It's election day, not just for state and municipal offices, but for school districts across the Garden State.

"In 530 New Jersey school districts, which is the vast majority of school districts in the state,1,590 positions are open," Janet Bamford of the New Jersey School Boards Association, said. "There is slightly over 2,000 candidates who filed petitions for those school board positions."

She says the ratio of candidates to school board seats is about 1.29 candidates for every available seat — exactly the same as it was last year.

"These are unpaid volunteers who put in a lot of time. I can hardly think of anything that affects our future as much as our public school systems. So these are vitally important elections," Bamford said.

"In 2011, it was the last year in which all school board elections were held in April. Since then, most elections have moved the November general election."

A few districts also have ballot questions to ask voters for spending beyond the 2 percent property tax cap for such things as athletics or technology upgrades.

"There are also 2 boards who are holding referendums, construction referendums. One involved a roof replacement, and other is renovations and upgrades," she said. "This is one of five elections, five dates during the year when a school district can go out to the public and ask for the public to vote for a referendum to support school construction."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5.

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