MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair Councilor Sean Spiller recently came under fire from a newly formed group called Montclair Kids First. On March 4, they sent a letter to Montclair Township Clerk Linda Wanat asking for his resignation from the Board of School Estimates, citing a conflict of interest and Ethics Code violation due to his position with the NJEA and membership with the Wayne Education Association. Despite the seriousness of the allegations, the group has maintained anonymity citing fear of retribution. Instead of coming forward, they have retained attorneys Lowenstein Sandler to represent them.
TAP into Montclair caught up to Spiller who had this to say, "I am aware of the complaint filed by a newly-formed, anonymous group. I have consulted with the attorney for the Township and it is clear that there is no conflict of interest in my service on the Board of School Estimate. This is a politically motivated attempt to silence me and to disenfranchise the voters who elected me to represent them. We’ve seen this tactic used recently against other progressive public education advocates. It will not succeed."
MKF has threatened to file an injunction if Spiller isn't taken off the BoSE or resign from this position. Spiller maintains that his professional affiliations with the NJEA and Wayne Board of Education are an asset, instead.
He added, "My role as a union member and leader does not preclude me from carrying out my duties as an elected official. In fact, my background as a high school science teacher and a progressive public education advocate is an asset to that work. I am proudly committed to helping build and maintain world-class schools in Montclair and across New Jersey, and I am confident we can do so in a fiscally responsible way. My actions as both a member of the Town Council and the Board of School Estimate over the past two years demonstrate that."
Rumors have swirled in the past few days around who may be behind this group. However, MKF attorney Shavar Jeffries stated that they will remain anonymous until they can feel comfortable enough to come forward. Jeffries further stated that MKF wants to be a safe haven for other parents who have the same views.
Spiller stated that he is willing to meet with the MKF members to discuss educational opportunities for Montclair children. He concluded, "Of course, I am willing to meet with Montclair Kids First, or any other group, so long as the conversation relates to how we can ensure that every child in Montclair has excellent educational opportunities."