Five in Jackson bid for 3 seats on school board


Staff Writer

JACKSON – Five residents are running for three three-year terms on the Board of Education in the April 18 election. Polls will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Incumbent board members John Morvay, Marvin Krakower and Martin Spielman are running as a team. They are being challenged by two residents who are running together, Nicholas Antonoff and Sal Duscio.

Each candidate was asked to respond to two questions: Why are you running for the board? and What do you bring to the job (i.e., qualifications, skills or experience)?

Antonoff said he believes it is time to redirect the public secondary education system to its primary mission, [which is] to prepare its graduates for successful competitive careers in the college and/or global economy workplace of their choosing.

“We must stop fostering a culture thriving on claims of victimization and entitlement,” said Antonoff. “Students must be taught to honor their obligations, to parents and the nation, [and] to learn in return for the privileges, not rights, granted them.

Antonoff said he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical chemistry.

“I worked briefly on the synthesis and computer simulation testing of large solid rocket propellants and quickly wound up in line and staff management positions,” he said.

He was involved in overseeing the marketing, design, development, integration testing and fielding of secure, large complex computer driven systems, frequently on a quick reaction basis, forcing the rapid hiring of numbers of what he said were sometimes ill-prepared junior engineers with king-sized salary expectations.

“Contract management necessitates conforming to, generating, evaluating well written, testable performance specifications, a practice the education system would be smart to adopt, along with zero based budgeting,” said Antonoff.

Duscio said, “I am running for the 11th time because the problems that existed 11 years ago are still here, poor accountability and economy, students unable to learn properly, too much stress on non-mandated programs. I am for attaining the best scores for our students. Find their faults and concentrate on improving their scores, even if it means cutting class time in other subjects. Math and reading are important subjects.”

Duscio noted that most school budgets will be defeated because the cost factors are not divided by the student population.

“How much is being spent on each student?” he asked. “I believe there should be one administrator for each school in Jackson and one principal for the whole district. We are too top heavy with principals, vice principals and secretaries.”

Duscio said teachers are to be rewarded for their efforts because they are doing the job of teaching.

“The prime purpose is educating the student, education first, everything else second,” he said. “We must work within our means. If we can’t afford it, we don’t do it, just like running a business.”

Krakower said he is running for re-election to the board “because I have a deep concern for the students who study in our schools, their parents and the community as a whole. A good education allows each of us to rise to our highest potential. It is an investment in a process we call ‘life.’ “

Krakower said he represents a cross section of the community.

“My concerns for the taxpayer and for the system are in harmony,” he said. “Although we need money to run the system well, we do not need any degree of waste of our hard-earned dollars. An education must be an investment.

“I still have the passion, energy and drive to keep the progress going,” he said. “I have the experience and the sense of urgency needed to make our schools work. I believe that a candidate must show how he or she will improve the district with fresh and innovative ideas and not merely complain.

“I believe we have come far in academics, athletics and the arts and it is because we have had a vision,” said Krakower. “[But], we still have a distance to go. We must roll up our sleeves and do whatever is appropriate to provide the space, programs and professionals that make any district great.”

In his response, Morvay said the district is faced with the issues of a increasing enrollment, crowded schools and the opening of Jackson Liberty High School.

“I’m committed to continuing what I’ve done for the past three years by providing what’s best for the children of Jackson, while keeping in mind the taxpayers’ concerns,” he said.

Morvay said test scores have gone up, new programs were added and grant programs were secured to guarantee the pupils’ success.

“As the chairman of the curriculum committee, athletic committee, and a member of the technology and policy committee, I will continue to ensure that the Jackson schools rank at the top of state mandated tests and are well prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

Morvay said that during his first term he fought for the purchase of new textbooks in math, science, health and music, and supported technology upgrades that he said had been neglected for years.

In his bid for re-election, Spielman said, “Education today must stress not only the core subjects, but also other components.”

Those components include athletics, which the candidate said help to develop lifelong recreational skills and physical fitness.

Spielman said other components – music, theater and the arts – allow people to develop a sound understanding and appreciation of their cultural heritage.

“I have the ideal educational and business background to understand children’s needs, modern day educational requirements and costs associated with a thorough, efficient, well-rounded education encompassing the three A’s – academics, athletics and the arts,” he said. “I understand the financial limitations confronting education.”

The candidate is the founder and president of the Jackson Educational Foundation, which provides funding for educational initiatives beyond the regular school district budget.

“My knowledge of the demands of present day education from a student’s, parent’s, teacher’s and administrator’s perspective serves to help me make decisions which are both fiscally and educationally sound,” said Spielman.

The candidate said he is still actively involved with children.

“I recognize their needs, as well as the changes and advancements in education since I retired, and certainly since I attended public school,” he said, adding that he has a great respect for those who have chosen education as their career.