January 21, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 5 FLOW Area Voters to select three trustees in April election by Frank J. McMahon Three members of the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional Board of Education will be up for reelection in the April 21 school board election. Thomas Madigan of Wyckoff, Geri Petersen of Oakland, and Ira Belsky of Franklin Lakes are all completing their current three-year terms, and at least one of them will not be seeking reelection. Madigan has announced that he will not be seeking reelection after 12 years on the board. Peterson has confirmed that she will seek her third term on the board, but Belsky said he has not decided whether he will seek reelection, but he is leaning toward doing so. “It’s time to move on and give somebody else the opportunity to serve,” Madigan said recently. “It has been rewarding and an honor to have been elected four times to represent Wyckoff on this regional board of education.” He added, “I have always had the philosophy that if it’s good for Wyckoff then it’s good for district, and if it’s good for district, then it’s good for Wyckoff.” Madigan remembered when he was first elected to the board during tumultuous times as the district struggled to end the “Franklin Lakes split.” That policy had Wyckoff students attend Ramapo High School, Oakland students attend Indian Hills High School, and split the students from Franklin Lakes between the two schools. He credits the hiring of Paul Saxton as superintendent of schools, who he said worked collegially with fellow board members, for ending that controversy. The trustee said that much has been accomplished since then. Madigan said his biggest accomplishment was working with the community to implement the Horizon facilities program on time and on budget, and receiving over $18 million from the state towards that construction project. His biggest disappointment was last year’s defeated budget and the subsequent budget cuts made by the governing bodies in the three towns in the district. “Unfortunately, that will have a long term impact on our district’s programs,” he predicted. He also expressed pride in the many initiatives to raise the bar for all students with curriculum and technology advances and the introduction of the district’s six University Programs. “I am most pleased to have worked so hard to change our grading system to include plus and minus on a weighted 4.0 scale that benefits all our students,” he said. “During my tenure I was fortunate to interface with a dedicated faculty and staff,” Madigan said, “and I want to make special note of our in-house staff development program with over 200 offerings, which has received accolades statewide.” Petersen said she would like to seek reelection because she does not feel she is finished yet. “There have been a lot of changes, and I feel I have been part of so many good things and I have a commitment to the district and to education,” Petersen said. She added that she is excited about meeting the board’s goals and in finding a new superintendent for the district. “I’m really excited about finding the right person who will tap into this learning community and really accomplish a lot of things that are necessary,” she said. Petersen is currently chairperson of the board’s Education Committee and she pointed out that Italian is now a new class subject and Mandarin Chinese will soon be offered as will a class in statistics. She is pleased that there now is a weighted 4.0 grade scale that will help students with their college admissions process. She also serves on the Policy Committee and she said the board’s policy manual has been completed with regulations. In addition, she serves on the Personnel Committee and the ad hoc committee that conducted the alcohol and drug survey. She is an advocate for special services. “I am also very pleased that I was part of giving Oakland a choice of schools,” she continued, explaining that the freshman class at Indian Hills this year is larger than at Ramapo High School. She is also pleased that Indian Hills finally has a marching band and that a lot has been done for drama students so they feel on a par with students in sports programs. Belsky has been the board’s Education Committee chairman and has served on the board’s Personnel/Goals/ Evaluation Committee. 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