LETTER: Vote for the ‘Children First’ Jersey City BOE team, former trustee says


In a letter to the editor, former Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Marilyn Roman explains why voters should elect the “Children First” team.

Dear Editor,

As I am sure you are aware, Tuesday, November 7th is Election Day at which time the citizens of New Jersey will go to the polls to vote for county and state officers.

In many communities throughout our state, where there are elected school boards, we will also vote for board members to oversee our local districts.

Here in Hudson County, we will be casting our ballots for members of our local Jersey City school board.

If you have been reading our local paper, you would have come away with a number of observations that single out this part of the ballot as of the utmost importance.

First, you would have concluded that this year’s school budget is more than a billion dollars. It is as much if not more then the Jersey City budget.

A billion + dollars is a great deal of money and used properly it could provide for programs, analysis, methods and supplies which would greatly enhance the education of the students in all grade levels of our district.

Some of the board members were well aware that although we didn’t have that much money in past years, used wisely, with the proper analysis of each students testing and performance, the district could have given our students an excellent education that would prepare them to compete in the job market and more importantly it could have changed their lives for the better. But they didn’t!

Approximately three years ago, the state printed the test results for every individual school in New Jersey and ranked them among their peers.

As an example, Dickinson High School scores showed that only 17% of their students passed the State test; at Ferris High School those passing were only 14%; Lincoln High School had a passing rate of 7% and Snyder showed a passing rate of 5%.

I don’t know how you feel, but it makes me want to cry: had the district done its job properly those results could have and should have been much higher.

While we didn’t have a billion dollar budget three years ago, we did have, if memory serves me well , more than $650 million. That would have been more than enough for those who knew what they were doing.

This year the district didn’t release the State test score results because the scores were lower than in the past which they blamed on the pandemic.

The high school scores which I listed were from before the pandemic so what was the reason then and how much lower could they be now?

The Jersey City Public Schools desperately need to be overhauled and we should be looking for board members who know how the district works and can rally its members to use the power of the purse and its responsibility to oversee the educational status of the district’s schools to get this district moving in a positive direction thereby uplifting the accomplishments of our youth.

The district cannot expect to do the same things every year and expect different and better results.

I know that while board members cannot interfere in the educational programs, they are able to hold the district responsible and accountable for that education and they are ready and willing to do that.

It is for that reason that I am supporting the CHILDREN FIRST TEAM Lorenzo Richardson 7D Gina Verdibello 8D Monique Andrews 9D.

Because Lorenzo and Gina have been hard working members of the board for seven and five years, respectively, and have helped to contribute to the information that the board has often needed concerning the budget, purchasing and parent concerns among other things they are very much needed to work with the newer members.

Monique has been a parent who has attended most of the Board meetings for at least 15+ years as a advocate for our children; she will be an excellent addition to the Board.

All three of these candidates have a strong and long institutional memory regarding board matters and history.

They can hit the ground running to share their knowledge and commitment to our teachers, parents and students. For the good of the children, please consider them for your vote.

Marilyn Roman
Former JCPS Board Member

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  1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful letter. Coming from you, a seasoned educator and veteran board of education, this endorsement holds weight.

    Our children’s education should not be politicized or used to amass power and fudiciary control. $1 Billion is a lot of money and can make a hugh impact if put to proper use.

    There are some running for school board positions who are not necessarily interested in what is best for our students. They are endorsed by power brokers who seek to leverage the budget for political gain and favors. They come with the backing of well-financed political machines with their own agenda — an agenda that will leave our children with crumbs.

    Thankfully, Lorenzo, Gina and Monique are running, against all odds, to put our children first. I have witnessed their relentless commitment over 15 years, advocating for our children from the audience seats at every monthly board meeting and later, from behind the lectern as board members. Lorenzo, a CPA and fiduciary, is uniquely equipped to keep a watchful eye over the $1billion budget. Monique is outspoken, scrutinizing and always prepared to work hard, having refined herself over years as an unapologetic advocate for our children. And Gina has continued to serve as a voice for parents when others have sought to minimize parent involvement in the district.

    The difference between Lorenzo, Gina and Monique and the other candidates is night and day. There simply is no team better prepared with a proven track record of results, advocacy and action on behalf of the children of Jersey City Public Schools. While others have come and gone over the years, Lorenzo, Gina and Monique have remained steadfast and consistent. Just Google them and you’ll see individuals with a proven track record.

    I know I can trust them to do what’s best for the future of Jersey City Public Schools. Join me and thousands of well-informed voters to elect Lorenzo, Gina and Monique — The Children First Team — to the Jersey City Board of Education.