In a letter to the editor, former Jersey City Board of Education President Gerald Lyons explains why the “Children First” team should be elected in the non-partisan November 7th race.
As a former Jersey City Board of Education School Board Trustee and former JC School Board President, I am writing to provide my support of Lorenzo Ricardson 7D, Gina Verdibello 8D, and Monique K. Andrews 9D, for the Jersey City School Board in the upcoming election.
Having served alongside Gina and Lorenzo and attended possibly 100 meetings where Monique came and spoke as an advocate of our public schools, I encourage each of you to consider voting for them on November 7th.
Gina, Lorenzo and I ran together for the school board twice and lost. Although we lost our hard-fought elections, we continued attending meetings along with Monique and fought for our schools from the audience.
Monique and I fought to prevent the school from illegally stopping the videotaping of public comments during school board meetings.
Enlisting lawyers and the ACLU, we proved that this action by the district was illegal and the videotaping of public comments was reinstated.
Gina and Lorenzo fought to have the outdated trailers removed from our school parking lots, to increase transparency from the district, to involve more parents, and took their concerns to Trenton and Washington, DC.
Lorenzo worked hard to obtain the certification of “Master Board Member,” possibly the only board member to ever do so. Gina started a parents’ group that grew successfully into the most highly attended meetings of our district.
Monique and her daughter, Kimonye, organized protests in Journal Square against then former Governor Christie and his relentless attacks on education and our community.
Each of us fought for the needed resources for our lowest performing schools, for problems with overcrowded classrooms, infrastructure, and meals.
Each of us demanded transparency, communication, and accountability. We have each attended well over 100 school board meetings over the past decade.
When voting this November, please consider the candidates who have proven that the success of our public schools are important to them and that they are willing to commit the necessary time to get the job done.
Many people run for the school board. Many lose and are never to be heard from again. Some run for the school board without ever even attending a meeting.
As I have been told by a few former candidates, “It’s a great way of getting your name out there.” Although that might be true, it is not a good reason to run. The only reason to run is to do everything you can to help our schools – our students, our staff, and our families.
Gerald Maurice Lyons
JCBOE school board trustee for nine years