The Bayonne Board of Education election on November 8 boasts a crowded field this time around, with 12 candidates, including three incumbents, seeking four seats on the board.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Trustees Mary Jane Desmond, Carol Cruden and Dennis Wilbeck, the vice president of the board, are all seeking re-election – specifically for three-year terms this time around.
Desmond, a former councilwoman, just missed being elected to the board last November, the first Bayonne BOE election in 35 years, but along with Cruden, ended up being appointed to the board in February.
In an interview with Hudson County View back in October, Desmond took a firm stance on the PARCC test, stating that it should be “left in the hands of educators, not legislators.”
She also recently took a stand against Superintendent of Schools Patricia McGeehan when she tried to evict the local Police Athletic League (PAL), which has since been rescinded and after the controversy, McGeehan was notified her contract will not be renewed after this upcoming school year.
Wilbeck, who won a one-year term last year, was also supportive of the PAL when they were potentially facing the eviction. If re-elected, he would likely be a top candidate for board president in 2017.
There are six other candidates challenging the incumbents for a three-year term.
Michael Alonso, a perennial local candidate whose name is on the recall petition of Mayor Jimmy Davis, Gina Irizarry, a Jersey City English teacher who came up short in last year’s race and former council candidate John Milan Sebik.
Newcomers Leonard Cantor, a retired police officer who is often critical of the Davis administration, Sharma Montgomery and George Vinc, Jr. are also in the mix.
Regardless of the outcomes of the three-year term races, there will be at least one new trustee sitting on the board in January.
A two-year term is also up for grabs, specifically Barry Kushnir’s seat. He ran with Davis’ support last year and lost, but was appointed to the board in March – coincidentally replacing running mate Chris Piechocki.
However, he will not be seeking re-election this fall. Replacing him will be either John Cupo, Charles Ryan or Maria Valado.
Cupo also ran unsuccessfully last year, stating in an October interview that the school district $120 million budget needs to be balanced more efficiently.