WNY BOE candidates voice support for charter school, BOE responds


Hudson County View sat down with four West New York board of education candidates – Thomas Leung, Henry Song, Ana Cerqueira and Monica Parra – to discuss the implementation of a new charter school.  Superintendent of Schools John Fauta said a board member pushing for a charter school would be “in a conflict of board of education duties.”

Leung, a resident of the WNY waterfront, was the most vocal about a new charter school and explained that – contrary to popular belief – it could actually unite the West New York community.

Song, Cerqueira and Parra all echoed Leung’s sentiment, stating that a charter school would help provide the best educational opportunities possible for the West New York youth.

Fauta said a board member pushing for a charter school would be “in a conflict of board of education duties” and questioned the likelihood of the state approving a charter school for the water front. 


To watch the entire, uncut interview with Leung, Song, Cerqueira and Parra, click here.

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  1. “Up the hill ” “cliff separting us” FYI a charter school is a private school district . Has nothing to do with the WNYBOE. They did not say one thing they will do for our district other than really separate our district and funds. This is the wrong thing to say when running for WNYBOE.

  2. while the idea is nice it is unrealistic..its something that would take at least 5-10 years and by then these parents won’t care about the system because their child won’t be in it…if anything it is taking away funds from the public system while at the same time the charter can pick and choose who is admitted..sounds great but not realistic in WNY

  3. These candidates show a remarkable lack of understanding of both the function and responsibilities of Board of Education members and the process for applying for a charter school. If they want a charter school, they should do their research and apply to the state, as is required, not the school district, which has nothing to do with charter schools.
    The Board of Ed is no place for promoting self interests. We need candidates who want to serve the entire school district, not use the Board to gain something the waterfront community wants.

  4. Thank you, John Heinis for interviewing this slate of candidates for WNY Board of Education, as well as Supt. Of Schools John Fauta’s insights. I do salute my competitors for coalescing around a major topic. And look forward to a robust campaign where the issues can be addressed in the open, and am fully optimistic that Hudson County View will be a major vehicle in presenting the issues of this campaign that culminates on November 4th with the election of 3 three year candidates and 1 two year candidate. My running mate, Myrli Sanchez and I will run a vigorous campaign on the issues. There are issues that unite all of the loyal opposition to Mayor Roque’s candidates. Some of them include our abhorrence to corruption. We will also diverge in our opinions on the issues. The issue of having a charter school or public school on the WNY Waterfront is definately one such issue. While certainly having good intentions for fellow waterfront residents, as in the case of Mr. Leung and Mr. Song, and while having the interests of about half her constituents in Ward 1:District2, which are indeed waterfront residents, in the case of my opponent Ana Cerqieura, who also is the W 1 D2 Committee Woman, I respectfully submit that this desire for a waterfront charter school does not favorably or adequately consider the educational needs of all WNY students. As Supt. of Schools John Fauta very correctly points out, our district is not the proper place to make application to, or to promote the concept of a charter school. The State is well aware that WNY is indeed an Abbot District (a district mandated by the NJ Supreme Court to receive among the highest levels of state aid, both for students’ education, as well as school buildings construction. It was an Abbot District before Mayor Sires and his Town Administrator ( and Mayor of Weehawken, Richard Turner ) paved paradise and put up a parking lot . And our district continues to be an Abbot District, in which the full wealth of our waterfront community is unfairly shielded from non-Abbot status due to an unfair tax abatement scheme Sires and Turner foisted on the backs of the older part of town’s one and two family homes that are unabated (pay full taxes) while the Payments in Lieu of Taxes the waterfront pays PRECLUDE ANY TAX PAYMENTS TO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT. With respect, their supporter, mayoral candidate Chuck Betancourt should know better, since he is on record STRONGLY opposing another recent long term tax abatement, that Commissioner Dr. Count Wiley made history , by becoming first WNY Commissioner to vote no.to such a tax abatement giveaway. Mr. Leung and Mr. Song demonstrate a great lack of understanding of how they, either as home owners or renters on the waterfront benefit directly from tax abatements that pay no school taxes, yet they seek state aid to benefit their parochial interests, no matter the cost to the beleaguered, non-tax abated NJ taxpayer from a non-Abbot district. More ominously, they demonstrate a great lack of understanding of the material benefits they derive from their tax abated haven and the very real negative impact it has on the rest of WNY. In 2009, when non waterfront, non tax abated property taxes increased astronomically, THEIR TAXES WERE UNAFFECTED, AS PER THEIR ABATEMENT CONTRACTS. I ask all of you: Is that fair?
    Patrick Cullen
    WNY Board of Education Trustee Candidate two year unexpired term,
    running with Myrli Sanchez for three year term; endorsed by Commissioner Dr. Count Wiley

  5. My name is John Drake, and I am a Port Imperial resident. I applaud Tom and Henry’s initiative [charter school]. however, it is misguided not only in principle, but also on technical grounds for the following reason:
    1) All charter schools admit students via lottery system.
    2) suppose there are 100 children who live in Port Imperial, and 5,000 students who live west of Port Imperial (the “hill”). Under a lottery system, the chance of any Port Imperial child to attend the charter school is 0.02%. Thus, your charter school fails to provide education to Port Imperial children
    3) If you limit admission to only Port Imperial children, then you discriminate against uphill residents, and you will create social unrest.

    Again, I encourage ideas to fix the educational system in West New York, but as I demonstrated above, your charter school just does NOT accomplish what you said it is going to accomplish: provide quality education to Port Imperial children.

    I wish you good luck as we need more residents and citizens such as Tom and Henry. Unfortunately, logic and reason are not on your side this time.

    John Drake II.

    PS) Who is the politician sponsoring Tom and Henry? Charlie Betancourt? He should know better, and help these young men rather than throwing them under the bus. It is a shame that Henry and Tom are being used by a disgusting politician to pursue his own agenda. Charlie Betancourt just wants the votes from us Port Imperial, nothing else. I will throw an egg next time I see him.

  6. Cullen with all due respect I was at the meeting this morning and saw you ranting about Ruben Vargas (which has zero to due with the issue of buses) something tells me that your bias and hatred for Vargas will sway your judgement on a school board.