With a month to go before the November 8 West New York Board of Education race, the Save Our Schools team has emerged to challenge the Mayor Felix Roque-backed Children First slate.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“I am running to help the children and WNYEA members. Not the local politicians,” Ron Scheurle, a local funeral home director, said in a statement.
In a news release, the SOS team said they firmly believes that there is a need to create a much safer environment for the children and West New York Education Association members.
“Having worked in the private sector for years, I have seen first-hand how vitally important the financials are. At the moment our school employees have their hands tied â€“ not speaking up in fear since they do not have a contract and they are not being given the tools they need to succeed,” Melinda Saunders, a supply chain manager and mother of two, said in the same statement.
“Although they have shown incredible dignity, we need to let our teachers get back to teaching.”
The West New York teachers have been without a contract for 15 months and although another negotiation meeting is scheduled for October 12, it appears unlikely an agreement will be reached before the election.
Following the results of recent water tests, the slate is also pushing for independent third party inspections of not only the water, but also mold and asbestos in the school buildings.
“It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. We keep hearing from parents that they are unaware these meetings exist. The more parental involvement we have, the better it is for West New Yorkâ€™s children and the WNYEA,” added Alex Navas, a Town Hall employee and the president of a local Salvadorian community organization.
“The other main focus of the SOS platform will be for responsible budgeting and to increase the level of transparency.”
Navas is also the significant other of current West New York BOE Trustee Lorena Portillo.
Overall, the SOS team aims to increase parent engagement and the widespread use of letters and robocalling to invite the townâ€™s parents to attend PTA and board of education meetings.
The slate also hopes to negotiate a shared services agreement between the town and the BOE, as well as to ensure the BOE negotiates fair contracts with outside vendors.