James Sena, who is wrapping up his first three-year term on the Warren Township Board of Education, is the only official candidate who will be listed on the ballot on Nov. 5 for one of three available openings on the board.
Sena, chairman of the board's finance committee for the past two years, said that one of his major initiatives has been working with other board members to devise a five-year capital expenditures plan to upgrade school facilities without borrowing money to pay for those costs.
Many of the items on that list, such as new school roofs, already have been completed without issuing debt, he said.
He said he would like to update that project list on a continuing basis. "Let's keep a five-year plan in place with a plan of how it's going to pay for itself," Sena said.
Sena said that if he had not run for a second three-year term, the only person serving on a board with more than one term's experience would be Board President Mildred Spiller.
Incumbents Don Huber and Roberta Monahan are not seeking re-election on the grades K-8 Board of Education.
Two of the five applicants who earlier this month sought a vacancy on the board created by the recent resignation of John DeBellis later announced write-in candidacies for the two other three-year openings on the board.
Those candidates are Celeste Campos, former PTO president at the Mt. Horeb School, and Lisa DiMaggio, a Watchung Hills High School graduate and an educator.
The remainder of DeBellis' term through the end of 2014 will be filled out by Len DeMontagnac, who served on the school district's strategic planning committee.
While on the board, Sena said he also was involved with the selection of the school district's current superintendent Tami Crader. He said he has been involved with negotiations with the district's education association, and talks for the next contract begin this year.
Sena, who holds a bachelors degree from New York University and an MBA from Farleigh Dickinson University, said he sees a potential problem on the horizon as inflation may begin to pick up again and the school district must keep to the state cap of 2-percent annual increases on the local taxpayer levy for the township school district.
For example, he said that benefits and salaries, a large chunk of the budget, may be increasing again, although members of the teachers union now can be asked to contribute towards their benefits package.
He added a decline in the school population also is predicted, and that also may have an effect on the budget.
Sena, who said he has one child in the eighth grade in the middle school, and another in high school, said that during his career he has sold pharmaceuticals, worked on Wall Street in New York, and now is a financial planner.