The Jersey City Education Association, the local teachers union, is likely to be running a new slate in the non-partisan November 7th board of education race, with two trustees filing for re-election on their own.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Jersey City Police Det. Dejon Morris, National Career Institute President Dr. George P. Blount, and retired Jersey City teacher Renes Cruz filed to run under the “Education Matters” banner this afternoon, though Cruz submitted four petitions of nomination that were not accepted, the Hudson County Clerk’s Office said.
He will have the opportunity to cure them, though it was not immediately clear if would seek to do so.
“We’re still going to interview everyone like we normally do, we’ll ask everyone to submit their resumes and answer our questionnaire. If Cruz is out, we’ll find another candidate. Times change: it’s a different superintendent, a different board, and you want people who will work together,” JCEA President Ron Greco said.
“George has a career background in technical education, which the district is always talking about bringing back and modernizing … plus he has the time to do it, he’ll be dedicated to it. Dejon Morris, I think it’s good to have a police officer on there, he’s also worked in the schools such as Lincoln High School. Being on the board, he’ll bring a fresh perspective to certain things, especially in this day and age with security.”
Morris, a Democratic committeeman who unsuccessfully ran for the school board in 2013, told HCV that he had three priorities he wants to spearhead if elected.
“I want to talk about three things during this race: that a special needs initiative is in progress, that somebody needs to a forensic audit of the budget to figure out where the funds are going – no one has taken initiative to do that,” said Dejon Morris.
“If residents knew that, they’d feel more comfortable about a $1 billion budget. And number three, I just want to be able to make a difference on the ticket and I think that’s what the teachers union saw. We also want to make sure that teachers have the supplies allotted to them by the district, which is another reason why the forensic audit is important.”
The two trustees who filed for re-election, Lorenzo Richardson, a former board president, and Gina Verdibello, and former board vice president, ran with the JCEA’s backing in 2020 and swept the race running alongside Trustee LeKendrick Shaw.
Shaw said that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election last month, as only HCV reported. Verdibello declined to comment on her potential candidacy, while Richardson could not be immediately reached on his cell phone. They list their slogan as the “Children First Team.”
Three other first time candidates have filed to run independently for the three, three-year terms on the volunteer board up for grabs this fall: Monique K. Andrews, a longtime advocate in the district, “Sam” Sumit Salia, and Janette Scafidi.
Also of note, the “Change for Children” slate that has been battling the JCEA slate since 2019 did not file a trio of candidates this time around.
The Hudson County Clerk’s Office has scheduled the ballot drawings for all November 7th races for August 14th at 3 p.m. at their building, 257 Cornelison Ave., at the press room located on the first floor.