Eight candidates are running for Jersey City school board election

Directors Noemi Velazquez and Alexander Hamilton are running on separate lists this year. Photo illustration by Terri Bish via screenshots from Jersey City School District on Facebook.

Eight candidates have filed for this year’s Jersey City School Board election, which includes two incumbents running for re-election and the current board chair deciding not to run again.

Trustees Noemi Velazquez and Alexander Hamilton, who were both first elected in 2019, are running for re-election on separate three-person slates, with two independent candidates also running, according to the county clerk’s office. of Hudson.

Meanwhile, board chairman Gerald Lyons has decided to let his term expire at the end of this year.

Velazquez and Hamilton ran under the “Change for Children” slate in 2019, but the two are competing against each other this year, with Velazquez running under the “Education Matters” slate and Hamliton under his former slate.

The “Education Matters” list includes Afaf Muhammed, a Democratic Hudson County committee member and last year’s former independent candidate, and Christopher Tislade, a public school teacher in Englewood, according to his LinkedIn page.

Hamilton’s “Change for Children” slate will see him running with Doris “Toni” Ervin, an assistant professor at Hudson County Community College who also ran on the same slate last year, and Kenny Reyes.

As independents, Isnel Sanon, CEO of Sanon Global, a tax services firm, and formerly of the NAACP, and Ahsan Nawaz, realtor at Weichert.

Board chairman Gerald Lyons declined to stand for election this year. Photo by Mark Koosau.

This year’s election promises to be another battle between “Education Matters”, traditionally supported by the union Jersey City Education Association, a branch of the New Jersey Education Association, and “Change for Children”, which receives financial support from a number of real estate companies.

Lyons plans to leave the school board after accumulating nearly nine years in office. He was first nominated in 2012 for the remainder of a vacant term and won a full term in 2014. He then lost re-election in 2017 but was re-nominated in 2018 and won a full term the next year.

He was named chairman of the board of trustees this year, becoming the first openly gay person to lead a nine-member body that oversees New Jersey’s second-largest school district.

“It’s my ninth year doing it and it’s been an amazing learning experience and I’m really grateful to have had this opportunity, but I think it’s time I let other people in and give it a try. their chance,” Lyons said via the Jersey Newspaper.

Lyons guided the board through a $973 million budget for the upcoming school year, which included a tax increase of $1,611 per household. He and Velazquez had voted to pass the budget, while Hamilton had voted no, citing throughout the budget process his opposition to tax increases.

The board had also recently appointed Dr. Norma Fernandez as the school district’s full-time superintendent, after serving in an interim position following the retirement of former superintendent Franklin Walker.

School board elections will take place on November 8 and the draw will take place on August 15.

For updates on this story and others, check out hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mark Koosau can be reached at [email protected] or on his Twitter @snivyTsutarja.

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