Ferrandino opening statement at PTA forum
TO THE PEOPLE OF LYNDHURST
“My name is Frank Ferrandino. Some of you may already know me from my run in last year’s BOE election. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been a Lyndhurst resident now for almost 8 years. I grew up in Kearny, graduated from Queen of Peace High school and Rutgers Business School.
“I am married to my high-school sweet heart Laurie and we have 2 boys, Frankie who is a junior in Lyndhurst high school and Jamie who is in 1st grade at Franklin School. Frankie started in the Lyndhurst school system in the 4th grade when we moved to town. Jamie while only being in the 1st grade, has been in the school system now for 5 years. After aging out of early intervention at the age of 3, Jamie was placed in the special education pre-school disabled program.
“He started off learning how to communicate using picture exchange & sign language. Because of the hard work & dedication of our special education teachers and staff, he progressed to the more independent preschool disabled program and eventually was able to enter general education kindergarten with a speech IEP. People that meet him today and hear his story are amazed at how far he has come and for that my family will forever be grateful to the teachers and administrators who helped get him to where he is today.
“In addition to being a husband and parent, I am your neighbor, a homeowner, a taxpayer, a PTA member, a college graduate and a business owner. What I’m not, is a POLITICIAN.
“I am running for the BOE 100% independent.
“I fully funded my campaign personally – I’ve accepted no donations from any friends or supporters.
“I have zero ties to any person, party or group.
“I have no personal or political agenda. My only agenda is to do what is right.
“I owe no one any favors or jobs.
“I am in nobody’s pocket. I am nobody’s pawn.
“I am 100% Transparent, what you see is what you get.
“I ran last year on TRANSPARENCY and INTEGRITY, and I continue that message today. I don’t need to remind you of our current situation. Everyone here is aware we are $5 million plus in debt and taken over by the state. We are all aware we have board members with obvious conflicts of interests…conflicts that prevent them on voting more often than not on issues that affect our kids. We are all aware of past hiring practices and have questioned if the best qualified person was passed up in order to hire a friend or family member. We are all witnesses to these practices, these practices got us to where we are today and it has to stop. We also need to take a look at how our special committees are run. Aside from the fact committee meetings were not being held, we need to make sure people are placed in committees based on their strengths.
“We select our board members to be the watchdogs for our kids’ education. I promise to be that watchdog. I promise to hold other board members accountable for their decisions. I promise to do what’s right 100% of the time no matter what.
“Our school budget is somewhere in the $42 million-dollar range. About $10 million of that is earmarked for employee benefits, (health insurance and dental/vision insurance). That $10m is probably second only to salaries as it relates to the proportion of our budget, so it’s a BIG piece of the pie. What I bring to the table is 18 years in the financial service industry, where 16 of those years I specialized in group health insurance, both in the fully insured and self-funded markets. Holding a state insurance producers license, I’ve sat at the table as a broker with insurance carriers representing my clients to get them the best possible plan and rate. Being a business owner, I shop for and pay 100% for my family’s health insurance plan every year. I know the shopping process intimately because I’ve been on both side of the table as a consumer and as a broker.
“I know this current board is severely lacking the knowledge to work with brokers and carriers to properly design and negotiate a plan and rate that will be both responsibly priced and offer exceptional coverage to our hard-working staff and their families. There is a lot that goes into shopping health insurance for a school district. My industry knowledge will be an enormous asset to this board and to our town as it relates to getting back to being fiscally responsible moving forward.
“Anyone can get up here and say things like “Putting Children First”
“But I believe actions speak louder than words.
“Come November 6th, you have a say, you have the power.
“Please consider me as one of your three votes for our Board of Education.”