Bayonne Board of Education candidate Charles Ryan, a retired deputy chief of police, says he plans to cutback spending and see a broader curriculum implemented if elected to the board.
“I’m retired from the Bayonne Police Department, I’ve been retired for about three years now, and it was time to do something to get more involved in the community,” Ryan told Hudson County View, saying he and his wife of 30 years agreed that the BOE would be a good fit for him.
“It’s something we’ve always been interested in. We have three children who are in their 20s. They range in abilities from someone who graduated summa cuma laude to a child with autism who, just the fact that she can verbalize and be a welcome housemate is her goal.”
He also revealed that he has a New Jersey certificate of teaching in social studies and a Bachelor of Arts in history from Jersey City State college, leading him to teach for two years before becoming a police officer.
Additionally, Ryan spoke about eliminating unnecessary jobs within the district.
“We have to look at the table of organization: how many schools do we have? How many classrooms are we running? Do we have enough teachers? Do we have enough principals? Are the vice principals doing what they’re supposed to be doing? What are the directors doing?,” Ryan stated.
“We need to justify every position, first by looking at the TO, seeing what people do, and justifying those positions. If they’re not needed, we just can’t fund them because we don’t have the extra money.”
As far as the teachersâ€™ contract is concerned, the candidate says a fair raise is overdue since â€œyou get what you pay for.â€
“We need to give the teachers a fair raise, I mean that’s just the basis of everything. You get what you pay for. And if you want, and we do want, do need, and we should be demanding our central office [to hire] quality teachers, we’re gonna have to pay for it,” Ryan exclaimed.
“So, we have to find ways to economize and we have to shift some of that money to the teachers’ contract, otherwise what’s the point of the exercise? If we’re gonna have substandard teachers, if that’s all we’re willing to pay for, it’s just time to go home.”
As far as what heâ€™d like to improve in the Bayonne public schools, Ryan said itâ€™s time to think outside the box and expand programs beyond STEM and the performing arts.
Ryan also said that while the high school graduation rate in Bayonne is around 80 percent, above the national average, he feels that having nearly 20 percent of students not graduating is still too many. Therefore, the board should make it a priority to find programs to keep those children in school.
Finally, Ryan concluded by stating that coming out and voting is extremely important, noting that former Mayor Dennis Collins made the board of education trustees appointed instead of elected in the 1980s due to low voter turnout.