The “Education Matters” team, the slate backed by the Jersey City Education Association, will once again take on the “Change for Children” contingent in this year’s Jersey City school board race where three, three-year terms are up for grabs.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Jersey City BOE President Lorenzo Richardson, Vice President Gina Verdibello, and Trustee Lekendrick Shaw will be the latest incarnation of the Education Matters ticket.
Verdibello and Shaw both cruised to victory when running for one-year terms last year, are seeking re-election.
As for Change for Children, Asheenia Johnson, a former aide to Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) and Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson, is giving it another go after coming up short last year.
She will be joined by Sonia Cintron, who had a lackluster showing running as an independent back in November, and Karen Poliski – a first time candidate.
Last year’s contest was a particularly contentious race, which was to be expected with five seats on the line – a rarity in school board races.
Trustee Alexander Hamilton, then a first time candidate, successfully sued to get on the ballot after it initially appeared that only four seats would be contested.
In 2019, Hamilton and Noemi Velasquez, of Change for Children, won two of the three-year terms, while Gerald Lyons, of the Education Matters team, claimed the other.
According to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC), last year’s Jersey City BOE race was the most expensive in state history, with $704,885 reported raised and $590,019 spent.
Fairer NJ, a super PAC primarily funded by Jersey City-based developer Lefrak, was the chief financier for Change for Children, while the New Jersey Education Association was the biggest financial benefactor for Education Matters.
Additionally, this time around, there will be no independent candidates, something that has been a rarity in recent years for Jersey City school board races.