

"I am disappointed to be severing my ties with a wonderful staff and student population. However, the bullying, self-serving, lack of compromise, protection of staff, protection of administration, governing by innuendo and gossip, back room lobbying, micromanaging and desire to usurp the rights of parents is more than I can tolerate. To those who have supported me, I give a heartfelt ‘thank you.’ To the board I can only say, ‘Get your act together,’ " Miller said.

In an interview, Miller said he was turned off by the "wasting of time on mundane items that had nothing to do with education" and the refusal by some board members to ever compromise on certain items.

"Education was never on the agenda," he said. "For some people it was a power play."

In one of his final votes, Miller supported a redistricting plan that is scheduled to go into effect in September 2003. Miller supported, and the board approved, the reassignment of Farmingdale residents who will enter high school in and after September 2003 to Colts Neck High School. At present, Farmingdale residents of high school age are assigned to attend Howell High School.

The redistricting plan will also reassign some residents of Manalapan to Freehold Township High School and some residents of Marlboro to Colts Neck High School.

Marlboro municipal officials have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the validity of the board vote that approved the redistricting plan. Arguments in that suit are expected to be heard Nov. 4.

A spokeswoman for the district said the board will advertise the opening from Farmingdale, interview candidates and appoint someone to serve until April. At that time, the person who is appointed, or any other eligible resident of Farmingdale, can run for the one year that will remain on Miller’s term. In April 2004, the Farming-dale seat will be on the FRHSD ballot for a full three-year term.

The board has 65 days to appoint a resident of Farmingdale to the open seat. If the board does not appoint a person within that time limit, the Monmouth County Superintendent of Schools will make the appointment, the spokeswoman said.

Students from Howell attend the six schools in the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education.