Jack Butchko, a candidate for a one-year term on the Bayonne Board of Education, called one of his opponents, Denis Wilbeck, “a candidate of corruption” and is demanding he withdraw from the race.
Butchko believes that his experience in government and as a public servant, serving as chief of staff for several United States senators and congressmen will be helpful in improving the current Bayonne BOE.
“The Bayonne BOE can be accomplishing so much more to help all of our students including special needs students and their families even given the financial constraints that our school system is under we can accomplish so much more,” he told Hudson County View.
The candidate says he will also seek long-term contracts for teachers and to do away with Common Core in classrooms.
In this interview Butchko also called on one of his opponents for a one-year term, Denis Wilbeck, to withdraw from the election.
Wilbeck is a retired educator and who has the endorsement of Mayor Jimmy Davis.
Butchko pointed to a 2010 quote from former Bayonne Superintendent of Schools Patricia McGeehan to support his argument.
“Mr. Wilbeck has been disciplined numerous times for engaging in inappropriate political activity on Bayonne Board of Education time,” a letter excerpt says.
Butchko also accused Wilbeck of having a close relationship with former Jersey City Head Start Executive Director Robert Mays, who was arrested by the FBI last week for allegedly stealing at least $200,000 from the agency.
“Wilbeck and this fellow, they have been involved in politics for years. They are thick as thieves and this should not be tolerated by the voters of Bayonne or the Bayonne school system.”
Wilbeck said Butchko was way off base with his accusations, explaining that his references to campaigning at the schools was a simple misunderstanding and that he hasn’t seen Mays in years.
“From 1996 to 1997. I was appointed as assistant principal of Bayonne High School and what I was doing was I sent a notification to the seniors in my class to see if they would pass out literature and assist the candidate’s campaigning for accredited service hours,” Wilbeck said over the phone, adding that he was never a candidate in these instances.
“I apologized [back then] If anyone was misled or if anyone thought it was an inappropriate activity,” but also reiterated this was supposed to be part of accredited service hours, which also included other activities such as volunteering at soup kitchens.
“Robert Mays was a substitue teacher while I was a principal, but he’s not a friend. I haven’t seen him in five years and I have no inkling, no idea, what he was involved in. On my word of honor, I have not seen him in five years and I don’t know what his position is or where he’s working.”
Wilbeck concluded by calling Butchko “desperate,” further stating “he’s bankrupt, he has no ideas and can’t improve the school system. This might be his way of trying to get the edge.”