My name is John P. Schmidt and I am seeking election to the Gloucester City Board of Education. I am a lifelong resident of Gloucester City and care deeply about the direction the city is going in and believe we can do better for the next generation. Throughout my life growing up in Gloucester City, attending High School at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia and college at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., which I will graduate with a degree in Politics and a minor in Media Studies. My pending graduation has only increased my desire to serve others and use my education to help others have the same opportunities I have had.
Currently I work part time for the New Jersey Forest Service and have previously worked in the congressional offices of Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and the late Rep. John Adler of New Jersey. From my experience working for them, I know many people are upset with government at all levels and I believe unless our government officials remember that they were elected to serve the people and do the peoples work we are creating irreversible problems for the next generation of Americans, our children. Last year, the former President of the Catholic University of America was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton and as his Episcopal motto took the phrase “To Serve and Not to be Served.” Those words are what drives me to be involved in government and in my community, to serve others and not myself, family or friends, but everyone. I have also served as a member of the Gloucester City Board of Health and the Gloucester City Shade Tree Committee, where I helped to oversee nearly 400 new trees planted in the city and helped Gloucester City receive over $100,000 in grant monies in the last two and half years.
The children of Gloucester City, their education and future is very important, if not the most important thing today, because they are the future of our community and country. In the past, I have attended school board meetings, often times being the only member of the public to do so and I am always surprised by how the board conducts business and the limited amount of information that is released to the public. Last month, I attended a board meeting and asked the board if they had reached out to the Governor’s office since he is the one to make the decisions on what schools get built and the answer was no. The children of Gloucester City and the residents of Gloucester deserve better. I also believe that the people of Gloucester City, residents, property owners and business owners should know how their money is being spent to ensure the best possible decisions are being made.
I also have serious concerns how we can pay high salaries to administrators like our Superintendent who makes over $155,000 a year plus benefits and yet our schools rank near the bottom. We have to work together to improve this problem. I also do not believe it is right for the Board of Education to allow the Superintendent to do what he wants and rubber stamps his agenda without asking him questions. Our school board members are elected to represent the people of Gloucester City and ask tough questions not do whatever the Superintendent wants which has been the case under Mary Stansky and now Paul Spaventa. I am also concerned that our teachers continue to be without a fair contract.
I am running for School Board to be a voice for my community and bring a common sense approach to government, asking questions of school administrators and not just rubber stamping what they want done, as is the case with the Gloucester City School Board. I will also not be afraid to reach out to state agencies and the Governor’s office for answers on issues. The children of Gloucester City are important and we need to do everything we can to ensure they have the best education possible so they can live the American dream. However, I also believe we need to ask questions and consider how decisions are made with respect to our teachers and taxpayers and consider all points of view because only through a honest and open processes will the best decisions be made.
I would hope that you would consider voting for me to represent you on the Gloucester City School Board.
John P. Schmidt