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Marlboro BOE Moves Board Elections to November

The decision came from what the district called poor voter turnout in the last school board election.

The joined the political ticket after a vote in August pushed its school board elections to November.

The , after Gov. Chris Christie gave boards across the state the chance to change its voting date from April to November in order to consolidate costs and create shared services between local and state government and school boards.

, unless the district proposes a budget which exceeds the state 2 percent cap.

The original February vote ended in a 4-4 tie, and a school board election was held months later, . Of the more than 25,000 eligible voters in Marlboro, 2,068 people voted.

Board member Bonnie Sue Rosenwald, who originally voted to move the election, said the voter turnout numbers were a sign that the district was wasting money on a separate election.

“This, by far, was the most dismal turnout ever in the history of the school board election,” she said.

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Rosenwald said that despite a large amount of discussion in the media and around town, residents did not respond by acting.

"I said to people 'If you want the board to listen, use your finger and come out and vote...show us that you really don't want us to move this election by coming out and voting."

Business Administrator Cindy Barr-Rague said in February that the Board of Education saves almost $50,000 per year by moving the election, costs which are earmarked for election practicalities such as polling booths and proper public notice.

Marlboro Township was left holding the bill this April, after sharing the costs with the Freehold Regional High School District came off the table when .

But some board members fear politicizing an election that should stay far away from the political world.

Member Cynthia Green said she is worried that voters turning up for a general election vote will not already know anything about school issues.

"You can have 10,000 people come out in November, and maybe not one of them knows anything about the schools," Green said. "I want people who come because they are interested in the schools, that know about the schools. Not because they are coming to vote a particular slate of political candidates."

Board Vice-President Victoria Dean said that the most recent April election was already political, with robo-calls to residents from Mayor Jon Hornik endorsing candidates and township mailers.

"We have 5,600 students, not even half of their parents came out," Dean said. "It's not just the money issue, I don't think we're giving the voters enough credit, [we can't assume] that they will come out in November and they aren't going to be informed."

The vote to move the election to November was an 8 to 1 vote, with board member Joseph Waldman voting against the move, saying he doesn't feel right about taking the school budget vote away from the public.

“I don’t think it’s right to take that (budget) vote away from them...This is the only piece of their tax dollars that they have an actual say in,” he said. 

Moving the school board election lengthens the term of members by 7 months.

Kaitlyn Anness September 05, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Anonymous, I apologize, that quote (which I will clarify in the article) was misunderstood. Mrs. Dean was saying that it is wrong to assume voters will not be informed--the last part of her quote was her disagreeing with the sentiment that voters will not be informed.
anonymous September 05, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Thank you for the clarification. However, I am still resentful my little voice--whatever little I can say in government--has been taken away regarding 60% of my total tax bill. I will remember in November.
cynicinmarlboro September 06, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Funny how one member who was just recently re-elected after littering the streets with her signs in violation of township policy seems to be the most outspoken proponent - at least in this article. Yes, she has always wanted to change it but perhaps more should have been written on why it was not unanimous, Mr. Waldman is right in not wanting the public to be eliminated from the equation. When 60% of my taxes is used for education, we should have a say. When that burden is removed from the homeowners then they could eliminate my vote. Mr. Waldman also was afraid the district would budget to the cap (said at the first vote) and although that did not happen this year, no one knows what to expect in the future - especially with a new superintendent they will be looking for this year.
Michael Mirkin September 19, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I have only one thing to say to the board president, shame on you for putting this back on the agenda before the board for a vote when this issue was voted on and defeated earlier this year. This was done at the height of the summer when most folks are out of town and could not object to this insanity. When this came up earlier in the year a few of the board members were worried that the school elections are now going to get politicized, and should remain where they are now. Some were concerned that there is not enough township participation when budget or board seats are up for vote/election. here is my take on this; 1. This whole election date move is a political exercise to give UFT more leverage in the districts during the budget season. (cont'd)
Michael Mirkin September 19, 2012 at 02:56 PM
(cont'd) This was a dumb giveaway by the governor to get union approval for his education reform. In the end this will cost us a lot more than $50K in the end. When I objected to the election move a recently reelected board member told me that I should put my faith in the board to do the right thing during the budget process. Faith, it is a pretty strong statement. How can I or anyone else in this town have faith when the board employs back room tactics like voting on this enormously important change without considerable public notice. 2. This is why the election and budget vote turnouts are so low b/c no one trusts the board and folks feel that despite demonstrating a voice of opposition to the continuing stupidity and kludge politics things will never change. I applaud Mr. Waldman for having the chutzpah to stand on his own and voice reasonable thought for keeping the election as is.

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