Share |

Unity Square to Host Bilingual Debate for Upcoming School Board Election

All Candidates Invited to Debate Fives Days Before Voters Decide on April 16
Board of Ed Building
The New Brunswick Board of Education offices are currently at 268 Baldwin Street. Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Six candidates seeking election to three seats on the city's board of education will be given the chance to debate one another on April 11, thanks to the efforts of Unity Square, a Catholic Charities initiative based out of the Sacred Heart Church at 81 Throop Av.

The director of the organization asked all six candidates to save the date on the evening of Thursday April 11, "for a bilingual candidates’ forum at a site TBD in the Unity Square neighborhood."

Unity Square is described by the organization as a 37-block area, mostly in the city's second ward, that is bounded by George St., Commercial Av., Sandford St., and Livingston Av.

"The forum details are still being determined, but we will be following best practices from the League of Women Voters, and placing great importance on having English-Spanish translation in order to facilitate inclusive community participation," said Jason Rowe, the new director of Unity Square.

Incumbents John Krenos, Benito Ortiz, and Patricia Sadowski are campaigning to return to their seats on the board, which consisted entirely of mayor-appointed members before voters switched to an elected school board last November.

"We are running as a group," Krenos told NewBrunswickToday.com via email.

"I feel that the contributions we made over the last few years are too important to not continue."

Also running as a group are three city residents concerned with the performance of the school system, including former board member Martin Arocho, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the board in January.

This time, Arocho is joined in a coalition with two other challengers: Stephanie Rivera, a Rutgers student who volunteers in the city's school system, and Sean Monahan, a two-term Democratic Committeman who co-founded this newspaper in 2011.

"We have similar visions on bringing more transparency and accountability to the board and bringing in more community involvement," Rivera said of her running mates in the March 14 edition of the Star-Ledger.