By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Parkinson, who was elected as part of the Mayor Felix Roque-backed “Children First” slate in a crowded 16-person field back in November 2014, is seeking re-election, as is his running mate, David Morel.
“The decision to run for re-election to the West New York BOE is cemented in my desire to represent the citizens of West New York, while I feel my fellow trustees and I have made great strides, it is important to continue our progress,” he said in a statement.
“Coming from a family of educators, being a young educator myself, I believe my input on the board is necessary. Furthermore, as a former valedictorian from Memorial High School, it is important that former students know they have a voice on the board.”
Morel, who was appointed to the board back in May, said at the time “I’m not here to hurt anybody: I want what’s best for the kids and the teachers.”
Expected to join them in what is likely to be the latest incarnation of the Children First ticket, is Juan Carlos Alvarado, who unsuccessfully ran for a two-year term in November 2014. Coincidentally, he was beat out by Parkinson in that race.
Jose Alcantara, a Town Hall employee who also sought the a seat on the board when Morel did, has also thrown his hat into the ring again and previously told Hudson County View he would be running solo.
“I’m doing this for myself. I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this school district when I worked with Frank Ferreiro to make this an elected school district … I would like to help fix issues such as helping reach a fair teachers contract and work on renegotiations with the town on certain shared services agreements,” he said over the phone.
Education activist Melinda Saunders, a rare regular presence at both board of education and board of commissioners meeting in 2016, has also decided to put her name on the ballot this fall – the only female to do so.
“Last year was the first year I had a child in the public school system in West New York. Through my own experience as a new parent of school age kids, I saw numerous gaps and failings within today’s process,” she said in a statement.
“I feel compelled to step up and help increase parent engagement and participation in our school district. In addition, I feel there is a need to create financial transparency, responsibility, and accountability with our school’s administration.”
If elected, Saunders also vowed not to allow her vote to be influenced by the politics of Town Hall.
Ron Scheurle, a local funeral home director who was competitive in last year’s election, as well as John Smith, a Parks and Public Property employee for the town, are two staunch Roque critics who have also entered the fray this time around.
Like Saunders, Smith has previously stuck up for West New York teachers seeking a new contract and has called for politics to be removed from the school board.
Newcomers German Chapin, a local barber, and Alex Navas, a town Department of Public Works employee and the boyfriend of current Trustee Lorena Portillo (who was re-elected last year) are also in the mix.
“I really want West New York’s children to progress, to get the best tools available to them succeed. I want them to have access to better programs, get into universities, the bottom line is I want the best for the kids of West New York,” Navas said over the phone today.
Trustee Silvio Acosta, a former deputy mayor who was appointed to the board, is not seeking re-election.