Putting Students First!

South Orange-Maplewood School Board candidates Felicia George (CHS ’12) and Avery Julien (CHS ’17) have unveiled their campaign platform focused on Putting Students First! The two first-time candidates and recent Columbia High School graduates are trading upon their on-the-ground experience as students in the school district to put forth an agenda that brings the focus in our schools back to how best to serve students.

In light of data released on racial disparities in course enrollments at the October 16, 2017 Board of Education meeting, the campaign blames incumbent Board candidates for failing to address the issues cited by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. In 21st century America, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education is overseeing a Jim Crow system of public education. It is clear that the district is in need of a change in Board leadership and direction. 

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Felisha George and Avery Julien support:

  • The elimination of academic tracking and the leveling system, and the creation of a course schedule that offers substantive courses and support services
  • Ending de facto segregation in K-5 schools by redistricting the student population and creating racially balanced elementary schools
  • Creation of a full-time position of Parent Advocate, reporting to the Superintendent, to represent the interests of district families
  • Development of a districtwide facilities plan for school buildings and athletic facilities construction and/or renovation, with a set timetable and plan to offer voters to support a bond issue

Despite the failures of the previous Superintendent Dr. John Ramos, incumbent Board Candidates Board President Elizabeth Baker and Board Member Donna Smith voted to give Dr. Ramos a bonus. The incumbents are responsible for the failure to comply with the OCR Resolution Agreement and provided poor oversight over the superintendent as data was not collected, reports were not filed as required by OCR, and rules were allowed to be put in place that contradicted the district’s policies on Access and Equity, and Academic Placement. These failures can be traced directly to the incumbents

The full platform of Felisha George and Avery Julien can be found on the campaign’s website –www.georgeandjulien4boe.com.