NJ School Board Elections: These Holdouts Are Sticking With Spring

NJ Spotlight: Roughly 10 percent of school districts across the state have not moved elections into November.

They have become the holdouts, the handful of New Jersey school districts that have gone against the grain and decided to keep their school elections in April, at least for now, according to a report in NJ Spotlight.

Under a law passed this winter, districts were allowed to move their elections to November as a way to boost voter interest. What started as a trickle quickly became a torrent: 468 districts -- nearly nine in 10 -- have made the move.

The big lure was that those making the switch would not be required to put their annual budgets to the voters, as long as they stayed below the state’s 2 percent property tax cap.

But for a scant handful of districts, just 71 in all, that apparently wasn't enough.

[In Essex County, those holdouts include Belleville, Glen Ridge and Irvington. Bloomfield is on the state's list, but has since reversed its decision and will hold elections in April. South Orange-Maplewood is not on the state's list, but will also hold its election in April. Chatham and Princeton also opted to keep school elections in the spring.

Millburn, meanwhile, is to November. There's been heated debate on the issue raised by members of who have asked the Board of Education to overturn its earlier vote, saying the law itself creates some ethical problems for the board, wherein board members vote to extend their terms.]

So what has kept the holdouts voting in the springtime, this year on April 17?

The reasons varied with each district. Some wanted to ensure that the public could still vote directly on their taxes. Others feared that school elections would be overwhelmed if they had to share a ballot with legislators, governors, and even the president.

And still others said they at least wanted to have more time to think about it, citing the rule that once switched, a district cannot go back for four years.

Read the full story in NJ Spotlight @ Education: NJ School Board Elections

NJ Spotlight is an online news service providing insight and information on issues critical to New Jersey.

Related Links: County-by-County List of School Elections

M OKeef March 05, 2012 at 06:32 PM
The irony! One of Christie's first platforms was to encourage local voters to reject school budgets, 2 years later he disenfranchises those voters.....
Hedley March 05, 2012 at 07:31 PM
How is Christie disenfranchising the voters? He put a tax increase cap in place that makes voting on the budgets largely meaningless. And he gave the school districts the option to opt out of a separate, costly, school board/budget vote for which voters turn out in insignificant amounts anyway.
Anonymous March 05, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Anything that comes out of Trenton is based on bipartisan support. In this case, Democrats voted overwhelmingly in favor of moving elections to November. Politicians from both parties see opportunity in having the "non-partisan" school board elections in the Fall.
M OKeef March 05, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Actually I think Christie/Cerf supported this change to help their expansion of charter schools agenda. The suburban schools effectively blocked charters on the issue of wanting to be able to vote for their approval and the charter budgets as they did with local school budgets. Now that there is no longer a local school budget vote DOE will not have to take into account residents opinions on charters either.
Anonymous March 06, 2012 at 01:42 PM
That's quite a stretch. Don't think the governor was ever going to be on-board about giving local taxpayers the right to turn down a Charter School, and he doesn't need this law to justify his position.


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