TRENTON, April 20, 2015—Voters in 17 New Jersey school districts will go to the polls tomorrow, April 21, to select members of their local school boards, the New Jersey School Boards Association reported today.
In 16 of the districts, voters will also cast ballots on the local revenue to fund proposed 2015-2016 school budgets. One of these districts, the School District of the Chathams, will present voters with a bond issue referendum to fund facility improvements in addition to a budget question.
The handful of elections taking place on Tuesday is the smallest number for spring school elections on record. Until 2012, all of New Jersey’s school districts with elected boards of education (more than 550) held their annual elections in April. Legislation enacted that year permitted communities to move their school board elections to the General Election date in November. In the districts that did so, the proposed school budget is not placed on the ballot if it is within the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap.
In 2012, 468 school districts moved their elections to November. The number increased to 501 and 515 in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2015, 521 districts will conduct November elections.
Under the 2012 legislation, communities that move their school election to November may switch back to an April election date after four years.
The election of school board members, whether it takes place in April or November, is significant for the community and its education program, according to NJSBA leaders.
“The local board of education represents the community in setting goals and policies that guide public schools and the programs and services they provide. The goal of the board is always to do what’s best for students,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “The board also negotiates collective bargaining agreements with employees, and hires and evaluates the superintendent who leads the district.”
The Annual School Election will take place on April 21 in the following 17 school districts:
Bergen County – Cliffside Park; Fairview; Garfield; Hackensack; Oakland; Palisades Park.
Cumberland County – Bridgeton
Essex County – Irvington, and Newark (a state-operated district with no budget election)
Hudson County – North Bergen and Weehawken
Middlesex County – New Brunswick
Monmouth County – Neptune
Morris County – School District of the Chathams and Riverdale
Passaic County – Passaic and Totowa
Bond Referendum Tuesday, April 21 is one of five dates on which April school election districts can place bond issue questions before the public this year. The only district doing so tomorrow is the School District of the Chathams, in Morris County. Voters will be asked to approve a $24.8 million renovation and alteration project, covering construction at four schools, and improvements to Cougar Field. If approved, the project is eligible for state debt service aid in the amount of $2.9 million.