Charter schools moratorium sparks sparring at Democratic gubernatorial primary debate

Democratic gubernatorial candidates John Wisniewski, Phil Murphy, Jim Johnson and Ray Lesniak. Credits: Pool Photo
Gubernatorial candidates Phil Murphy and Jim Johnson in an exchange during a debate at NJTV studio in Newark. Credits: Pool Photo
Gubernatorial candidates John Wisniewski and Phil Murphy in a debate at NJTV studio in Newark. Credits: Pool Photo

The question of whether there should be a moratorium on charter schools sparked heated discussion among the four major New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates gathered at a television debate in the studio of NJTV in downtown Newark on Thursday night, putting a direct spotlight on a critical educational issue in the state's largest city. 

While the candidates were led through a series of back-and-forth exchanges by NJTV's chief political correspondent Michael Aron on a range of policy issues that included the pension system, transportation, health care and property taxes, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) opened the door to a candidate exchange about the issue when he mentioned the concept of a moratorium on charter schools as part of a discussion on the state's public school funding formula.

Wisniewski expressed his desire for a moratorium on charter schools and noted that the flow of funds toward charter schools further hurts the efforts of a state public school system that is already underfunded. 

Sign Up for E-News

At a meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in October, Murphy, a voting NAACP board member, expressed reservations before the organization approved a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter school growth, trying to temporarily put a break on the vote, as reported by TAPintoNewark. 

Murphy tried to open a discussion about the controversial resolution that has bitterly divided the African-American community in Newark and across the nation. But the other NAACP board members were not in a mood for dialogue and pushed forward with the resolution, one of 47 adopted by the organization during the meeting.

All of the other three Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates present at Thursday's debate, including Wisniewski, Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) and Montclair attorney Jim Johnson, have stated that they are for a moratorium on charter schools. 

Aron pressed Murphy on the issue, asking him directly if he supported a moratorium on charter schools.

"This is a complicated one. This is hard," Murphy said while sitting under the lights at the NJTV studio in Newark's Gateway Center, the stage exposed to the viewing public behind glass. "I've never been a heck-no charter guy, but the way [funding] has been done under [Republican Gov. Chris] Christie is extremely troubling. So I had said let's call a time out and get some rules of the road in place here. We over-label this discussion. I want to be the guy that supports schools that are working. But there are very troubling governance issues, funding issues and demographic issues."

Wisniewski then interjected, asking if Murphy was for a moratorium or not.

Murphy answered that he voted against the NAACP call for a moratorium because he felt that it was "implying that federal money would have been cut off the next day, and kids would have been thrown out of school. And I'm not for that."

Johnson initially expressed confusion as to why Murphy brought up the NAACP board debate, then took a moment to clarify his position on a charter school moratorium. 

"I've called for a pause...but the other thing we need to be concerned about is that there are districts in which there is a choice between funding for charter schools and funding for traditional public schools," Johnson said. "We need to support our public schools but also take advantage of the knowledge and learning experience from charter schools." 

After the debate, which was co-sponsored by NJ Spotlight, Wisniewski continued to criticize Murphy's answer during the debate on the issue of a charter school moratorium. 

"He was multiple choice, like he was taking the PARCC test and filling in a couple of the boxes at the same time," Wisniewski told TAPintoNewark. "He's inexperienced, doesn't understand New Jersey policy or politics, and he was all over the place." 

Murphy countered by further clarifying his position on the charter school moratorium. 

"I absolutely stand for a timeout on charter schools. I was trying to make a point on what is the definition of a moratorium," Murphy told TAPintoNewark. "[The NAACP] definition was to cut federal money from schools, close schools tomorrow, and throw kids on the street. I'm not going to sign up for that."

Murphy received the endorsement of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), which supported a charter school moratorium in New Jersey. 

When asked how this endorsement affects his stance on a charter school moratorium, Murphy said that it did not. 

"My view has not changed. In fact, [the NJEA] is probably organized in about 12 or fifteen charters. This is not the black-and-white issue that people make it out to be. It's also a different dynamic in Newark than it is in Montclair. As I mentioned, we're way over-labelling this."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Nutley Residents Reminded to Clear Snow from Sidewalks within 24 Hours of Snowfall

March 22, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - All property owners are required by law to clear snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. When possible use grassy areas to pile snow. 

The Township of Nutley reminds everyone that there are ordinances regarding tossing snow into the street.

Residents are also reminded to clear all snow from their vehicles. Snow can be carried off ...

Delayed Opening for All Nutley Schools Thursday March 22, 2018

As we anticipated, the Nutley Public Schools will have a 90-minute delayed opening on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Delayed opening times are as follows:

NHS  9:35 AM
Elementary, including Full Day Pre-School 10:00 AM

AM Pre-School and AM Extended Day are canceled.
A link to the delayed opening schedule can be found here.

Please be ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 6:30 PM

Parks and Recreation Department , Nutley

Nutley Crew Beefsteak/Tricky Tray

Food & Drink Sports


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

West Orange High School , West Orange

WOHS Band Council Presents: A Concert for the ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 9:00 AM

Nutley High School, Nutley

Academic Booster Club History Fair



Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Nutley Park ShopRite , Nutley

Scouting for Food Drive at Nutley Park ShopRite ...

Food & Drink Giving Back


Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Military Park, Newark

#NeverAgain March For Our Lives

Government Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

Nutley Elks Lodge , Nutley

Nutley Elks 8th Annual Wild Game Charity Dinner

Food & Drink Giving Back

Delayed Opening for All Nutley Schools Thursday March 22, 2018

March 21, 2018

As we anticipated, the Nutley Public Schools will have a 90-minute delayed opening on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Delayed opening times are as follows:

NHS  9:35 AM
Elementary, including Full Day Pre-School 10:00 AM

AM Pre-School and AM Extended Day are canceled.
A link to the delayed opening schedule can be found here.

Please be ...

March 20 Weather Update for Nutley Schools

UPDATED 9:00 p.m. - As the Governor has called a State of Emergency for the Nor’Easter in our area, all Nutley Public Schools will be closed on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

All after school and evening events, held in our buildings on Wednesday, are canceled as well.

Based on actual snowfall, a delayed opening may be needed on Thursday, March 22. We will be in touch with ...


Prism Capital Partners, ON3 to Host Suburban Revitalization Forum March 8 in Nutley

March 6, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Prism Capital Partners and On3 will present the second part of a Suburban Revitalization Forum on March 8 in the auditorium of Building 200 on the ON3 campus. Each forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

Part two of the series, March 8,will discuss ways redevelopment can be tailored to take advantage of the demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle changes and ...

Speaker Added to March 8 Suburban Revitalization Forum - Chris Porter

NUTLEY, NJ - A Suburban Revitalization Forum will be presented by Prism Capital Partners and ON3 on March 5 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. on the ON3 campus, in the auditorium of Building 200 on Metro Boulevard, 340 Kingsland Street, Nutley.

The two-part series will feature nationally recognized speakers who will examine trends in urban planning and future growth as New ...

United States Post Office Mailboxes Burglarized in West Essex Towns

March 22, 2018

FAIRFIELD, NJ — Local police departments are actively investigating burglaries and thefts involving United States Post Office mailboxes in Fairfield, Caldwell, West Caldwell, Livingston, Pine Brook and Orange.

According to the Fairfield Police Department, the Fairfield incident occurred sometime between March 15 at 5 p.m. and March 16 at 5 p.m. In this most recent incident, two mailboxes ...

Student-Led March for Our Lives to Take Place in Montclair, Mar. 24

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair and surrounding-area students are planning to participate in a movement called 'March for Our Lives' taking place on Saturday, March 24. Part of a nationwide movement to pass common-sense gun legislation in America, the students plan on gathering in several places across the state of New Jersey, including Montclair, Maplewood, Paterson, Union and ...

Springfield Fire Department Delivers Baby on West I-78

March 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - On March 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. the Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to Route 78 Westbound near milepost 50.2 for a report of a woman in labor on the side of the road.  

Captain Mastroeni (Unit 2) & Chief Palumbo (Unit 1) were the first units to arrive on scene, and quickly recognized that the woman would be unable to make it to the hospital in time for ...

Technology ‘Hub’ proposed for Hub City’s downtown, covering 12 acres

NEW BRUNSWICK – State and city officials on Monday unveiled plans for a “hub” for research in the fields of technology and health care services to stretch over 12 acres.

Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking at a meeting at Rutgers University, said the "Innovation and Technology Hub,” which is in the planning stages, would include construction of 2 million to 4 million ...

Avon Loses Its Last ‘Grand’ Hotel to the Claw of an Excavator

March 18, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — In less than two days, an Avon-by-the-Sea landmark that stood for 130 years was reduced to a huge pile of rubble. The Norwood Inn no longer stands on the corner of Norwood and Second Avenues — the last of the stately hotels that once graced the streets of Avon.

As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

Nutley Police Department Blotter March 10 to 16, 2018

March 17, 2018

 The Police Blotter is compiled each week by Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari of the Crime Intelligence Public Information Division of the Nutley Police Department.

Please note:  All parties placed under arrest have been assigned a court date and remain innocent until proven guilty of those charges at their respective hearing

Anyone who has information about any crimes can send a (non ...

How Can Sports Therapy Loosen Up Winter Muscles?

Whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned athlete, the winter weather can affect your body. In these cold conditions, muscles are forced to work harder to complete tasks. This extra effort can result in muscle soreness and damage to tissue. While you may not be able to avoid the cold, preventive measure can help avoid discomfort and injury. Learning and implementing sports therapy techniques, ...

Pro Staff Institute announces partnership with Uber Health

NUTLEY, NJ - Pro Staff Institute is proud to announce their participation in Uber Health, a new transportation program designed to provide transportation to patients. Pro Staff Institute is the first physical therapy center in the nation to leverage Uber Health, and joins over other 100 health care organizations in the U.S., including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers and senior care ...

The Negative Effects Of Prolonged Sitting And Workplace Tips From Pro Staff Physical Therapy

In recent years, media outlets have described sitting as the new smoking. This may seem like a stretch, but once you break that statement down it carries some truth. Cigarettes were not thought to be the cause of lung cancer and other serious diseases until the 1950s. Like the cigarette industry in the 1920s, the effects of prolonged sitting throughout the workday has largely been ignored and ...

The Other Way NFSB Feeds Families

I remember how my teenage pride swelled the first time a friend confided in me for emotional support. Before long, my phone was clogged nightly as friends tapped my unearthed talent to lament breakups, or collapse under academic expectation. Because therapy was in the shadows then, and often thought of as a crutch for the “sick” or the “weak,” parents never sought ...

The Women Artists of Nutley Exhibit at the Nutley Public Library

 Enjoy an exhibit of new works by members of The Women Artists of Nutley in the gallery and display case of the Nutley Public Library during the months of March and April. Acrylic, gouache and watercolor paintings as well photography, pastels and drawings by these talented women will be featured.

Women’s History Month is celebrated in the United States in March every year. This art ...

Educational Leadership with Coach Tom Gargiulo

Learn some of the secrets of high-performing teachers and students with “Coach” Tom Gargiulo on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 p.m. Motivate yourself and others with time-tested tips and strategies presented by Coach Tom in a lively and interactive manner. Mr. “G” is in his 28th year of teaching and coaching and teaches Physical Education at ...

Nutley United Soccer Club - Spring Season

The Nutley United Soccer Club is the travel division of the soccer program offered by the Nutley Parks & Recreation Department directed by Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci. Teams play in the very competitive Northern Counties Soccer Association against towns in Northern NJ and Lower NY State. The travel soccer program offers a high level of instruction by professional trainers and experienced ...

Registration for Spring Tennis Lessons Now Open

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci announces Spring Tennis Lesson registration is now open!  The Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation offers a top quality tennis program, directed under the supervision of Barry Rubach, an accredited member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and former Collegiate Champion.  Classes range in age groups starting in 1st grade and continuing through ...

Commissioner Tucci Opens Registration For Toddler Sports Sampler

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci and the Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation are pleased to open registration for Toddler Sports Sampler.  This program is for Nutley youngsters ages 3-5. Not quite sure sport your child loves most? Look no further!  This class allows kids to participate in a variety of sports that will help them in their decision of which sport they enjoy most. Each ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 21, 2018


STATEWIDE - Utility companies are dragging themselves back into the war room this morning, preparing for another day of downed wires, public scorn and mounting pressure from the governor's office to magically keep all the lights on. One would assume the utilities are still trying to patch up fragile networks from the back-to-back nor'easters that ...

An Open Letter to Steven Rogers, and Anyone Else Misguided About NHS’s Participation in the National School Walkout

March 19, 2018

To Commissioner Steven Rogers, and whomever else it may concern,

My name is Gabrielle Mackiewicz, and I am a 15-year-old sophomore at Nutley High School. On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, I took part in the National School Walkout at 10:00 a.m., and I have seen a lot of your ideas about the event on several different social media platforms. I am writing this to address some of these concerns.

The Price We Pay for School Security

In light of recent events with the Parkland school shooting, I understand the concern of parents when it comes to school safety.  Especially, when you end up having an incident from a high school kid in your own town posting threatening videos the next day. The BOE, police officers, and other administrators all handled the incident promptly and took the proper steps in calming jittered ...

Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

Mountainside Medical Center Offers New 24/7 Senior Mental Health Helpline

March 21, 2018

Montclair, NJ -- Mountainside Medical Center has established a 24/7 Senior Intervention Helpline to address the behavioral health concerns of area residents age 65 and older.  Seniors in distress, along with authorized caregivers for the elderly who aren’t sure where to turn for help, are urged to call (973) 429-6073 whenever assistance from the hospital’s team of specially ...

Boy Scout of America’s Prepared For Life Dinner Features Captain Mark Kelly

The Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scout of America’s Fourth Annual Prepared for Life, Friends of Scouting Dinner will feature NASA space mission commander and American hero Captain Mark Kelly.

The event will be held on April 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Venetian in Garfield, 546 River Dr. The event starts with a reception hour at 6 p.m.

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Presents:Ron Guidry Book Signing, Apr. 3

Ron Guidry, known as "Gator" and "Louisiana Lightning" to his teammates, quickly rose in 1977 to become the ace of the Yankees' stellar pitching staff, helping the team regarded as one of the most famous and controversial in Yankees history to win two World Series championships. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 3 for a signing of Guidry's new ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...


- Mar 14, 2018
Past Deputy Grand Marshall of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Merchant Marine veteran James J.
Read more
Nov 23, 1963 - Mar 12, 2018
Jeffrey Roy Imhoff passed away on March 12, 2018. He was a lifelong resident of Nutley, graduating ...
Read more