Candidates Set for Local School Board Seats

Monday, 13 April 2015 15:02 Walter Elliott

Local Talk News


Registered voters in Newark and Irvington have 15 candidates to choose from to fill seven boards of education seats here April 21.

One incumbent and six challengers are vying for this year's three Newark Public Schools Board of Education - or Advisory Board - seats.

Four incumbents and four challengers in Irvington are meanwhile seeking three three-year seats and a single one-year seat on that township's board of education.

Only Irvington's voters in the "Local Talk" area, however, will get to decide on their public school district's budget. Newark, because of it being a 70-percent state-funded district under mostly N.J. Department of Education operation, will not get a chance to vote on the proposed $720 million 2015-16 outlay.

None of the other "Local Talk" towns' public school districts will be able to approve or turn down their school budgets. East Orange, Montclair and Orange - being appointed boards - have boards of school estimate deciding on their budgets.

The Maplewood-South Orange School District, because of its two-town nature, has an estimate board although it still has an elected education board.

Newark and Irvington remain the last "Local Talk" holdouts for the third-Tuesday-in-April school elections.

SOMSD, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Nutley and West Orange have added their school board elections onto the November General Election ballots in the last five years.

Those school boards agreed to make the April-to-November shift to save an average of $50,000 per election and in the hopes of getting more voter participation. The State Legislature has allowed the shift - at the expense of those towns forgoing their annual budget votes. (School budget votes would be allowed there only if the budget exceeds the two percent property tax increase cap.)

Both the Newark and Irvington campaigns feature platform candidates running against independent individuals. School board members, while statutorily non-partisan, are allowed to run on a joint ticket.

The perennial Children's First Team is fielding Dashay Carter, Crystal Fonseca and Marques Aquil-Lewis.

Carter is making her first run. Fonseca ran independently last year. Lewis is seeking his third term.

Veronica Branch, Ronnie Eugene Kellum, Charles Love III, and Sheila Montague are running independently. Branch and Love are making their first runs. Kellum is running the second straight year. Montague ran for a council seat last year.

Incumbents Ronald Brown, Norma Carty, Melody Scott and Luis Antilus are running together as the Committee for Better Irvington Schools.

Brown and Scott are seeking their second three-year terms. Scott, who was off the board 2010-12, is looking for her third term.

CBIS' trio are running against Richardson Clerveus, James Manigat and Corona Gordon-Williams.

Antilus and independent Joseph Day are looking to complete the last year of former Board President Tony Vauss' term. Antilus was appointed to succeed Vauss last year.

Vauss, who led the committee's unopposed slate in 2012, resigned in 2014 to successfully run for Irvington Mayor.

Polls are to be open 2-9 p.m. April 21. April 14 is the last day with a postmark to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

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