The needler in the haystack.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Council could beat Plainfield Board of Ed to punch in move to November election

City Council could beat the Plainfield Board of Ed to punch in moving the District to November school board elections, which are allowed by a recently-signed new law.

Gov. Christie signed the bill (S-3148, see online here) into law on January 17, after it was passed by both houses of the Legislature during the lame duck session. The bill's signing was covered prominently by both the Ledger (see here) and NJ Spotlight (see here).

The law provides for the elections to be moved to the date of the November general election if the District's budget will not exceed the state's 2% increase cap. The commitment is for an initial four years.

Though the districts will have to enter an agreement with their respective counties to take up the extra expense to the county involved in managing the election process, it is sure to be less than a district spends on running its own standalone election. In Plainfield, turnouts can be lower than 1,000 voters, which makes a school board election pricey indeed.

In December, Maria alerted folks that the bill was going to be under consideration in the 'lame duck' session of the Legislature (see her post here), and last week I posed the question whether the Plainfield Board of Ed would be considering moving the election date (see my post here).

The Board of Ed subsequently scheduled a special meeting for January 24, advertising it on the District's website (see the agenda here, note there is no mention of changing the election date).

Wednesday afternoon I received notice of the NJ Department of Education's FAQ on the process of switching election dates, which can be done by a simple resolution of the Board of Education or the municipal governing body (the Plainfield City Council). You can see the FAQ, which includes a sample resolution for adoption, online here.

I wrote to Board of Ed President Renata Hernandez in an email yesterday, inquiring whether and when the board might be taking up discussion of the changes, to which she replied within a few minutes --

Mr. Damon - as was shared at the Special Meeting held this past Tuesday, a discussion concerning the subject matter noted herein will take place in public at the next scheduled board meeting 2/14; within the recently communicated deadline shared today via NJSB announcements.
I must admit I do not recall it being mentioned, but I did not stay to the bitter end, thinking the presentation on 'reconfiguring' the schools was the important item and the rest were of a routine nature. (It is strange it would be discussed at all at a special meeting, as the law is quite clear that items not advertised cannot be brought up.)

There are some who think the Grand SLAM team's support for changing the election date is lukewarm at best, since it would guarantee a much larger turnout, thus making it harder to win the four seats that will be up. This year will no doubt be marked by an enormous Plainfield turnout as President Obama's re-election will be on the ballot.

But it just
might not be the Grand SLAM team's call, as the City Council can pass the needed resolution before the Board of Ed even meets on the 14th. This was pointed out by Assemblyman Jerry Green in a post on his blog yesterday afternoon (see here).

The Council's agenda session is slated for February 6, and a resolution could be adopted at the business meeting on February 13, in time for the deadline notice to the County of February 17.

Plainfield residents who have been frustrated by the statutory 'Chinese wall' between the City Council and the Board of Ed may have a chance to see the Council weigh in decisively for once on a matter of concern to the taxpayers.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I really hope the Council will take this into consideration. The STRIKE-OUT team needs to go. Did you see the LEGAL bills? WOW they really took Plainfield as a joke when they ran for election. Some of us in Plainfield knew they wouldd get there and make the Plainfield School Districk worst than it was. Plainfield please come out and VOTE them out.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the council does jump the gun. The BOE has consistently shown that it cannot do anything that is pro-student (Which makes me laugh - if i hear how Plainfield loves their children one more time - and seeing how we are failing them in education - I am going to scream).

Also, if this election is bundled with the November election - maybe more people will vote for BOE members, and we have a chance of having a real governing body who cares about kids.

olddoc said...

Your comment in Clips gives a false impression that my blog today was about the present BOE is I consider misleading. I thought my emphasis was about changing the date of the BOE elections to November. My remarks about the present BOE were intended to emphasis the need for as greater public participation in selecting the BOE membership. I think it a fortuitous coincidence that we both focused on the same public need on the same day.

Alan Goldstein said...

I love how Jerry Green writes in his blog post, "For the record, I stay away from the Board of Education issues, so I am not blamed." Yet some how, some way, he gets the BOE's auditors and architects to pay regularly into his campaign war chest.

And speaking of campaign loot, I see Adrian Mapp got his infusion from Remington & Vernick before the new full-of-holes pay-to-play legislation must have gone into effect.

Does money buy happiness? It hasn't bought us better government that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Taken from post 4274 on plainfield communty website ----- If this is true this town might as well close its doors.

The tardy lines run deep as "de nile". As a rule many students avoided first period. The tardy line was 350 deep on many days. The Superintendent and many central administrators were very aware of this. We never got the tardy line under control this year. Attendance for many is abysmal. Credit recovery does not address the problem. It encourages absenteeism and tardiness.

Anonymous said...

I think the New Democrats are sore that they lost all thier seats on the BOE after they supported the shame-shame-shame super. Now they want revenge.

Dan said...

@ 7:16 PM -- You gotta stop chewing on that dishrag, it's making you dyspeptic.

Anonymous said...

Alan, If you look at every person who has a chance of winning, my suspicion is that R & V has contributed to them all. They are an equal opportunity "cover all bases to keep getting contracts" company.

Anonymous said...

This is all about Jerry Green having control over the BOE. it's not enough for him to have total control over Sharon, the council, PUMA and the city. He won’t be happy until he controls the BOE as well and WE all know this to be true.

Jerry could care less about Plainfield school children. However, He does care about controlling the school budget. When he says he has nothing to do with the BOE, remember he was the creator, supporter and the main reason why Abdul Hagg was removed from the board. Jerry really needs to sit back and focus more on his family.