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Board of Ed Votes to Move Elections to November

Pro’s and Con’s: Audience Members & Two City Council Members Voice Their Opinions —

PERTH AMBOY – At the February 8, 2012 City Council Meeting Fernando Gonzalez on the advice of Council abstained from voting when it came to changing the Board of Education Election Date to November. Councilmen Bill Petrick and Kenneth Gonzalez voted “no” to change the date to November while Joel Pabon and Kenneth Balut voted “yes”. The resolution was not passed. This put the decision in the hands of the School Board.

At the Februrary 9, 2012 School Board Meeting Dianne Roman, Kurt Rebovich and Mark Carvajal voted “no” to move the elections to November. Rebovich and Carvajal chose to elaborate on the decision. Carvajal stated, “As far as the $35,000 savings is concerned if the elections were moved, I researched other towns who did this. The cost in savings was actually little or next to nothing. By moving the elections to November we are telling the public when to vote and what to vote on. The bottom line is that this was pushed through much too quickly.”

Rebovich read from a prepared statement. “If the Board of Education is going to work together we need to listen to the parents and community. We heard many community members speak. If we are going to work together like we stated at the beginning of this meeting, we would not move the election. I think of the elderly voters who work the polls and need that money to eat and to live. Many of them have reached out to me. They wanted to know if the money is already budgeted this year – why would we move the elections?” Rebovich went on to say, “Money spent on our residents changes hands five times in our community before it leaves. I wasn’t put here to serve the board for my own interest but to serve the people who elected me. The community has told us twice not to move the election.”

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez — November

Although Fernando Gonzalez abstained at the City Council Meeting on this matter, he urged his fellow Council Members to vote “yes” to change the Board of Ed Elections to November. As he did at the Council Meeting, he brought up the $35,000 savings at the Board of Ed Meeting on February 9, 2012. “I believe that you would get between 8000 to 9000 voters to come out compared to the pitiful 700 people who voted at the last Board of Ed Election. Let’s not lose sight of what is important. Our people are smart. We are going to save money and increase voter participation.”

William Petrick

Councilman William Petrick — April

Bill Petrick took the opposite position from Fernando Gonzalez when he spoke at the Council and School Board Meeting. “Let’s not be fixated on numbers. In November you may have a large number of people coming out to vote, but they may not be engaged in voting for School Board Members. Mixing up the School Board with the General Elections is a bad move.”

PTO Community Liaison Jeanette Gonzalez was against moving the School Board Elections to November. “We take these elections seriously and get a good caliber of people who run. The voters will not be able to vote on the budget and there are too many elections that will be going on this November.”

PTO Vice President Donna Stewart states, “ Because we are a minority School District that is why we lack a new High School. Stop playing with our emotions. No one has thought about our children except for three people. There is no follow up when we ask questions. I am hurt with the elections being moved to November.”

Concerned parent Melvinia Knight stated, “A bigger turnout does not mean that they will vote for the Board of Education. The $35,000 savings of moving the election is not going to make much of a difference in my taxes. We should keep the election in April to stay focused on the Board of Ed Issues.”

Resident Reinaldo Aviles had strong opinions about keeping the Board of Ed Elections to April. At the February 8, 2012 Council Meeting he agreed with Mr. Petrick that people don’t always vote in all elections. “If you vote “yes” on moving the School Board Elections you take it out of the hands of the School Board Members. The people should decide on term extensions which is sacred.” He reiterated at the School Board Meeting, “When I voted it was a specific term for the people to serve. You want a sovereignty to the Board of Ed Elections. The Council was divided when they voted. The voters will be confused if you move the School Board Elections to November. I urge the Board Members to vote “no” for this move.”

 

Melvinia Knight — April

Jeanette Gonzalez — April

Ron Mascenik

Greg Diaz

Donna Stewart — April

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