Want to run for local school board in NJ? Deadline to file nears

·2 min read

The last day to file nominating petitions for anyone who wishes to run for their school board in the November general election is July 25 at 4 p.m.

Out of the almost 600 school districts in the state, all but 13 will have November elections. All held elections in April until 2012, when a state law was passed that allowed districts to switch to the November general election.

Schools that have kept elections in the spring, or switched back, are: Cliffside Park, Fairview, Oakland, Passaic, Totowa, Fredon, Montague, Irvington, Newark, North Bergen, Weehawken, West New York and New Brunswick.

Anyone interested in running should contact their county clerk for details concerning the proper form to use for candidacy, recommends the New Jersey School Boards Association.

The local school board elections became much more politicized last year, as New Jersey Republicans increasingly saw an opportunity to make political gains by targeting their message to parents disgruntled with mask and/or vaccine mandates as well as to those who objected to the state's new inclusion and equity curriculum requirements.

People are shown at the Wayne Township Municipal Building during the open comment section of the Wayne Board of Education meeting. Most people spoke about a letter that the board drafted to ask Gov. Murphy not to force students and teachers to wear masks in schools. Thursday, August 26, 2021
People are shown at the Wayne Township Municipal Building during the open comment section of the Wayne Board of Education meeting. Most people spoke about a letter that the board drafted to ask Gov. Murphy not to force students and teachers to wear masks in schools. Thursday, August 26, 2021

Often outgunned by Democrats — who hold a registered voter advantage of about 1 million — the GOP saw outspoken candidates for board of education positions and increasingly energized school board races as a way to increase the turnout for Jack Ciattarelli, who challenged Gov. Phil Murphy last year. It almost worked, as the race was a close one decided more than 24 hours after polls closed. Murphy narrowly won, carried by the tally from Democratic strongholds.

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Voters who turned out in support of ''parental choice" or "control" found a supporter in Ciattarelli, who supported "going back to basics" in curriculums. He did not support mask or vaccine mandates.

Last year's rallying call by Republicans for more "parental control" worked in Franklin Lakes, Wayne, Frankford, Randolph and other local school boards throughout New Jersey on Election Day, with more conservative candidates were elected to their school boards.

Requirements to run for school board

  • Be a citizen of the United States.

  • Be at least 18 years of age to qualify for office.

  • Be able to read and write.

  • Must have been a resident of the municipality from which he/she is to be elected for at least one year preceding the date of the election.

  • Not be disqualified as a voter.

  • Not be disqualified from membership for the conviction of crimes.

  • Be a registered voter in the district.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NJ board of education election filing deadline nearing