Two Dozen Districts Still Hold School Elections, Budget Votes in April

Two-year-old law has transformed election schedules for virtually all districts in state

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Two years after the law that allowed New Jersey districts to shift April school board elections into November, just 26 of more than 500 districts statewide will hold their annual votes this Wednesday.

Another 16 districts in the past year made the change to November, as allowed by the 2012 law, which permits districts to move elections from the traditional April date and end school budget votes entirely if they stay within state tax caps.

Only a handful of districts initially made the move, but the trickle became a torrent in the past two years as districts cited the advantages of ending budget votes and the uncertainty they bring, officials said.

Just nine of 21 counties are seeing any votes this week, mostly in one district or two. Nine districts in Bergen County are sticking with April votes, but that is still a small fraction of the more than 70 overall.

In addition, two districts will be asking residents on Wednesday to vote not only on the base budgets, but also on so-called second questions for programs above the spending limits set by the state.

In the Chathams, the ballot will include an extra $460,000 for technology improvements. The Greenwich district in Warren County is asking voters for permission to spend an extra $1.1 million to maintain 17 staff positions, including 10 classroom teachers.

The list of districts holding votes Wednesday on school boards and budgets follows: board members and budgets is the following:

  • Bergen County — Cliffside Park, Emerson, Fairview, Garfield, Hackensack, Midland Park, Oakland, Palisades Park, Ramsey
  • Cumberland County — Bridgeton
  • Essex County — Irvington, Newark (a state-operated district with no budget vote)
  • Hudson County — North Bergen, Secaucus, Weehawken
  • Middlesex County — Edison, New Brunswick
  • Monmouth County — Neptune
  • Morris County — School District of the Chathams, Mountain Lakes, Pequannock, Riverdale, Rockaway Borough
  • Passaic County — Passaic, Totowa
  • Warren County — Greenwich Township
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