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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mayor Mapp throws down gauntlet to Plainfield Board of Ed

Dr. Caryn Cooper (l.) and Dr. Inez Durham at Tuesday's Board of Ed
meeting. Dr. Cooper will become Acting Superintendent July 1.
(Photo courtesy Plainfield Education Association, via Facebook.)

The clock was approaching 9:30 PM when Plainfield Board of Ed president Emily Morgan announced that the next two members of the public at the microphone would be the last to speak in "Privilege of the floor."

When the young woman who was last got to the mike, she asked the Board to yield  her time so that Mayor Adrian O. Mapp could speak.

Taking the floor, the Mayor noted that Dr. Debra Sheard, who was made Acting Superintendent when Anna Belin Pyles agreed to step aside, was "a breath of fresh air" and, among other things, had begun to actively engage the community -- something he felt should be encouraged, not discouraged.

Mayor Mapp noted that as he campaigned door-to-door in the recent mayoral primary, residents all over town would ask "When are you going to do something about the school system?"

Noting that he does not have any legal authority over the Board of Ed, he said he nevertheless has worked over the past 18 months to identify individuals he believed would "do a good job" as Board members. (With Mayor Mapp's help, newest members Lynn Anderson, Dorien Hurtt (now VP), and Carmencita Pile were elected.)

But, he continued, he has been very disappointed over recent months and weeks to see the Board shift its position on Dr. Sheard -- whom the Board had welcomed with open arms last October -- to the point that it would not even "at a minimum" extend her contract as Assistant Superintendent of Schools.

Then he threw down the gauntlet:  "It is important for me to support candidates who are supportive of people like Dr. Sheard", pointedly reminding the Board there is an election in November in which three seats will be at stake.

As he closed his remarks, the room erupted in thunderous applause.

In other business, the Board voted to appoint Dr. Caryn Cooper, principal of Cook School, as Acting Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1. The next step in the process of finding a new Superintendent will be to name an Interim Superintendent of Schools.

Regarding the 2017 School Board elections, which take place at the same time as the November General Election, the deadline for filing a 2017 candidate petition is Monday, July 31, according to the NJ School Boards Association website (see here). Petitions must be turned in to the County Clerk's office no later than 4:00 PM that date.

The Plainfield Board of Ed is composed of nine elected members. They serve three-year terms, with three up for election each year. Those whose terms end in 2017 are: Terrence Bellamy, Carletta Jeffers, and David Rutherford.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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