NEWARK, NJ - Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, April 16 to elect three school board candidates and decide on a public question for the 2019-2020 school year budget for the first time in over two decades.

Some board member responsibilities include hiring, firing, and overseeing the superintendent, overseeing facilities, developing policies, and adopting the curriculum. Board members are also stewards of a billion dollar school budget.

As the district completes its two-year transition to local control in January 2020, the board is key in turning the direction of Newark Public Schools.

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When are polls open?

Polls are open on Election Day Tuesday, April 16, 2019, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  Where is my polling place?

Polling places are typical nearby schools, places of worship, and community centers and remain the same for every election. You can look up your polling place online at or by calling the New Jersey Division of Elections at 609-292-3760.

Do I need to show ID?

No, New Jersey law does not require voters to present a photo ID before being able to vote. However, you may be required to show some form of identification at the polls when you go to vote if you did not provide identification when you registered to vote (e.g., your driver’s license number, non-driver identification number, or the last four digits of your social security number) or the county commissioner was unable to verify your identification information. Acceptable forms of ID include, but are not limited to:

  • Any current and valid photo ID, such as a New Jersey Driver’s License, military or government ID, student or job ID, store membership card, or US passport; or

  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, car registration, government check, rent receipt, or other official documents that contain the name and address of the voter.

If you do not have any of these forms of ID, you may still vote by casting a provisional ballot. However, you must submit a copy of your ID to your county election office by 4 pm on Thursday, April 18, 2019, for your provisional ballot to be counted.

Who is running?  

There are 11 candidates vying for three school board seats. Candidates A'Dorian Murray-Thomas, Tave Padilla, and Shayvonne Anderson are running on the "Moving Schools Forward" team. Candidates Leah Owens, Saafir Jenkins, and Denise Cole are running together on the "Children Over Politics" team.

Candidates Yolanda Johnson, Maggie Freeman, Arlene J. Ramsey, Denise Ann Crawford, and Priscilla Garces are running independently. 

Here are some specifics: 

A’Dorian Murray-Thomas is the Founder and CEO of SHE Wins Inc., leadership and social action organization that serves middle and high school girls from more than 20 Newark schools.

Tave Padilla is a current board member running for reelection. He works for the North Ward Center and is the former chief of staff to state Assembly members Wilfredo Caraballo and Nellie Pou.

Shayvonne Anderson is the founder of Healing Her, a Woman’s Abuse Support Organization, and trauma-informed care advocate.

Yolanda Johnson is CEO of Parents Educating Parents, Inc (PEP) where she assists parents with navigating the educational system.

Leah Owens is a current board member running for reelection. She is an educator who taught high school and teachers-in-training and currently works as an adjunct professor at Essex County College and New Jersey City University.

Saafir Jenkins is Vice President and Public Affairs Officer for Newark Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) and finance and human resources director.  

Denise Cole is a parent advocate and former educator. She is also Vice-President Emeritus of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of George Washington Carver Elementary School/Bruce Street School for the Deaf.

Arlene J. Ramsey is an author and founder of Every 1 Let’s Talk in which she works with incarcerated youth and runs her mentorship program.

Maggie Freeman is a community representative with thousands of volunteer hours. Over the years she has accumulated experience in parks and recreation, healthcare, visual and telecommunications, social service, finance, and homeland security.

Denise Ann Crawford is a parent advocate and former Regent 2 Director of the New Jersey Parent Teacher Association of four years.

Priscilla M. Garces Guevara worked at the office of former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg and the office of U.S Senator Robert Menendez advocating for pedestrian safety legislation and the United Nations focusing on human rights and diplomacy.

What will I be voting on concerning the budget?

The public question on the ballot is asking Newark voters to decide on a tax levy that will increase school taxes by $2.7 million dollars from last year. The public question will read:

Public Question Resolved, that there should be raised for General Funds $135,602,884 for the ensuing School Year (2019-2020).

When will we know who won?

Check back here at TapInto Newark for the latest results starting at 8 p.m.