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BOE Candidate Profile: Regina Discenza

Discenza, who has run for school board ballot for the last eight years, would like to see a job audit of the district as well as encourage parents' involvement in student achievement

As Election Day nears, Lacey Patch is profiling the candidates for the Board of Education. Please come back to Lacey Patch for more profiles in the coming weeks.

  • Candidate Name: Regina Discenza
  • Age: 51
  • Address: Sunrise Beach, Forked River
  • Occupation: Stay at home mom
  • Marital Status: Married 23 years with two sons

Regina Discenza has run for school board for the past eight years.

As an active resident in a town of approximately 28,000, Discenza became involved when she heard Home Depot was coming to town.

“That was when I began to pay attention to Lacey Township,” she said, adding her concerns about traffic.

That’s when Discenza started to summon records on the Home Depot project.

“OPRA is a great tool for any citizen who wishes to verify public information,” she said.

But why school board rather than township Committee, where she is also one of the few who consistently makes her voice heard?

“The school district controls more tax dollars than the committee,” she said.

When Discenza voted in her first school board election after moving to Lacey in 1999, she noticed there were no choices, just incumbents, she said.

When asked why keep running if she has yet to be elected, Discenza responded, “Because no one else does! There’s no point in having elections if there are no choices!”

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Discenza will be listed on the ballot with incumbents Vice President Eric Schubiger and Maureen Tirella.

Discenza has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College plus a minor in business management and accounting. She also has 12 credits beyond the degree in special education, taught briefly in New York and worked for the Board of Education as an investigator.

A stay at home mom since 1994, Discenza has been “retired” ever since but an “active parent” with two sons — one who graduated from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science with a full four-year scholarship to the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and an eighth-grader at Lacey Middle School.

“I’m over 18, speak, read and write English and I’m a citizen,” she said. “I live in my District over 10 years, am a registered voter and hold no other office. I believe those are the basic qualifications noted by the New Jersey School Board Association.”

Discenza added that she has no conflicts of interest but believes three sitting board members with family working within the district do.

The major issues facing the school district are “constantly rising taxes,” she said.

“As for the recent $4.1 million plus in budget transfers, this clearly indicates the Board has significantly more money than it needed,” she said. “No matter how it occurs or what they use it for, clearly the taxpayers have put in more than necessary—and then on top of that, the board passes a tax increase.

“If zero based budgeting was used, this would not happen,” she said. “Our board continually builds upon the previous budget, thus creating their own windfalls.”

Also, enrollment is down but taxes continue to rise.

“Enrollment is down significantly and seems to have no impact on the budget,” she said. “Jobs keep getting created and student achievement remains the same as it has been.”

Discenza anxiously awaits the results of the state investigation of the district’s solar panel project, she said.

“Yes, it was very necessary to go green and get a handle on the district’s $100,000+ monthly electric bills, but I was very unhappy with the pricing and the financing of this project,” she said.

She feels a job audit of the district needs to be done.

“A few years ago, Mr. Palino had mentioned he would like to see a job audit in the district. I thought this was an excellent idea. But to date it’s never been done because no one wants to see their friends or family lose a job,” she said.

A job audit could prove to be “enlightening.” Some jobs must overlap and people can be cross-trained, Discenza said.

“The Lacey BOE, I believe, currently employs more people than the power plant,” she said.

Discenza would also like to bring attention to the district’s parent portals to encourage parents’ involvement in student achievement, she said.

“While Lacey does have significant parent involvement, there are many students lacking parental supervision of their schoolwork/activities,” she said. “With the new technology and the parent portals, people should find it easier to check and see that their kids are doing homework and be sufficiently warned of possible failure.

“Student success can only be achieved if it is fostered within the home. It is not the sole responsibility of the School District,” she said.

Pamela Brown ♥ October 15, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I applaud Regina for her determination as a parent to try to improve Lacey schools. She questions practices that keep raising our taxes, even though school enrollment is down! She consistently speaks for restraint in spending and transparency. Taxes are crushing Lacey homeowners, as we can see from the foreclosures in town. Good Luck!!
Nuyorker October 15, 2012 at 07:48 PM
She's still here? I thought she said "i'm outta here if they build a home depot, walmart , etc.." why run for a position on the boe? get lost benny
E October 15, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I'm so glad Mrs. Discenza decided to run again. I never voted for her before because I didnt know anything about her but I have come to admire her tenacity. I would like to see a change in the Lacey BOE so she has my vote. Best of luck Mrs. Discenza!
Cathy October 15, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I think people should zip it up with nasty comments. There is no call for it. I wish you luck Regina...nice to have someone who is so passionate speaking out for their beliefs. If you have something to say about her and your so brazen to be cruel....do so with your own name you cowards! BOE needs a change so again good luck Regina
Silver dollar October 15, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Regina Discenza is what we need on our BOE She researches the things she talks about. Questions anything on the school board agenda when there is a Board meeting .It is time for a change and this is how to get it started Our school has a budget of over 70 million dollars Do you know where it go,es I would say she does Yes SHE HAS MY VOTE
Ryan Hardy October 15, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Regina Discenza is what is badly needed in this town. I fully support her, and she needs to get in there to ruffle the feathers of the corrupt "yes" board. Best of luck!
LaceyLady October 15, 2012 at 10:39 PM
It's about time Lacey votes Regina in! She will really shake things up, instead of the old status quo year after year. She may be tiny, but is tenacious and has a big voice that you just can't ignore. Like my old Uncle Moe always says, out with the old and in with the new. (I am also a big fan of Oprah, sad her show is no longer on the air). (LOL!!!)
patricia doyle October 16, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I agree with Moe, Lady, Mr. Moss and Cathy. Do I always agree with Regina? No. Will I vote for her? Yes. She is truly passionate about this town and will not be afraid to ask questions and make people explain themselves. That alone is worth the price of admission. You have my vote Regina.
not for me October 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM
this person is divisive, mean spirited, and insulting to one's intelligence. She doesn't deserve most people's votes and wont get mine. I have watched her over the years fight walmart (which saves me huge amount off my grocery bill each month by being in town), fight home depot ( which saves me huge amount of money by not having to drive to manahawkin or toms river), and be a general nuisance to this community. I will celebrate the day she moves out of town and becomes someone else's problem ( like palchewski)!!
grace October 16, 2012 at 02:30 PM
i applaud her passion but not too sure she gets it right alot of the time...but i must say she works hard and puts alot of effort into her beliefs....so good luck girl. wish i had half your amount of energy ! will decide on election day if she gets my vote or not
frank rizzo October 16, 2012 at 05:00 PM
i think regina has always done a great job giving so much of her personal time to try and improve the lacey schools that everyone's kids go to. that includes cowards like "not for me " and n yorker" who dont even have the stones to use their real names while bad mouthing people because they have nothing better to do.
Ryan Hardy October 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Palchewski was a real reformer that they canned on FAKE ethics charges! Regina will fix this town, and you are ignorant, not for me!
proud October 16, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I would like to vote for county administered school districts. That would be a great tool in eliminating duplicitous and unnecessary positions that eat up tax dollars. It would be nice to see municipal governments and utility authorities eliminatedI as well. Home rule is wasteful. So is the antiquated Civil Service system. Give New Jersey back to the taxpayers and be gone with the anointed minority.
proud October 16, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I do t see where the comments were so nasty. Did some get deleted?
william rich October 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM
regina is no good for this town....offensive , abrasive and misinformed...gas up and move out...we're still waiting!!!
pete sacke October 17, 2012 at 08:51 PM
ya, she'll fix...you cant fight the machine MOMO...........................just talk no solutions

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