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Franklin Lakes BOE Candidate: Jackie Veliky

Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes Patch recently spoke with several of the candidates for the Franklin Lakes Board of Education. Here's our Q&A with local mother, certified public accountant and volunteer Jackie Veliky.

Jackie Veliky is running for the Franklin Lakes Board of Education. She is a lifelong New Jersey resident, originally from Elmwood Park. 

Vilky has lived in Wayne, and eventually moved to Franklin Lakes in 2002.

The 45-year-old mother of four is a certified public accountant with a bachelor's in accounting and business management from Rutgers and an MBA from Pace's Lubin School of Business.

Veliky spent much of her career as a manager in the tax accounting department of Prudential Insurance Company of America in Newark with responsibilities that included budgeting, financial planning and analysis, forecasting, auditing, tax law analysis, supervising staff and preparing and consolidating tax returns. 

"I stopped working after the birth of my third child and began to devote my energies to raising my family and working to improve the Franklin Lakes Schools," Veliky said.

She is also the treasurer for Franklin Lakes Boy Scout Troop 34 and Franklin Lakes District Girl Scouts; a leader for Brownie Troop 94134; a past president and treasurer of the Woodside Avenue School PTA; treasurer for Franklin Lakes Cub Scout Pack 134. Veliky also served on the Efficiency Study Committee and many of the related sub-committees as well as district wide focus groups.

"I am an active member of Franklin Lakes Newcomers Club.  I am also an active member and volunteer of Woodside Avenue School PTA, Franklin Avenue Middle School PTA, Bergen Academies PPO and I volunteer at Oasis and Eva’s Kitchen in Paterson, as well as at various church related functions," Veliky said. "I also contribute to my children’s sports teams in Franklin Lakes Recreation programs."

Jackie has been married to Michael Veliky for 20 years. They have 4 children: A 15-year-old son at Bergen Academies, a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son at Franklin Avenue Middle School, and an 8-year-old daughter at Woodside Avenue School.

 

Why do you believe you're a good fit for the Board of Education?

I have spent the last ten years demonstrating a high degree of leadership, integrity and commitment to the Franklin Lakes schools and community. I have regularly attended Board of Education meetings for many years and have contributed to various district-wide initiatives.  These experiences have provided me with a strong understanding of the current school district, its inner workings, and the challenges it now faces.  I have taken the time to educate myself with respect to board procedures and the issues facing our district and can hit the ground running to immediately become an effective Board member.

If you could commend the current board on one thing they've recently done, what would it be?

The school board has kept the budget flat in the face of drastic state aid cuts and has still managed to return over $600,000 to taxpayers.  They did this while engaging in many initiatives that have strengthened our district immeasurably.  Our board has supported the implementation of a new math curriculum and new language arts curriculum, both of which have put us ahead of the curve in aligning with new state standards.  They have integrated technology into the schools, approved a new standards based report card and achieved a level of consistency in the schools that has not been seen before.     

If you could criticize the current board for one thing they've recently done  — or haven't done — what would it be?

I encourage open and frank discussion at all times and I believe the public has the right to question the board and be heard at Board of Education meetings.  I commend the board for allowing open discussion by BOE meeting attendees at two separate times during their meetings.  While the board allows open commentary, they should not allow participants to speak in a degrading, defamatory manner.  The level of unprofessionalism and vitriol directed at board members by meeting attendees during the past 8 months has been completely uncalled for.  As an attendee, I was both uncomfortable and appalled at the way in which some of my fellow townspeople spoke to and at the board.  There is a level of decorum and civility that should be maintained at all times; when it is not, it is up to the board to ensure an atmosphere of respectful discourse.  

Should you be elected, what is on the top of your list of goals for the board of education?

On the top of my list of goals for the board of education is to offer creative solutions to stay within the 2 percent state mandated budget cap while still providing a world class education to each and every child in the district.  We continue to face new and greater fiscal challenges each year including complying with state mandates such as: core curriculum standards, new teacher evaluations, superintendent salary caps and PARCC testing.  I will help the district manage tough economic choices while improving the quality of our students’ education in measurable ways.

Why should Franklin Lakes residents vote for you on Nov. 6?

I believe the Board of Education has one of the most important responsibilities in society — making decisions that affect the education and, therefore, the futures of the children in our community.  For the past 10 years, I have devoted my time to volunteering in the Franklin Lakes school district and community.  I am cognizant of the values and needs of all constituent groups, including the taxpayers, the parents, the educators, and ultimately, the children of Franklin Lakes. With my extensive financial background as a CPA and MBA, I am in a unique position to help the board balance district goals with fiscal responsibility.  I recognize the importance of the quality of our schools to our community and to our property value, and I will help the Franklin Lakes Board of Education work creatively to not only maintain but to strengthen our already exceptional schools without increasing the tax burden on residents.  I believe in serving one’s community, in advancing educational values, in open communication, and in working collaboratively with our school administrators and other board members to ensure that every student, in every classroom, in every school has the opportunity to learn in an environment of excellence.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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