TRENTON, March 6, 2013—The number of school districts with April school elections has dwindled to 41, as 33 communities opted to move their elections to November starting in 2013, the New Jersey School Boards Association reported today.
In 2012, 468 school districts conducted November elections. This year, the number of districts with November elections will increase to 501.
In January 2012, a new law gave local boards of education, municipal governing bodies or voters the option to move the annual school election from April to the November General Election. In most of the 501 districts with November elections, the change in date resulted from the local board of education adopting a resolution.
The law was designed to increase participation in the non-partisan school board elections, which typically attracted about 15 percent of registered voters each April. It provides communities with two additional incentives to move their school elections to November. School boards with November elections do not submit their proposed base budgets to voters, as long as the budget remains at or below the state’s 2-percent tax levy cap. Supporters of the November election option also cite the savings made possible by eliminating the additional election in April. Prior to the law’s enactment, the bill’s sponsors estimated the statewide cost of the April school elections at more than $7 million.
In spite of the continued migration toward November school elections, 41 school districts have decided to stay with the April election date, at least through 2013. In these communities, voters will select school board members and approve or reject proposed school budgets on Tuesday, April 16.
"Valid arguments can be made for both November and April school elections," said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director.
"On one hand, November elections increase a district’s budget stability, and eliminate the cost of conducting an additional election," he explained. "However, a number of school board members believe that retaining April school elections helps to preserve the non-partisan nature of school board office. Also, some feel strongly that the public should retain the right to vote on the proposed school budget."
New Jersey Districts Conducting School Elections on April 16, 2013
Number of April School Elections
Names of Districts
|Bergen||15||Cliffside Park, East Rutherford, Emerson, Englewood, Fairview, Garfield, Hackensack, Harrington Park, Midland Park, Norwood, Oakland, Palisades Park, Ramsey, Ridgewood, Wood-Ridge|
|Essex||3||Belleville, Irvington, Newark*|
|Gloucester||2||Delsea Regional, Franklin|
|Hudson||3||North Bergen, Secaucus, Weehawken|
|Middlesex||4||Cranbury, Edison, Metuchen, New Brunswick*|
|Morris||6||Chatham, Mendham Township, Mountain Lakes,
Pequannock, Riverdale, Rockaway Borough
|Passaic||4||Hawthorne, Passaic, Paterson*, Totowa|
* Of the school districts eligible to move their elections to November, 38 school districts have retained April elections, where voters will select candidates to serve on the school board and decide their district’s base budget. In New Brunswick, citizens voted to change from a mayor-appointed school board to an elected board, with the district’s first school board and budget election being held in April 2013. Two state-operated districts – Newark and Paterson – will conduct board member elections on April 16, but do not place their proposed budgets on the ballot.
The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of 581 local boards of education and includes 81 charter school associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.