Seven of the 10 Bayonne Board of Education candidates on the ballot Tuesday gathered at the Catholic War Veterans Post 1612 to go head-to-head in a debate hosted by Hudson County View.
The Thursday evening event, moderated by this reporter, featured a lengthy discussion about school funding – both locally and in Trenton – reaching a new teachers’ contract, tax abatements and much more.
Trustees Mikel Lawandy and Christopher Munoz stated their positions on fighting for the teachers, students and taxpayers, even if that wasn’t always going to be the popular decision to make.
Candidate John Cupo was often critical of the two incumbents, blaming them for the districts multi-million dollar budget shortfall and indicating he would bring financial stability back to the district.
Additionally, newcomer Anthony D’Amico spoke about financial responsibility, vowing to make improvements after the state audit is released. He suggested cutting coaches salaries as one cost-saving initiative.
Another first time candidate, Danny Acosta, stressed that he had no connections to any politicians and that he could help bring a parent’s perspective to the board.
Finally, the two female candidates in attendance, Maria Valado and Sharma Montgomery, both stressed giving teachers a fair, equitable contract that lasts for several years.
Valado, a school teacher in Newark, also said she would hold the board accountable for all financial decisions, while Montgomery said she would love to sit on the committee that helps negotiate the teachers contract.
The debate was sponsored by the Bayonne Initiative, A Plus Graphic Screen Printing and the Bayonne Hispanic Association. A special thanks also to Adam Semanchick and Buss Reports for their help with the video and sound.
Candidates Michael Alonso, Gene Perry and Rev. Dorothy Patterson could not attend Thursday’s forum.
The Bayonne BOE election is tomorrow, November 7th and the polls are open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.