Good morning, New Jersey. It’s Election Day, again.
Voters in thirteen municipalities, all in North Jersey, will go to the polls to elect Board of Education members and approve local school budgets.
The number represents just 1.8% of the public school districts in the state. These municipalities represent the final holdouts ten years after New Jersey passed in new law allowing school board elections to be moved from April to November in contests held concurrent with the general election.
School districts with April elections must still obtain voter approval for the annual budgets. The 2012 law allowed boards of education to skip voting on budgets.
In Newark, incumbents A’Dorian Murray-Thomas and Daniel Gonzalez are seeking re-election on a slate endorsed by Mayor Ras Baraka. Shayvonne Anderson is not seeking re-election and Crystal Williams is running with the incumbents. They face four challengers: Maggie Freeman; Allison James-Frison; Thomas Luna; and Philip Wilson.
In Irvington, incumbents Janelle Lowery, Joseph Sylvain and Luis Antilus are unopposed for three-year terms and John Brown has no opponent in his bid for an unexpired term.
Three incumbents in North Bergen – Luis Rabelo, Patricia Bartoli and Sai Raio – are unopposed for re-election. North Bergen voters tend to vote down school budgets, allowing the mayor and town commissioners the chance to strategically reduce spending.
There is a six-way race for three school board seats in West New York. Incumbents Jonathan Castañeda, Ana Sanchez and Douglas Velasquez face Dorinne Auriemma, Vipil Parekh and Jose Valdez.
In Weehawken, incumbent Julian Brian Mera, Ildefonso Acosta, and Marissa Dennis are running unopposed for three seats. Francis Pizzuta, who has served on the school board since 1980, and Susan Morales-Jennings are not seeking re-election.
Incumbents Maryann Capursi and Craig Miller are seeking re-election to the Board of Education in the City of Passaic. Kenia Flores is not running for another term. Also seeking school board seats: Patricia Abril Barreles-Garcia and Diomedes Minaya.
Totowa school board members Gary Bierach and Rose Marie Carr are seeking re-election. Joseph Parlegrecco is seeking the open seat created by the retirement of Brian Tangora.
New Brunswick school board members Ivan Adorno, Yesenia Medina-Hernandez and Benito Ortiz are seeking re-election. They face a single challenger, Lindy Stork.
Fredon Board of Education member John Niemasz is not running again, with Heather Bischoff and Anthony Corcella facing off for his seat.
Four candidates are seeking the seat of retiring school board member Glen Plotsky: Tasha DeGeorge, Stephanie Guida, Jaime Johnson and Michael Zernhelt. Andree Campbell and Dawn Marion are seeking an unexpired term.
Three Bergen County municipalities – Cliffside Park, Fairview and Oakland – have school board elections.