2016 New Brunswick School Election Voter Guide

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Voters will be able to cast votes for up to three candidates in the April 19 school board election, as well as decide whether or not to approve the school district's proposed budget.

The voting will be the first of three elections scheduled for the Hub City this year, and only the third time voters will have a choice of candidates since the city switched to an elected school board.

On the ballot will be longtime Board of Education (BOE) members Patricia Sadowski and Benito Ortiz, along with newcomer Jennifer Shukaitis, and challenger Yesenia Medina-Hernandez.

The field was originally set to be larger, with five candidates filing to run.  District officials rejected the petition of one candidate saying that it fell short of the 10 signatures required because some of the signers were not registered to vote.

Most submitted more than the ten required, including Joel Martinez who submitted 12, but saw 6 of them invalidated by the BOE.  Medina-Hernandez made it on the ballot after submitting exactly ten signatures, all of which were deemed valid.

At a recent candidate's forum, only Shukaitis and Medina-Hernandez participated.  Aside from that event, none of the candidates appeared to be using the traditional campaign strategies including advertising, yard signs, public events, or door-to-door outreach.


Voters can vote for up to three candidates in the election, including:

#1A – Jennifer Shukaitis

New York Avenue resident
works at Rutgers University

Shukaitis has served on the Board of Education since 2015, when she was appointed by the other eight board members to replace an elected member who resigned.  She is running for elected office for the first time.

#2A – Patricia Sadowski

Tunison Road resident
works at RWJ hospital

Sadowski was first appointed to the Board of Education by Mayor James Cahill and has served on the board since 1997.  She won an election to keep her seat in 2013, and has served as Board President since 2014.

#3A – Benito Ortiz

Renaissance Lane resident
retired county worker

Ortiz was first appointed to the Board of Education in 1985 by Mayor John Lynch, Jr.  After seven years on the Board, he relocated to North Carolina for four years, before returning to the Hub City and being re-appointed to the BOE by Mayor James Cahill in 2003.  In 2013, he won an election to keep his seat.

#4A – Yesenia Medina-Hernandez

Jersey Avenue resident
works at RWJ Hospital

Medina-Hernandez previously worked for the district's Health Sciences Technology High School and is running for elected office for the first time.

Voters can also write-in their own candidates, using the electronic voting machines or paper ballots.


Voters will also be asked one yes or no question: whether or not to endorse the school district's annual budget, which amounts to $198.6 million this year.  If a majority of voters who decide on the question vote against the budget, it will be subjected to cuts to be made by the city government.  If a majority of voters who vote on the question endorse the budget, it will remain unchanged.

It is not mandatory for voters to decide on the question, so there are three options: Yes, No, and not voting on the question.

To learn more about the budget proposed by the school district, read this New Brunswick Today article.


You must be registered to vote in the City of New Brunswick to cast a ballot in this school board election. If you are not registered, you can still register in time to vote in the next election (the June primary election) if you register by May 7.

Voters can confirm their registration or pin down their polling location at the Division of Elections website or by sending a text message to 877877.

Anyone who goes to a polling station who is denied the right to vote the normal way–with an electronic voting machine contained in a booth–is entitled to vote on a provisional paper ballot which will be counted if your registration is valid.

Polls are open from 7am-9pm, and no one eligible should be denied the right to vote if they are waiting in line at 9pm.

Polling locations are as follows:

  • First Reformed Church, 9 Bayard Street
  • Hungarian Heritage Center, 300 Somerset Street
  • Labor Education Center, 50 Labor Center Way
  • Lincoln School, 66 Bartlett Street
  • Lord Stirling School, 100 Redmond Street
  • New Brunswick Board of Education Gymnasium, 268 Baldwin Street
  • New Brunswick Middle School, 1125 Livingston Avenue
  • Providence Square Senior Housing Complex, 217 Somerset Street
  • Public Works Garage, 400 Jersey Avenue
  • Robeson & Schwartz Community Center, 7 Van Dyke Avenue
  • Roosevelt School, 83 Livingston Avenue
  • Senior Citizens Resource Center, 81 Huntington Street
  • St. Mary of Mt. Virgin Church CYO Gymnasium, 190 Sandford Street
  • Woodrow Wilson Elementary, 133 Tunison Road

Polls close at 9pm.  Please visit NewBrunswickToday.com for up-to-date election results this evening.

Editor at New Brunswick Today | 732-993-9697 | editor@newbrunswicktoday.com

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 was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.