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Petitions Due for New Brunswick Board of Education

A special election is to be held on Jan. 22 to elect two citizens to the board of education to fill two newly-formed seats.

Anyone wishing to run for one of two new seats on the New Brunswick Board of Education has until 4 p.m. today, Friday, Dec. 21 to submit a petition to run in a special election on Jan. 22.

In November, a municipal question to move from an appointed board to an elected one passed by 98 votes.

A special election will be held on Jan. 22 to add two seats to the board to bring the total number of members up to nine. The two candidates who are voted in through the Jan. 22 election will be the first elected board of education members in New Brunswick in more than 20 years.

If the change to the school board happens more than 130 days away from the November school board elections, the district must then, by law, hold a special election on the next special election date, said New Jersey School Boards Association spokesman Mike Yaple.

This process is spelled out in statute 18A:9-11, "Type II districts; terms of additional board members": 

"If the membership of the board in any such district so becoming a type II district is less than nine, it shall be increased to nine by the election of added members at the next annual school election, unless the adopting election shall have been held more than 130 days or less than 60 days before the date fixed for such annual school election, in which case they shall be elected at a special school election which shall be called by the members of the board so holding over."

The district must also, by law provide written notice of the election to the municipal clerk and the county board of elections, Yaple said. The notification must be submitted no less than 60 days before the election, he said.

At the Dec. 18 New Brunswick Board of Education meeting, a public question was raised as to whether New Brunswick adequately met the 60 day public notification of the election. In order to meet the deadline, the district would have to have given notice by the end of November.

Board Attorney George Hendricks said the district acted on advice provided by an attorney retained to assist with the matter of the elected board, and said that the district believes it is in compliance with the law. Hendricks did not disclose the date upon which the district submitted its notification to the county.

Board secretary Richard Jannarone and Superintendent Richard Kaplan did not return requests for comment on Thursday.

A public notice ran on page B4 in the Dec. 13 edition of the Home News Tribune, announcing the acceptance of petitions, Jannarone said, at the meeting.

There are 19 mayor-appointed school boards remaining in New Jersey, out of 586 districts, according to the School Boards Association. None of these boards are in Middlesex County.

An additional 25 school boards are appointed by county freeholders in New Jersey, primarily at vo-tech school systems, including Middlesex County Vocational Technical Schools, according to the School Boards Association.

The remaining seven board of education seats will be filled through an election process as the terms of the sitting appointed members expire. The first terms to expire are those of board Vice President Patricia Sadowski, and board members John Krenos and Benito Ortiz, all in May 2013.

Anyone wishing to run for one of the two open board seats must drop off their petition by 4 p.m. Friday at the office of County Clerk Elaine Flynn, 75 Bayard St.

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