Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, January 11, 2016

Council takes up BOE election date tonight as public questions reason for move to April

A move to April would drastically reduce voter turnout,
and classroom funding would be raided to cover the costs.

Plainfield City Council will take up a resolution tonight to move the Board of Ed elections back to November, after the school board voted November 10 in an unpublicized move to hold them in April.

Tonight's agenda is online here, and the resolution in question can be found here.

Residents have questioned the move to April and the way in which it was done. Plainfield appears to be the only school district in the state to have made such a move.

Plainfield Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh has calculated the cost to the Plainfield school district to be at least $100,000 per year for the move, since the entire cost of the election must be borne by the Plainfield district. (These costs used to be shared with all the other districts when elections were in April; now the entire cost burden will fall on Plainfield for being the only district with an April election.)

The cash-strapped school district will have to find the money by taking it away from educating the children. What justifies that?

Secondly, an April election will drastically reduce the number of voters who participate. Consider this: for the four November elections (2012-15) a total of 44,706 votes were cast for 3-year board seats; from 2005-2008, when elections were in April, the total was 16,788. So, how would reducing the turnout by 60% be "progressive"?

The public is right to question if this is a move to disenfranchise voters.

Will Board of Ed president Wilma Campbell show up to defend the Board's action to move the election to April?

City Council's agenda-setting session gets under way at 7:30 PM tonight in the Council Chambers / Courthouse, Watchung Avenue at East 4th Street. Members of the public may comment on this resolution and other items on the agenda before the Council takes any action.

(NOTE: Board of Ed member David Rutherford has posted a defense of the board's action on his blog today -- see here.)

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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