Summit Mayor’s Decision Not to Reappoint Freeman to Board of Education Raises Controversy

James Freeman will not be reappointed for a second term on the Summit Board of Education. Credits: Summit Public Schools Photo Services

SUMMIT, NJ - Summit Mayor Nora Radest has decided not to reappoint Board of Education member James Freeman after his initial three-year term on the school body.

Since Summit is a Type I School District, all of the board of education members are appointed by the mayor. There has been an informal tradition in the Hilltop City that school board members are allowed to serve two consecutive terms on the education body. However, there is no obligation for the mayor to abide by this tradition.

After finding out about the decision by Radest not to reappoint him, however, Freeman told TAPinto Summit, “The mayor has decided to end the Summit tradition of nonpartisan reappointment to the Board of Education. Over the course of the last week she has been telling me various criteria that allegedly inform her decision-making in this area. Today she rolled out a new one: she now claims that age diversity on the board is a priority for her. I don't know whether this is supposed to mean that I'm too old or too young but I guess we'll find out.”

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Told about Freeman’s comments, Radest replied, "The mayor is tasked with the difficult decision of making appointments that will best serve the interests of Summit’s residents and institutions. Each of my appointees for the Board of Education seats reflects my careful consideration of this responsibility. I have sought broad input from the community in order to select qualified board members who can represent all constituents of Summit and help our district continue as an innovative leader in education.” 

The mayor added that she will issue a more extensive press release when she announces her actual appointments to the board.

Freeman was appointed to the Summit Board of Education by former Mayor Ellen Dickson in May 2013, filling the seat vacated by outgoing President George Lucaci.

He is the assistant editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, and supervises the Journal's online opinion pages. 


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