Kim Gaddy Picks Up Key Endorsement In School Board Race

Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Cheneyfield Jenkins says "I trust Kim Gaddy with our children's future".

With just seven days to go before Newarkers head to the polls to choose the next 3 candidates to serve them and their children on Newark’s Public School Advisory Board, a new mailer has landed in voter’s mailboxes.

This mailer features the endorsement of Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins and conspicuously displays the Councilwoman smiling (thumbs up) and seemingly proud of the choice she’s made.

We asked Councilwoman Chaneyfield Jenkins about her choice to endorse only one candidate in this field of 12 contenders and this is what she said:


There are 12 Candidates vying for three seats on the SAB, why have you endorsed Kim Gaddy?

Kim Gaddy has previously served on the school board, so she has the experience and knowledge required to hit the ground running. We are fortunate that she wants to serve again. She understands that you have to be fair and include parents in the process. She has a child in Newark Public Schools and she is a graduate of the system, so she brings an intimate understanding of the district. She has the right temperament and sensitivity to understand the needs of parents and students. She is also extremely knowledgeable about environmental issues, which will be helpful as the board grapples with how to address elevated levels in the drinking water.




Have you endorsed or supported any of the others?

I support candidates who are looking for ways to bridge the educational gap that exists in Newark and who are looking to bring about sustainable, positive and effective change in education in the city. I have also given financial support to some of the other candidates running.


What impact are you hoping Kim will have on Newark's troubled school district?

I'm hoping she will bring about more open conversations, transparency, fairness and support of all of our families regardless of where their children attend school. They are all our children in Newark.


Picking sides between Public Charter schools and Traditional Public schools is like claiming to a Hatfield or a McCoy. Which are you?

I'm not picking sides. We cannot have a Hatfields and McCoy situation in Newark. Both sides have to coexist. We cannot be pitted against one another. I represent families who have children in both traditional schools and public charter schools. I support a parent’s choice, whether they choose a private school, a traditional public school or a public charter school. Why would we not want all our children to have access to schools that can provide them with a pathway to college and a successful career? Since the majority of public charter schools were open and in operation in the Central Ward prior to be becoming the Central Ward councilwoman, I cannot now disregard a parents’ decision to chose a charter school. It would be like telling a woman what she can do with her body. Choice is choice. The real issue that’s dividing our city is the underfunding of public schools. We must come to a resolution at the state level about making sure all schools are properly funded.


Do you think Newark is ready for Local Control? If yes… how will local control ensure a quality education for Newark students?

Newark has been ready for local control for more than two decades. The state has done an abysmal job in ensuring all of our children receive a quality education. The state should have never taken over the school district.  Local control will ensure the parents have input and insure that the education standards are raised back to the days of when children could graduate from any school in Newark, attend college and be productive citizens.


How does Newark abate the water contamination issue

In addition to replacing water fountains, we need to ensure the water filters installed years ago to address elevated lead levels in the water are changed on regular basis, as was the practice under Superintendents Marion Bolden and Clifford Janey. This practice was abandoned under Superintendent Cami Anderson and we have to make sure changing filters remains a top priority to ensure the safety of our children. We also have to look at the older buildings make sure there's no lead paint in those schools because that's the biggest source of lead poisoning for our children. We also have to call on our federal representatives to allocate dollars that can be used to help the city remove pipes with lead and address this issue once and for all.


Where do you stand on a Charter School Moratorium? Do you support the expansion of Charter Schools with proven academic success like North Star Academy?

As I said previously, the real issue is the underfunding of public schools. This is the issue that’s dividing our community and fuels the flames of anger between those in traditional and charter schools. First and foremost, we need to ensure our state legislators fight to fund our public schools as required under the law. The state has to stop playing games. Every year, Newark schools get shortchanged and that has to stop. I support funding all schools mandated by the New Jersey Supreme Court decision that found urban schools are not being funded the same level as the suburban schools. I believe that the schools should have smaller classroom sizes and our Children should be prepared to compete globally. At the same time, schools that are failing our children – whether charter or traditional – should not remain open.

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