John Barton

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John Barton
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Brick Township Board of Education, At-large
Term ends
Years in position 1
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Next general2017
Term limitsN/A
High schoolBTHS
Bachelor'sRichard Stockton College of New Jersey
OtherGeorgian Court University
Office website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
John Barton is an at-large representative on the Brick Township Board of Education in New Jersey. He won the seat in the general election on November 4, 2014.

Barton ran unsuccessfully for the board in 2011, 2012 and 2013.


Barton earned a B.A. in psychology from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 1984. He has taught and coached track in Jackson School District since graduating from college.[1]



See also: Brick Township Public Schools elections (2014)


Two seats on the Brick Township Board of Education were up for election on November 4, 2014. At-large incumbents Sharon Cantillo and Lawrence K. Reid ran for re-election as a slate. Returning candidates John Barton and David Fischer challenged them in the general election.[2]


Brick Township Public Schools,
At-Large General Election, 3-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSharon Cantillo Incumbent 35.1% 7,053
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Barton 23.2% 4,658
     Nonpartisan David Fischer 22.4% 4,505
     Nonpartisan Lawrence K. Reid Incumbent 19% 3,814
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.4% 87
Total Votes 20,117
Source: Ocean County Clerk, "General Election Unofficial Results," November 12, 2014


Barton reported no contributions or expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. He filed a A-1 form which declares that he did not receive contributions exceeding $4,500 in this election.[3]


Barton did not receive any official endorsements.


See also: Brick Township Public Schools elections (2013)


Barton ran for election against Karyn Cusanelli, David Fischer and John Talty on November 5, 2013.


Brick Township Public Schools, At-large General Election, 3-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKaryn Cusanelli Incumbent 32% 7,566
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Talty Incumbent 24.6% 5,813
     Nonpartisan David Fischer 21.5% 5,078
     Nonpartisan John Barton 21.5% 5,076
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.3% 76
Total Votes 23,609
Source: Ocean County Clerk, "Official Results," November 14, 2013


Barton reported no contributions or expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.[4]


Brick Township Public Schools, At-large General Election, 1-year term, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKaryn Cusanelli 35.2% 6,331
     Nonpartisan John Barton 32.8% 5,894
     Nonpartisan Brenda J. Calderone 32% 5,741
Total Votes 17,966
Source: Asbury Park Press, "School board election results," November 7, 2012 These results are unofficial.


Brick Township Public Schools, At-large General Election, 3-year terms, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSharon Kight 22.4% 6,410
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLawrence K. Reid 18.1% 5,177
     Nonpartisan Vicky Leone 15.5% 4,434
     Nonpartisan Konstantine Goulas 13.1% 3,752
     Nonpartisan Robert Merola 13.1% 3,750
     Nonpartisan John Barton 8.9% 2,540
     Nonpartisan David Fischer 8.5% 2,430
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.5% 149
Total Votes 28,642
Source: Ocean County Clerk, "2011 School Election County of Ocean Official Results," accessed September 8, 2014

Campaign themes


Barton provided the following responses to questions from Brick Patch:

Question 1: The issue of school district facilities is frequently on the minds on Brick residents. Please describe your specific priorities in terms of where tax dollars and capital funding should be directed for facilities projects. Do you favor looking into the possibility of holding a referendum for a future capital outlay?

I am in favor of allowing the public to voice their opinions as to what the district’s facilities needs may be. Currently, the BOE has spent over ten million dollars without a referendum, and none of the facility improvements that are currently in the works has anything to do with curriculum that is tested on the state level. I do believe that money should be spent to improve facilities so that the environment in Math and English classes are more conducive to learning.

Question 2: Some members of the community have voiced concern over the rigor of the district’s academic program, as well as the availability of honors and advanced placement courses at the high school level. What specific policy steps do you feel the district should be taking to ensure students receive a rigorous and competitive college preparatory education in our public school system?

This is goal #3, # 4 and #5 of the Superintendent’s Merit and Compensation Goals for 2012-2013 so consider it already done.

Goal #3: By May 1, 2013, the Superintendent will develop a plan for early identification of and early intervention with children who may be at risk for not passing the third grade NJASK reading levels. The plan will be based on proven strategies and be implemented and monitored. In the 2012-2013 year, with the goal of increasing the number of third grade students passing Language Arts from 69.5% to 73.5% in 2013, a 4% increase for general education will be realized as evidenced by the 2012-2013 NJASK Spring assessment.

“Goal #4: Increase the number of AP classes offered at both high schools by a total of three (3) classes in each school.”

“Goal #5: Increase the total number of students taking AP classes by 8% for the 2012-2013 school year.”

These are my thoughts of what the policy should be like that would work to improve academics in Brick Schools.

All last year, I opposed the technology chair’s position on having laptops purchased solely for high school students. I voiced my opinion that advancements in using technology in elementary and middle school levels would help to increase the numbers, and advance proficient scores in the lower grades. I even contacted all of the school’s PTA groups to tell everyone what was going on and to encourage more involvement from the community. The millions of dollars being spent on laptops should be divided more equally around the district’s lower grades too. Technology is not the only area that is lacking in Brick Schools. Comparing Brick to other schools , I notice a much lower rate of Advance Proficient Score on the NJASK.

If you don’t make academic improvements in lower grades first, there is more of a need to offer, C level classes at the HS’s to take the students in Honors and AP classes that are not doing their homework out of those programs and moving them back to regular A and B or C level classes. You have to start at the elementary level to make use of High School Honor and AP classes because right now most of the students in the Honor and AP classes have a false sense of their ability to be academically competitive with others their own age.

Question 3: Full day kindergarten is becoming more common in public school districts, and there is the possibility that the state could mandate its availability in the coming years. Describe your support for, or opposition to, such a program in Brick. If it becomes a mandate, what approach would you take towards implementing a cost effective full-day kindergarten program for the Brick district?

You have already been informed from the Superintendent that there will be full day kindergarten. The district is also, presently, undergoing a state mandated evaluation too. At meetings during that start of the school year it was publically announced that there will be full day kindergarten next year. For a few years there has been cost analysis, discussed publically, to show the expenses and the savings of utilizing all of the building but expanding the kindergarten program to full day.

A certain Board member has already been a proponent of full day kindergarten for a few years now, but that doesn’t prove public outcry. Again, the community should be given an opportunity to voice their opinions, goal #2 of the superintendents Merit and Compensation Goals; “Goal #2: Implement a communication plan that actively informs and involves the home, community and schools as partners.”

Question 4: It is no secret that New Jersey – specifically, its suburban communities – has the nation’s highest property taxes. What specific ideas do you have to generate revenue or realize savings in order to stabilize the tax rate, while maintaining a proper scholastic program for students?

The schools should be inviting to the community and the residents should feel proud to have ownership in the decisions made by the school board. The Board of Education should work on making compromised decisions with the public , at public committee meetings, that will benefit the students to the fullest without overspending or careless spending.[5]

Brick Patch candidate profile on John Barton, (2012)[6]

What was at stake?


The 2014 election was an opportunity for a shift on the school board as incumbents faced two challengers for the two seats up for election. It also marked the fourth consecutive election for both challengers, John Barton and David Fischer.

In 2014, Brick Township Public Schools saw a rise in the ranking of its high schools in a statewide comparison. Meanwhile, the board of education deliberated on a social media policy and whether or not to leave the state's health insurance program.

Issues in the district

NJM ranking

The magazine New Jersey Monthly ranked all 339 New Jersey high schools in 2012 and 2014. The analysis for the report was conducted by the research company Leflein Associates. The report weighted school environment at 1, student performance at 1.5 and student outcomes at 2.1.[7] In 2012, Brick Township High School (BTHS) and Brick Township Memorial High School (BTMHS) ranked 261st and 269th, respectively. Both schools improved on the magazine's rankings in 2014. BTHS rose to 206th while BTMHS rose to 188th.[8]

Social media policy

At their October 9, 2014, meeting, the board of education discussed the development of a social media policy. A state law passed earlier in 2014 requires school districts to develop such policies. Board members varied widely on the degree of interaction they wanted to allow staff to have with students through social media, text messages and personal phones.

Karyn Cusanelli argued in favor of a stricter policy that would help the school handle issues surrounding social media since the school has no legal means to access records on such websites if accusations are made. Michael Conti, however, stated that the district "should extend professional courtesy to our staff of knowing what the limits are.” The board came to a consensus at the meeting to implement a program like Microsoft SharePoint, " a web-based application that features numerous communication and collaboration tools that could be monitored by the district, which would have a record of all the activity of both students and staff." The board was set to vote on a final draft of its social media policy its October 23, 2014, meeting.[9]

Health insurance costs

The Brick Township Public Schools system began participating in the state's health insurance plan in 2010, when it switched from self-insurance. However, the state's rates run from January 1 to December 31 of each year, while the district's budget runs from July 1 to June 30. This lead to budgeting difficulties for the district. In 2014, the state's plan rate increased 12 percent while the board of education had planned for a 6 percent increase leaving a shortfall of approximately half a million dollars.[10]

The board considered switching back to a self-insurance through Horizon Blue Cross-Blue Shield known as Direct 10. The switch would save the school district $958,000.[11]


Issues in the district

Mold outbreak at Drum Point

The district has been dealing with significant mold problems at Drum Point Elementary School since an August 2013 inspection. Superintendent Walter Uszenski noted that the district spent $200,000 on clean-up services since the inspection with district insurance covering $25,000. The mold outbreak occurred due to the school's lack of central cooling and high humidity throughout the building during the summer break.[12][13]

Assistant superintendent controversy

David Fischer accused Superintendent Uszenski of negligence after two candidates were hired to replace an outgoing assistant superintendent. In a discussion on the local Patch website, Fischer also argued that the assistant superintendent was merely transferred to another position. The former candidate noted that these personnel moves cost the district $220,000 in salaries and benefits. Uszenski responded to these claims by suggesting that the district needed an additional academic officer for special services as well as an interim assistant superintendent.[14]

About the district

Brick Township Public Schools is located in Ocean County, New Jersey
See also: Brick Township Public Schools, New Jersey

Brick Township Public Schools is located in Ocean County, New Jersey. The county seat of Ocean County is Toms River. In 2013, Ocean County was home to approximately 583,414 residents according to estimates by the United States Census Bureau.[15] In 2011-2012 school year, Brick Township Public Schools was the 17th-largest school district by enrollment in New Jersey and served 9,893 students.


Ocean County underperformed in comparison to the rest of New Jersey in terms of education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 25 percent of Ocean County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 35.4 percent for New Jersey as a whole. The median household income for Ocean County was $61,038 compared to the state average of $71,637. The unemployment rate in the county was 10.2 percent while it was 9.9 percent statewide.[15]

Racial Demographics, 2013[15]
Race Ocean County (%) New Jersey (%)
White 93.0 73.4
Black or African American 3.5 14.7
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.3 0.6
Asian 1.9 9.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.0 0.1
Two or More Races 1.3 2.0
Hispanic or Latino 8.8 18.9

Presidential Voting Pattern, Ocean County[16]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 102,300 146,474
2008 110,189 160,677
2004 99,839 154,204
2000 102,104 105,684

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[17][18]

Recent news

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. LinkedIn, "John Barton," accessed November 19, 2013
  2. Ocean County Clerk's Office, "2014 SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES LIST," accessed September 8, 2014
  3. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "View a Candidate or Election Related Committee Report," accessed October 14, 2014
  4. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Standard Search," accessed December 27, 2013
  5. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  6. Brick Patch, "BOE Candidate profile: John Barton," October 22, 2012
  7. New Jersey Monthly, "Top Schools 2014: Methodology," September 2, 2014
  8. New Jersey Monthly, "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014," September 2, 2014
  9. Brick Shorebeat, "Brick School Board Debates Staff Social Media Policy," October 10, 2014
  10. Brick Shorebeat, "Brick School District Facing Health Insurance Hike From State," September 22, 2014
  11. Brick Shorebeat, "Brick School District Would Save $958K in Health Insurance Switch," October 13, 2014
  12. Asbury Park Press, "Brick mulls closing school," October 31, 2013
  13. Patch, "Brick Spent More Than $500,000 To Correct Schools' Mold Problem," November 15, 2013
  14. Patch, "Superintendent Responds to Allegations About Assistant Superintendent," October 31, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 United States Census Bureau, "Ocean County, New Jersey," accessed September 8, 2014
  16. New Jersey Department of State, "NJ Election Information and Results Archive," accessed September 8, 2014
  17. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  18. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.