You Still Have Time to Run for the Clifton Board of Education

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If you have ever thought about running for a seat on the Clifton Board of Education, it is not too late to run for the upcoming election in November but you’ll need to get your petition in soon. The deadline for board of education candidates to file nominating petitions with our county clerk is 4 pm, July 25.

The Board of Education, tasked with representing the concerns of the citizens, taxpayers, and parents to the school administrators, is also responsible for representing the needs of the students and school district to the citizens, taxpayers, and parents of the community. The panel of nine members are all volunteers; citizens who devote their time and energy to overseeing the running of the school district for the benefit of the entire community. The Board oversees spending, the upkeep and improvements to buildings and property, personnel issues, enforces state and federal education mandates, and more. In Clifton, the Board of Education typically meets as a whole once every two weeks. Additionally, there are several sub committees which meet on their own schedules and which are not open to the public.

If you think you might be interested, you might want to check out this video series - “The Ten Things Every School Board Candidate Should Know Before Taking Office.” Hosted by experts from the New Jersey School Boards Association, these videos cover a variety of important topics including the code of ethics for school board members, nepotism, and the role of the school board.

There are several legal requirements that must be met in order to qualify as a candidate for the Board of Education. You must:

  • Be able to read and write
  • Be a U.S. citizen and a resident of the district for at least one year
  • Be registered to vote in the district
  • Have no interest in any contract with, or claim against, the board
  • Hold no municipal office as a City Council member
  • Not hold two elected offices simultaneously
  • Not be disqualified for the conviction of certain crimes. (Within 30 days of election or appointment to the board, a member must undergo a criminal history background investigation through the state Department of Education.)

If you meet these requirements you simply need to download this petition, have it signed by at least ten registered Clifton voters (which can include yourself), and return it to the Passaic County clerk by 4 pm on July 25. See this flier for more information on how to become a school board member.

In November there will be three seats up for grabs in Clifton - Dana Beltran, Joe Canova, and Jim Daley’s terms are all expiring. Ms. Beltran has indicated that she will not be running for re-election. Mr. Canova said that he will be, although he has not yet filed his paperwork; Mr. Daley has not yet responded. Typically there are three seats open each year, although occasionally someone leaves midterm and needs to be replaced.

Once elected, the Clifton Board of Education will provide some orienting guidance to any new commissioners and all Board members must complete Governance training each year. The NJ School Boards Association runs these courses in addition to professional development classes once the Governance training is completed. All of these regulations are mandated by New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC), the New Jersey Department of Education's monitoring and district self-evaluation system for public school districts.

Holding a seat as a Board of Education commissioner is a way to serve your community, helping to oversee the running of our public schools and the ways in which our tax dollars are spent. A strong school district is good for the entire community, whether or not you have children or children currently in school. Good schools are a key reason people choose to move to a particular area and why they choose to stay. If you think that you could be an asset to our Board, please don’t delay - the deadline for petitions is in just a couple of weeks. Good luck to all candidates!

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