By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Beginning by claiming that Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) school fairness funding formula “is further evidence of how out of touch he is with the realities facing public education in New Jersey,” Thomas says one of his opponents, like the governor, hopes to privatize public schools.
“One of the profiteers from the $200 million Newark public school ‘reform’ fiasco, who heads a network of charter schools in Newark, is one among the 11 candidates for the Jersey City Board of Education this year,” Thomas said in a statement.
“This operator has now turned his predatory sights on the Jersey City school system including its $700 million annual budget. He is financed by Wall Street and wealthy foundations.”
While Thomas did not name the candidate in question by name, it is clear he was attacking Dominique Lee, the CEO of the Newark BRICK Academy Schools.
Lee previously told Hudson County View in en email that the Brick Academy schools are not charter schools. He did not immediately return an email seeking comment to Thomas’ criticisms.
Thomas, who works in finance and has a two-year-old son, then took a thinly-veiled shot at Matt Schapiro, who has previously worked on multiple Parents for Progress campaigns and has now put his name on the ballot for the first time.
“Supporting this profiteer is a one-person cheerleader squad who is also a candidate in this year’s Board of Education election, who trolls Board of Education meetings regularly, an attribute he calls ‘attendance’ as one of this key qualifications as a candidate,” Thomas exclaimed.
“This pom pom waving cheerleader-troll is also involved in a lawsuit with a sitting Board of Education member. Many citizens and community groups believe that this alone disqualifies him from running.”
While Schapiro is not suing Jersey City BOE Trustee Lorenzo Richardson, he filed an ethics complaint with the state Department of Education on June 17, claiming that he acted improperly in trying to appeal the default manner in which Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marcia Lyles received a four-year contract renewal.
“I am disappointed that Sudhan Thomas and the Education Matters ticket chose to begin this campaign, not with ideas to help Jersey City’s students and families, but instead with the gutter politics of personal attacks,” Schapiro said in an email.
“In an unhinged rant worthy of Donald Trump, Mr. Thomas bungles basic facts and hurls vicious insults against an array of unnamed foes. Mr. Thomas’ feverish hyperbole distracts from our efforts to stop Gov. Christie’s toxic plan to defund Jersey City’s schools.”
The candidates who best unify Jersey City will win this election, not those who take a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook. I call on Mayor Fulop and the JCEA to rein in their candidates’ out of control attacks that unwittingly aid Gov. Christie and his allies. I look forward to presenting a positive vision to improve our children’s education.”
Thomas concluded, once again without naming names, that opponents with the ideologies of Lee and Schapiro, are toxic for Jersey City public schools.
“This election is not just about functional issues facing our public school systems, but a battle between two competing sets of values and ideas on the future of our public schools,” he continued.
“One wants to shut and defund our public schools; privatize, ‘charterize,’ ‘voucherize’ and ultimately cannibalize the public school system through a classic vulture capitalism strategy like what played out in Newark. The profiteer and his cheerleading troll espouse this disastrous anti-children’s rights ideology.”
He also stressed that his team, which also includes Gina Verdibello and Angel Valentin, are fighting to strengthen and improve public schools through smart funding.
Muhammed Akil, Mayor Steven Fulop’s disgraced former chief of staff who is now the executive director of the Newark-based Parent Coalition for Excellent Education, is still expected to put together a three-person slate to oppose the JCEA ticket – but no such announcement has been made as of this writing.
As only Hudson County View reported, Fulop unexpectedly made an early endorsement of the JCEA ticket last week and will be hosting a fundraiser for them on September 12.
The Jersey City BOE race, where three trustees will be selected to three-year terms, commences on November 8.
A spokesman for Christie’s office did not immediately return an email seeking comment.