Wainstein, Sacco camps trade blows over early school dismissals for BOE election


With the North Bergen Board of Education election just days away, the Save Our Schools slate endorsed by Larry Wainstein is attacking Mayor Nick Sacco, also a school official, for dismissing schools early on Tuesday – something the Sacco camp is calling standard procedure. North Bergen BOE

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Mayor Nicholas Sacco forces teachers to campaign on his behalf and his political puppets. This is just one of many examples of Sacco denying North Bergen students access to a quality education for his own political gain,” Rene Hidalgo-Gatty, a Save Our Schools teams member, said in a statement.

“It’s time that the teachers are treated with respect and the students get the education they deserve.”

On Tuesday, April 25, North Bergen voters have the opportunity to elect three members to the local board of education. All 17 candidates are seeking a three-year term on the board.

On that day, the school district will dismiss students at 1 p.m.

Phil Swibinski, a spokesman for the the North Bergen Board of Education, said closing schools early for an election is “standard practice” throughout the state.

“This is a standard practice that takes place on election days in municipalities throughout the state, especially in places like North Bergen where most schools contain polling places. Due to the high number of candidates and challenger applications in place for Tuesday’s election, the district felt that this measure would be especially prudent in this case,” he said in an email.

“There is no other reason for this policy besides protecting North Bergen children and it’s sad to see Larry Wainstein continue to take cheap shots at our schools, demeaning the excellent work being done by North Bergen students and teachers every day.”

Back in February, Wainstein, a 2015 mayoral hopeful who has already vowed to rematch Sacco in 2019, went after Sacco and the board of education as the local teachers union fought for a new contract – which they resolved a couple weeks later.

The Wainstein-backed Save Our Schools slate consists of Hidalgo-Gatty, Jose Santos and Viviana Salcedo.

Meanwhile, Claudia Baselice, Kanu Patel and Luis Diaz – the only incumbent in the race – are the three candidates running with the support of Sacco.