Newark mayor praises newly-elected school board members

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on April 22, 2015

NEWARK — Call it a political pat on the back.

Newark mayor Ras Baraka on Wednesday praised the newly-elected school board members he backed in this year's election, saying they will continue the fight for local control of the school district. The state has controlled Newark Public Schools since 1995.

"I congratulate last night's winners and am confident that they will lead our efforts to restore control of Newark's Public Schools to their rightful authority – the citizens of Newark," Baraka said in a statement to NJ Advance Media.

The candidates he supported included incumbent Marques Aquil-Lewis and newcomers Dashay Carter and Crystal Fonseca , who were victorious onTuesday, according to the Essex County Clerk's unofficial results.

The so-called "Children First Team" ran on a campaign that was critical of Newark Public Schools superintendent Cami Anderson and her controversial reforms.

Carter is an aviation specialist for the U.S. army reserve, while Fonseca is an administrative assistant in Jersey City's sanitation department.

By Apr. 13, 2015, the "Children First Team" had raised $20,050 for the campaign, records show.

Competing against them was Sheila Montague, a former teacher in the district, Veronica Branch, a local mom of three, and Charles Love, a former substitute teacher and current PHD candidate.

Here's Baraka's full statement:

"We are very pleased that the voters of Newark have elected a team of Advisory School Board members who will fight for the democratic rights of our City and educational needs of our city's children. We have seen that 20 years of State supervision of the Newark Public Schools has been a failure. I congratulate last night's winners and am confident that they will lead our efforts to restore control of Newark's Public Schools to their rightful authority – the citizens of Newark."

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