NEWARK, NJ – Four candidates running on the Moving Newark Schools Forward slate are the projected winners in the city's Board of Education election Tuesday with 76 of 93 precincts reported showing a wide lead over the challengers. 

On the Moving Newark Schools Forward slate, incumbents Dawn Haynes, the current board vice president, Asia Norton and Vereliz Santana received 2,590, 2,440 and 2,349 votes, (As of 10:12 p.m. on April 20) respectively, making them the winners of three-year terms on the board. Meanwhile, newcomer Daniel Gonzalez received 1,839 votes (As of 10:12 p.m. on April 20), earning him a one-year term on the board. 

Challengers on the three-year term ballot, Yolanda Johnson, Nadirah Brown and Phillip Wilson, received 488, 425 and 362 votes (As of 10:12 p.m. on April 20), respectively. 

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Sheila Montague, who ran on the one-year term ballot, received 965 votes (As of 10:12 p.m. on April 20), respectively. 

The public question on the ballot asked Newark voters to decide on a tax levy that would remain flat with a total local budget of $138.3 million. 

The public question received a “yes” from voters with 2,299 votes (As of 10:12 p.m. on April 20), respectively. 

The Moving Forward slate was supported by a powerful coalition consisting of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. and other state and local elected officials.

Council members who endorsed the slate included council president Mildred Crump, council vice president Luis Quintana, East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador, Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver, South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James and council members Carlos Gonzalez and Eddie Osborne. 

It's the sixth straight year the group has come together to support a unity ticket and the sixth year its candidates have swept all seats.

After last year’s school board election was conducted entirely by vote-by-mail, voters this year could vote in-person on election day, vote-by-mail and submit it in an Essex County secure ballot drop box before election day, or fill out a vote-by-mail ballot and drop it in a mailbox before election day. 

Several community groups, such as Project Ready, made an effort to educate and remind the public about what was at stake in this year’s election.

Sam Gonzalez, a campaign manager for Moving Newark Schools Forward and chair of the North Ward Democratic Committee, said that it was a challenge to campaign for the second year in a row during the pandemic, reaching out to voters on social media, networking via email and telephone. 

“The key was getting the people to have the confidence enough to be able to come out and vote,” Gonzalez told TAPinto Newark.

Regardless of a win or loss in Tuesday’s school board election, the campaign manager noted that each candidate should be commended for their participation. 

“Everybody brings something to the table,” he said. “At the end of the day, we should all be able to come to the table and figure out what’s best for the city.”

Editor's Note: This story will be updated as new information becomes available.