While most New Jersey municipalities have moved local school board elections to November, thirteen towns still cling to the traditional April date when turnout is substantially lower.
For candidates in those towns, the filing deadline for the April 16, 2019 election is February 25.
The towns that still hold April Board of Education elections: Cliffside Park, Fairview, Garfield, Hackensack and Oakland in Bergen; Newark and Irvington in Essex; North Bergen and Weehawken in Hudson; East Brunswick and New Brunswick in Middlesex; Neptune Township in Monmouth; and Passaic and Totowa in Passaic.
The premier race is expected to be Hackensack, where allies of Mayor John Labrosse are expected to make a bid to take control of the Board of Education.
Labrosse led the opposition to a special school referendum last month that voters rejected by a 77%-23% margin. All three of his school board candidates won, defeating a slate backed by former mayor Jack Zisa.
The race in North Bergen could be a precursor of the May non-partisan municipal elections, where mayor Nicholas Sacco faces another challenge from Larry Wainstein.
In 2018, 23 candidates appeared on the ballot for the three Board of Education seats. Sacco candidates were way out in front: Claudia Rodriguez (3452 votes), Sam Jaafar (3,365 votes) and Ruth Shaw (3,394 votes).
The Wainstein slate finished way behind: Zeneida Larios (279 votes), Viviana Salcedo (229 votes), and Adelaida Rivera (305 votes).
Since candidates in school board elections are not bracketed, the ability to get voters to pick out 3 names out of 23 contenders took an impressive level of organization
Newark mayor Ras Baraka plays heavily in local Board of Education elections. Last year, in an alliance with North Ward city councilman Anibal Ramos and the Newark Charter School Fund, the Baraka/Ramos slate won by a margin of nearly 5-1.
Irvington will have a special election to fill the unexpired term of Romaine Greer, who is expected to resign this month to take a seat on the Essex County Board of Freeholders.
Correction: A previous version of this story did not include East Brunswick.