New Brunswick's new Board of Education members met the public on Tuesday night at their first public meeting.
Diana Fajardo and Ronald Hush are the first board of education members to be elected through public vote in New Brunswick. Their seats were added to the board following the results of a November election that converted the board of education from appointed to elected.
Fajardo and Hush both thanked the public for voting them into office. Fajardo thanked her family for support, while Hush said he would work to the best of his ability serve the children in the school district.
"You're a party of history," board attorney George Hendricks said to the two new board members.
The meeting was mostly quiet until the public comment portion of the meeting, when city residents asked heated questions about the results of the election and what the district is doing to let the public know of the upcoming board election in April.
Resident Marge Kerber demanded to know what the district would be doing to let the public know of the upcoming board election on April 16, in which three board seats will open.
Hendricks said that all voters in town will receive a sample ballot with the names of candidates on them, and said it is "Not our job" to spend money on public relations over education.
Kerber said the district was "disenfranchising voters" by not putting more information out to the public about how to run for a board seat.
Only placing required legal notices about the election in the newspaper is not enough, she said.
Resident Charlie Kratovil, who operates the website New Brunswick Today, wanted to know more about the deadline to submit petitions to run in last month's special school board election.
Fajardo and Hush submitted their petitions to run on Monday, Dec. 24, while the other four petitioners for the election submitted their applications by Dec. 21.
This website reported in January that the deadline to submit petitions to run was Dec. 21 based on conversations at a Dec. 18 board meeting that made no mention of the Monday deadline.
Hendricks said that the county made an error in publicizing the deadline as Dec. 21. It was always Dec. 24, he said, making the petitions submitted by Fajardo and Hush submitted within the proper time limit.
Hendricks said the election was "fair" and that no advantage was given to any candidates.
Board president Edward Spencer abruptly ended the public comment portion of the meeting after about 25 minutes of questions, so the board could go into closed session to discuss personnel and student matters.