PATCH: Why are you seeking a position on the Board of Education?
WEISERT: I have lived in Bloomfield (and, for that matter, the same house) all of my life. I love this community and its people, and I want to be able to remain here. Unfortunately, I have seen property taxes approximately double in the last ten years. This has forced many long-time residents out of their homes because they can no longer afford the taxes. This is intolerable. I want to do what I can to act as a taxpayer advocate on the Board while at the same time keeping in mind that a quality school system is a significant factor in maintaining property values and that a first rate education for our children is absolutely necessary. I believe that I can be helpful in achieving both objectives.
PATCH: What are your qualifications for the position?
WEISERT: I have practiced labor, employment and construction law for the last thirty-seven years. I have experience in both the private and public sectors. I have successfully negotiated many contracts with a variety of different unions. I have talents and knowledge in both architecture (I designed and drew plans for several additions to my home in Bloomfield) and construction. Given the likely need to find additional space for our student population, I believe I can be most helpful. Finally, as a History major and one very interested in historic preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings, I can contribute to the most efficient and historically sensitive use of our many historic school buildings.
PATCH: What do you see as the top three problems in the Board of Education?
WEISERT: Money, money and money. Seriously, however, as hard as it is to believe, money does not always solve all problems. If this were so, then the Newark Public School System would be the best in the state, since it spends as much or more per pupil than any other pubic school system. However, I do have three items that are of great importance. These are:
a. Review all spending to insure that the taxpayer is receiving maximum value for each tax dollar spent. This should include competitive bidding by vendors of goods and services to the system.
b. Work to obtain Bloomfield’s fair share of state aid to education.
c. Publicize the many positive accomplishments of our administrators, teachers and students to correct any misconception that our schools are less effective than they in fact are.
PATCH: What would you say are some of the best things about the current BOE?
WEISERT: As noted by Dan Anderson, I believe that the board is moving away from a politically influenced group to a more independently thinking group with different backgrounds. In addition, many members of the current board have amply demonstrated their fidelity to Bloomfield and the school system by their actions, and I believe that the current slate will continue along that line.
PATCH: How are you funding your campaign? Who are your main financial supporters?
WEISERT: Mary, Dan and I each contributed money to get the campaign started. Our only fundraiser was a potluck dinner with a $30.00 ticket price to which we invited friends, neighbors, and business acquaintances. We have not accepted contributions from anyone who might try to influence our decisions as board members in a way financially favorable to them.
PATCH: Anything else you would like to say?
WEISERT: I received a first rate education in Bloomfield. I want to contribute to continuing this fine tradition for our children currently in the school system and in the future. I believe that my talents and interests will enable me to make such a positive contribution.