WATCHUNG, NJ - Six candidates filed for the three seats up for re-election on the Watchung Board of Education, according to the Somerset County Clerk's Office. Current board member James Rhyner did not file for re-election, according to the clerk's office.
The six candidates who filed prior to Monday’s deadline are current board president Margo Langer, board member George Colonias, Richard Buccarelli of High Tor Drive, Dorie Harvey of Johnston Drive, Jessica Ingrassia of High Oaks Drive, and Rhea Qualls Williams of Kappelmann Drive.
Current board member, and the only candidate to file, Barry Hunsinger filed for election to another term representing Watchung Borough on the Watchung Hills Regional High School District Board of Education.
This fall, voters in the Watchung Hills sending districts will elect candidates to both the K-8 and high school boards of education. A combined 15 seats are up for grabs. A full term on the school board runs for three years.
A candidate must have filed a nominating petition with the county clerk for his or her name to appear on the ballot, and the deadline to submit the nominating petition was 4 p.m. Monday, July 30. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 6.
Three seats are up for re-election in each of the K-8 sending districts of Green Brook, Long Hill, Warren and Watchung, and three seats are up for the Watchung Hills board.
In Green Brook, the seats currently held by Board President Bruce Martins, Vice President Wilton Thomas-Hooke and board member Lisa Couch;
In Long Hill, the seats currently held by Board President Marta Moakley and board members Ann Butler and Reid Bundonis;
In Warren, the seats currently held by board members Paige Albano, Andrea Freijmoil and Ilana Goldstein;
In Watchung, the seats currently held by Board President Margo Langer and board members George Colonias and James Rhyner;
And at Watchung Hills, the seats currently held by by Vice President Christopher Collins of Long Hill, and board members Bruce Martins of Green Brook, Barry Hunsinger of Watchung and Dr. Gregory Przybylski of Warren.
In Warren, Two Candidates Filed for Three Seats on Warren Township Board of Education
Prospective school board candidates can download candidate information from the New Jersey School Boards Association’s web site at NJSBA School Board Candidate Kit. The School Board Candidate Kit includes information about nominating petitions, legal qualifications for school board candidacy, and the role of the school board member. Information about the New Jersey School Ethics Act and important dates in the school election process are also included.
“One of the most meaningful contributions that citizens can make to their community is serving on the local board of education,” said Daniel Sinclair, NJSBA president. “I encourage all interested citizens to consider school board membership. It doesn’t require a degree in education, or a background in politics. However, it does require a sincere interest in the community, its children, and their education.”
If three candidates don’t file by the deadline, the process is:
Write-in votes are counted and the individual with the highest number of write-in votes is offered the position as long as that person is a qualified candidate. If the person elected does not wish to serve, the seat does not go to the next highest vote getter, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association. Instead, the Somerset County superintendent appoints someone to the seat.
If there is a tie among the write-in candidates and one or more is eligible and wishes to hold the position, a special election is called among the write-in candidates.
There is no minimum number of write-in votes needed. A single write-in vote can elect so long as the write-in candidate qualifies for and agrees to accept the office.
Qualifications (appointment and election)
Each member of any board of education shall, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:12-1:
Be a United States citizen;
Be a resident of the district for at least one year at the time of election or appointment;
Be able to read and write;
Be a registered voter in the district where the person is submitting the nomination
petition (or being appointed);
Not be disqualified as a voter pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:4-1;
Not have been convicted of any of the crimes or offenses enumerated in N.J.S.A.
18A;12-1 or conspiracy to commit or attempt to commit any of said crimes;
Not be the mayor or a member of the governing body of the municipality; or
Not have a direct or indirect contract with or claim against the board.
Additional information can be obtained from the New Jersey School Boards Association at https://www.njsba.org/about/membership/school-board-candidacy/
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