Incumbents Hint They'll File for Verona, Cedar Grove BOE races
June 5 deadline approaching for terms on respective school boards.
School board candidates in Verona and Cedar Grove have a matter of days to enter the fall election, and so far only the incumbents have said they plan to run.
Two seats are up on the five-member school boards of each town. However, as of Wednesday, no one had filed the necessary paperwork with Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin’s office, his office reported. The filing deadline is June 5 at 4 p.m.
In Cedar Grove, board president Frank Mandala Jr. and board member Laura Marinelli said this week that they would be running for re-election.
Mandala, seeking his third three-year term, said Wednesday he felt there was more he wanted to accomplish — such as continuing facility upgrades at the district’s schools.
Marinelli, seeking her second term, feels the district is going in the right direction. Asked if she would be surprised if she ran unopposed, she answered: “Not really. We’ve had such a really great last couple of years.”
Meanwhile, in Verona, incumbents John Quattrocchi and Joseph Bellino said this week they also intend to run again. Each man is seeking a fourth, three-year term.
In a phone interview, Quattrocchi described himself Wednesday as still having “juice in the batteries.” In another term, he said one of his goals would be to work on the next five-year strategic plan for the district.
The pre-election discussion comes with both school boards at different stages of trying to reach new contract with their teacher unions.
Cedar Grove and its union are at impasse, although Mandala said he felt the district’s offer to the union was “very fair.” The old contract expired in June 2011. The parties are scheduled to have a mediation session June 18, he said.
In Verona, the teachers contract does not expire until June 30. Quattrocchi said he was “optimistic” about reaching a deal with the union, also noting, in his words, the two sides have a “very healthy relationship.”
Voters will go to the polls Nov.6.
Verona and Cedar Grove are among the 468 school districts in the state whose board of education elections moved from April to November following a new law signed by Gov. Chris Christie in January. The law allowed school boards or municipal governing bodies the right to make the election date change. For the Christie administration, the aim was to eliminate the costs districts incur for having the election and also increase voter participation.
The new law also says districts do not have to put their budgets on the ballot for voter approval, so long as the spending plans are at or below the state-mandated cap, Deputy Executive Director of the New Jersey School Boards Association Frank Bellucscio III said recently.
Information about running for school board can be found here.