Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Did you know there’s a school board election in five weeks? -by Carlos Davis

Hoboken Waterfront- September 29, 2014
The following article by Carlos Davis appeared in the Hoboken Reporter on September 28. Click here to access the article in its entirety.  -Dr. Petrosino

It’s unusually quiet for election season in Hoboken. In merely five weeks, three of the nine seats on the Hoboken Board of Education will be contested during the Nov. 4 general election. The three incumbents are running again, and their challengers have recently stepped up their critiques at school board meetings.

One reason for the tepid campaigning may be that the election has no chance of changing who controls the school board. Six of the nine current trustees were elected on the Kids First slate, which is associated with Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Two of the incumbents running are opponents of Kids First and the third has been allied with them, although she didn’t technically run on their slate.

That trustee, Monica Stromwall, was unanimously appointed by the board this past February after Carmelo Garcia resigned his seat to serve as a newly elected state Assemblyman. Stromwall has consistently voted with the Kids First majority since then, but will be running with her own slate called Parents for Progress, along with Sharyn Angley and Antonio Gray.

In fact, this year, no one is running under the “Kids First” banner–possibly because of division within the group’s ranks over policy toward the district’s charter schools. The Kids First members on the school board have opposed the expansion of the HoLa dual language charter school, while some past Kids First supporters, including the mayor, have been in favor of charter schools.

The two other incumbents running this year, Peter Biancamano and Frances Rhodes-Kearns, have often filled the role of the loyal opposition against Kids First, questioning the decisions of the majority at school board meetings. 

From an initial field of 11, the number of candidates for the school board dwindled to eight after Barbara Reyes, Britney Montgomery, and Jackie Dowd Prince dropped out.

Biancamano and Rhodes-Kearns are teaming up to form the Education for all Children slate. A third slate, the Parents for Change slate, is composed of two former board candidates, Brian Murray (a frequent Kids First critic) and Patricia Waiters, as well as Lynn Danzker.

The Board of Education Candidates’ Forum will take place at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2014 at the Elks Lodge at 1005 Washington St. For those who cannot attend, the forum will be videotaped and may be viewed later on Hoboken’s Cablevision Channel 78.

Read more: Hudson Reporter - Did you know there s a school board election in five weeks Three of nine seats up charter schools and new superintendent at issue