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Ralph Johnson. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Dehmer reinstates ousted Piscataway School Board member

Ralph Johnson gets his seat back after rival slate voted him out over alleged attendance issue

By Nikita Biryukov, September 09 2020 2:42 pm

Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer restored Ralph Johnson to his seat on the Piscataway Board of Education Wednesday.

“I am so glad to be returning to the Board this week. Now more than ever, our students, faculty and families need Board members who stand up for them and put their needs first,” Johnson said.  “I am thrilled to be able to get back to work at this challenging time, when our students are starting the year remotely. I am deeply grateful to the students, parents, staff and community members who stood with me and sought justice.”

The Board voted to remove Johnson over his alleged failure to attend an April 9 meeting. Johnson is marked as present on the meeting’s minutes but said he was disconnected for a portion of the proceedings due to technical issues.

Johnson’s attorneys claimed his removal was a political ploy by Board members elected on the “Better, Safer Schools” slate to install Warren Zimmerman into Johnson’s seat.

Zimmerman ran for school board on the “Better, Safer Schools” slate in 2019, finishing 103 votes behind Johnson, the third-place finisher. He filed a candidate petition to run for the remainder of Johnson’s unexpired term.

“Democracy and justice were served in this case.  We want to thank the Commissioner and the Department of Education for moving quickly to protect the rights of voters who elected Ralph last year and preventing ballot chaos that could have resulted if this matter was not settled,” Johnson attorney Brett M. Pugach said. “We look forward to Ralph resuming his position on the Board to continue serving the residents of Piscataway.”

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