Keep School Elections in April

Citizens for Quality Education strongly supports keeping the school board election in April, rather than moving it to November. The organization believes that Metuchen residents should not have to give up their right to vote for the school budget. In addition, if the date of the election is moved to November, our local education issues would vie with political issues for the public’s attention and would appear to be less important.

Last year, the State gave school districts the option to move the traditional April election date to the November political election date, and thereby eliminate the public’s vote for the budget. However,once moved, the law states that districts must keep the November date for at least 4 years.There is only limited data available on the results of the move from other districts that voted for the first time for their school boards in November of 2012. Therefore CQE believes that changing the date of the election at this time would be premature.

At their Wednesday, January 23 Board of Education meeting, an ad hoc committee presented a slideshow of the pros and cons of moving the election date, which can be viewed atwww.metuchenschools.org (on the left, under “Announcements”). Seven members of the Board of Education and several members of the public stated their opinions.  Among the BoE, there was no consensus, with 4 members wanting to keep the April date, 3 members wanting to move the election to November, and 2 members not stating an opinion.  Please follow the issue by going to: http://metuchennj.org/METV/METV-VOD.html and selecting the “Board of Education Meeting Jan. 23, 2013.”  The discussion begins at about 14:00 minutes into the meeting and ends at about 88:00 minutes.

From listening to the many speakers at the meeting, it is apparent that there are far-reaching implications to moving the date of the election. CQE believes that such an important change should be made with caution and consensus.

Please review the meeting and write to the members of the Board of Education at your earliest convenience to let them know that the election date should remain in April and separate from the political election.  A simple one sentence email with your opinion is all that is needed. It is most effective if you address your message to every Board member by writing their addresses in the “To” line.  Contact information can be found at www.metuchenschools.org; click on “Our District” and then “Board of Education.” Please feel free to forward this message to interested parties.