NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick Today is proud to endorse the grassroots campaign for an elected school board in New Brunswick, which is asking people to vote "YES" on "MUNICIPAL QUESTION – SCHOOL BOARD QUESTION" in today's election.
Based on the unelected school board's refusal to televise their meetings and more actively engage parents and the public, the prolonged use of "warehouse schools" to combat overcrowding, the declining graduation rate that remains by far the worst in the county, and the disingenuous arguments made in favor of maintaining the status quo, we support giving the city's voters the power to elect our school board.
It is no secret that New Brunswick Today stands in opposition to the powers that be in our city. Mayor Cahill's leadership has led to improvements in a few distinct areas, but our city's struggling schools are not on that list. Rather the city's schools are first on the list of problems holding the city back.
Currently the mayor, an incumbent since 1991, appoints the entire school board, and decides who stays and who goes when their terms expire. This system has proven ineffective, as members of the board need not be responsive to anyone but the mayor to keep their positions.
New Brunswick could become far more vibrant economically, academically, and socially, if only our schools were made a priority. However, when they are controlled at the whim of a politician like Jim Cahill, parents, teachers, children, and the schools themselves suffer to other political priorities.
Voting YES on the ballot question, located in the bottom right of the election day ballot, will give New Brunswick's citizens the power to elect the city's school board for the first time.
The graduation rate is 58%, the worst in Middlesex county. It's also the only district in the county that does not have elections. This is not a coincidence. We need the accountability that comes with regular school board elections.
Please support an elected school board because the people deserve a voice, and because the status quo is not creating acceptable outcomes.
Vote YES for an elected school board and vote YES for community control over our city's schools.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.