SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Resident Vivek Kumar is running for a seat on the South Brunswick Board of Education this November. He is running on a slate along with Joyce Mehta and Magesh Kamalakannan.

In a Q&A with Patch, Kumar talks about the need for open dialogue with the community and transparency.

This year’s election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Early voting has already begun. Check out our voting guide here.

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Name: Vivek Kumar

Age: 46

Find out what's happening in South Brunswickwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Town of residence: Monmouth Junction

Position sought: Member Board of Education

Family: Shalini (my wife) works for the largest online retailer. Two kids – 8th and 2nd grader.

Education: B.Tech in Computer Engineering

Occupation: IT Product Owner

Previous or current elected appointed office: None

Campaign website:

Why are you seeking to run for a seat on the South Brunswick Board of Education

South Brunswick is a great school district for students and parents and has many highly educated and skilled residents. Our school board is representative of the whole community that elects it. The board should be able to have constructive dialogue and incorporate community input, especially on decisions that impact direct services to students or create long-term financial commitments for the district taxpayers. As a member of the board (and parent of 2 kids in school) my goal is to advocate for this open dialogue with all those impacted – students, teachers, parents, and community members.

What according to you is the biggest issue facing the school district right now?

Based on publicly available information, I think the big issues that the school district faces right now are fiscal governance and dialogue with the community. Fiscal governance should include both securing more money and spending wisely what we already have. Having an open dialogue with the community and incorporating inputs from impacted students, teachers, parents, and community members. All involved must work together to solve these issues. I encourage more community members to attend board meetings, apply to be included in public committees, provide input on decisions being made, and volunteer for any other opportunity. I encourage the board to provide more opportunities for open dialogue to the community via public committees, special task forces, etc and be more open in inviting & incorporating community inputs on significant decisions like big projects, and curriculum among others.

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SBSD is seeing regular cuts in state aid due to the funding formula. What plans do you have to ensure student services are not cut and there are no job losses for employees?

A better fiscal governance is required considering state aid cuts, with two simultaneous initiatives:

How many budget meetings have you attended and have you put forth any solutions?

As a resident, I attended the board meeting where the budget for school year 2023–24 was approved. I have attended multiple board meetings, advocating for student safety and public dialogue on the issues faced by the community. I also applied for the district budget public committee in September 2022 and was not selected. Again, I applied for the advocacy public committee in October 2023, let us see.

Transportation is a statewide issue. Do you feel transportation issues are being handled well by the district? If not, how do you propose improving it?

I like the way this question is framed – it is not the issue but how the board reacts to the issues that matter to the students, parents, and community. Issues will always be there and that is why we need a public governing body like the board of education in school districts. We can do better with the transportation issues in the district, both in terms of discussing it openly with impacted students and parents and working out solutions and alternatives. A lot of districts in the state have subscription busing – I am confident that we can find a solution that works for everyone if we put ourselves to it.

What other issues do you feel need to be tackled in the district?

In addition to issues of fiscal governance and dialog with the community shared already, we need to focus on a Student First Policy – that is ensuring students’ safety and well-being is our highest priority in every decision made, supporting every child in mental health, academics, sports, and extra-curricular activities. As a commitment to our taxpayers, we need to work on elevating the ranking of our school district comparable to our neighboring towns; as better rankings help drive up property value.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

If elected I will bring the following skills to the board:

So, I have a combination of perspectives, experiences and skills that can help the board make policy decisions that put student excellence first while maintaining transparency and empowering residents.

What else would you like to share about yourself or your campaign?

I would like to share a framework to screen candidates and hopefully, it will help you decide quantitatively. Rank and evaluate your candidates based on the following criteria:

Wishing the best to all the candidates. May the best win!

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