Wanted: More school board candidates in New Jersey
Some New Jersey school boards have seen a shrinking pool of available candidates. School board officials, both locally and at the state level, have been working to reverse the trend.
New Jersey School Boards Association spokeswoman Janet Bamford says some of that draining of the school board candidate pool may have to do with a 2011 law that allowed switching board elections from April to November.
The filing deadline this year for school board candidates was July 31.
"In the middle of July, a lot of people are not thinking about the school year. It is the middle of summer vacation season and it is far enough ahead of when the election takes place. That perhaps that is having an effect on candidates that are filing their nominating petitions."
She says the association holds regional candidates forums "to give candidates kind of a sneak preview of what service on our school boards would be like."
"The first one is Sept. 27 in North Brunswick. We have one in Mountain Lakes, Oct. 3, and we have one in Hammonton for the southern part of the state on Oct. 4. Those are free to all candidates and they can ask questions, they can really get a good overview of what school board service would be like."
What happens if there are fewer candidates than there are board seats in a particular district? Bamford says, "write-in votes are counted, and the individual with the highest number of write in votes is offered the position." Provided they are qualified, of course.
If there is a tie among write-in candidates, even with as little as one vote apiece, a special election is called among the write-in candidates if more than one is eligible and wishes to hold the position.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5
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