To the Editor:
(These are my opinions, not those of the Board.)
While everyone is focused on issues of national importance, we have an issue of our own here in Bayonne. The results will define who we are and what we value as a community.
In addition to the presidential election, Bayonne has an important race for the voters to decide: who we will elect as 3 school board Trustees. There’s much more at stake here than meets the eye. Allow me to take you through a short history because so many of you are new to our city.
After 35 years of having a school board that was appointed by the mayor, the voters, in an overwhelming decision, moved to an elected board. Last year, the people voted for two trustees that were endorsed by the mayor, effectively giving control back to him by a 5-4 margin. If we, as voters, ignore what happened in last year‘s election, then we are destined to have an elected board in name only. It opens the door to the cronyism, nepotism, and favoritism that we fought so hard to put an end to,
The transparency that the community enjoyed from 2015-2019 is a thing of the past. Those of you who follow the live-streamed Board of Education public meetings understand what I am saying. The mayor-endorsed trustees have an agenda and they keep it from the independent board trustees. If you received the mailer, as I did, from “America’s Future First”, you have to wonder why a Washington D.C. based PAC would fund the mayor’s school board candidates.
Like most of you, I have the highest regard for Chuck Ryan who served as Trustee from 2016-2020. As retired Deputy Chief of Police and former educator, he possesses the skill set necessary to do this job, and do it well. More important than his knowledge, are the values he lives by. He is an honorable man with a keen intellect. A staunch advocate for children, he is not afraid to ask the tough questions and make the hard decisions. We have seen this first-hand. He is teamed with two like-minded individuals in Denis Wilbeck, Jr. and Andy Kim. Collectively, they fit the profile that Bayonne voters had been fighting for three decades: strong, independent, nonpartisan.
How do we teach our children to be independent thinkers and thoughtful decision makers if we, as voters, cede control of the school board to the mayor by choosing his endorsed candidates? We are traveling a very dangerous path if we allow this to happen again this year. We are at a serious crossroads. You will be responsible for the direction we take. Vote for strong, independent, non-partisan leadership. Give the children of our town the advantage they deserve. Let Charles Ryan, Denis Wilbeck, and Andrew Kim be their voice.
Joe Broderick is a currently member of the Bayonne Board of Education.