NORTH BERGEN – Twelve people ran this year for three available seats on the school board. When the dust settled and the votes were counted, the three candidates in the “Our Children First 2015” team endorsed by Mayor Nicholas Sacco won the election on Tuesday, April 21.
Final tallies are not yet in at this writing, but as of Wednesday, Ruth Shaw, the only incumbent candidate, had taken in the most votes at 4,101 (28 percent), followed by Claudia Rodriguez at 4,026 (23 percent) and Haissam “Sam” Jaafar at 3,915 (22 percent).
In a spillover from the upcoming May 12 municipal election, the Board of Ed race slipped into accusatory mode in its final weeks, with Sacco’s team calling a press conference to publicize candidate Jose Canonico’s prior criminal record. Canonico was one of three candidates on the “Save Our Schools” ticket endorsed by Larry Wainstein. Wainstein is heading up a ticket running against Sacco in the municipal election next month.
In a return volley, Wainstein’s team allegedly condemned Jaafar for Facebook posts they claimed were prejudiced.
Also on the ballot was a tax levy proposal seeking a $2.2 million school tax increase. Voters rejected the proposal with 2,818 “no” votes (78 percent), versus 784 in favor. The increase was reportedly intended in part to fund a new boiler and air conditioning system in the high school, as well as doors and alarms at Franklin School, and to offset increased costs in salaries and benefits.