Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's challenge to the Campbell team was vindicated Tuesday when his slate won the school board election decisively.
Wilma Campbell was seeking her fifth term on the board, with running mates Frederick Moore Sr. and James Plummer. The mayor's team, Carmencita Pile, Dorien Hurtt and Lynn Anderson, swept the field of eight candidates with tallies over 1,000 each. Former board member Jackie Coley and newcomer Alice Horton-Mays trailed with fewer than 300 votes each.
Carmencita Pile, 1,200
Lynn Anderson, 1,177
Dorien Hurtt, 1,150
James Plummer, 965
Wilma Campbell, 955
Frederick Moore Sr., 712
Jackie Coley, 291
Alice Horton-Mays, 262
The board voted in November to move the election back to April, a prerogative that either the board or governing body had after four years of having the BOE election combined with the November general election. In 2012, the City Council had voted to move the election to November. The difference was that the move was advertised then, while in 2015 the Campbell-led board did it as a "walk-on" item without public notice.
Among contentious items at candidates' forums, the Campbell team purchased a campaign billboard ad at a prominent downtown location, adjacent to a school district billboard ad celebrating the acquisition of two buildings for $1. One is already in use by two schools and the other will become a technology center, the ad says. Schools Superintendent Anna Belin-Pyles said the juxtaposition was a coincidence, while critics saw it as use of district funds to benefit the Campbell team's campaign.
The next step for the board is to reorganize. The next board meeting is Tuesday, April 26. Wilma Campbell is currently the board president, but will have to step down when it reorganizes.
Mapp said Tuesday night, "The voters of Plainfield spoke in a very clear voice, they chose change and promise over failure. I am excited for Anderson, Hurtt and Pile and for the students, teachers and staff. It's a new day for the Plainfield School District and I look forward to establishing a true partnership with the superintendent and Board."
Voters also approved a local tax levy of $24,295,492 for the 2016-2017 school year, 907 to 601.All results are unofficial and will be certified by Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi by Monday or later.