By Amethyst Martinez
Heavily involved with his minor in political science, Anthony Corbi, a Rider junior sports media major, is running for Mount Laurel School Board this upcoming election.
Corbi, a former student in Mount Laurel’s school district, is hoping for a spot in one of three open seats.
If he wins, Corbi aims to alleviate the mental health crisis among many schools in the district after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I used to be a student in the district, and I know that there was very little attention to mental health. … There were a few people that I knew who dealt with mental health issues, and they couldn’t get the help they needed,” said Corbi.
In his campaign video, Corbi explained that the school district doesn’t have enough guidance counselors for the number of students in alignment with the state average.
According to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) for the 2018-2019 school year, New Jersey assigned 358 students per counselor. The ASCA recommends a 250-to-1 ratio.
However, Mount Laurel’s ratio is worse according to Corbi. “ [For] Harrington Middle School, they only have two guidance counselors, and there are over 900 students. So it’s about 482 students to every one guidance counselor. … The upper elementary school [has] 467 students [to] every one guidance counselor,” said Corbi.
Corbi started creating his campaign in May of 2020, where he began doing preliminary action for the election. One person he sought advice from was Micah Rasmussen, a professor at Rider and the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.
“One of the things I say to all of my students in intro class is you probably will never run for office: but if you do, I want you to come and sit down with me because we can work out a strategy by which you can win any election,” Rasmussen said. “He’s the first student who ever took me up on that.”
Corbi is now determining how to do effective voter outreach to the residents who will vote for the school board.
“It’s a huge election,” explained Rasmussen. According to the United States Census Bureau in 2020, there were 44,633 residents in Mount Laurel Township.
One of Corbi’s plans is to reach residents by sending letters, with three volunteers to help with writing them. Corbi said, “We’re going to start writing more and more letters fairly soon.”
Overall, Corbi hopes to win and positively impact the school district he once was a part of only a few years ago.
“I’m running to address mental health and make the school board more reflective of what Mount Laurel as a whole believes should be the case in our schools,” said Corbi.
The election is on Nov. 8, and more information on Corbi’s election can be found on his campaign website, corbi2022.com.