Friday, April 29, 2016

Wishing the Best for Board Reorganization

Among the many side effects of changing the school board election back to April, the board on May 3 will have two brand-new members; one with four months' tenure; one with eight months' tenure; one with a little over a year's tenure; three who took office 16 months ago and one with three years and eight months' prior experience (see below).

The majority would have been more seasoned had the election been held in November, with a Jan. 1 organization meeting. Given the circumstances, the new president and vice president probably need to have qualities that will foster collegiality and adherence to state education law at all times while the board gains experience.  All the new members will be required to take New Jersey School Boards Association training and can gain additional skills and understanding of their roles through optional courses.

One thing the new board can count on is more scrutiny than in recent years. Since newspapers and even bloggers dropped routine coverage of school board meetings, even things as crucial as changing the election date have taken place as "walk-ons" without public notice. Calling the district newsletter "Plainfield Insider" while often treating the public at meetings as outsiders doesn't make sense. Just by showing up one night to observe, I was accused of having it in for the Campbells.

Let us hope that the board and public both will look at the current changes as an opportunity to re-calibrate their relationship. Better schools mean a better city. Here's hoping for more openness, less frustration and partnership rather than an adversarial atmosphere. According to Schools Superintendent Anna Belin-Pyles, board meetings will be aired on local cable by the end of the current school year. What will we and our neighboring communities see in that mirror?

Board members and their tenure:

Carmencita Pile, Lynn Anderson: Elected April 19, taking office May 3
Emily Morgan: Elected Nov. 3, 2015, took office Jan. 5, 2016
John Campbell: Appointed April 21, 2015. Elected Nov. 3, 2015. Took office Jan. 5, 2016
Richard Wyatt: Appointed Sept. 1, 2015. Elected Nov. 3, 2015. Took office Jan. 5, 2016:
David Rutherford, Terrence Bellamy, Carletta Jeffers: Elected Nov  4, 2014. Took office Jan. 6, 2015.
Dorien Hurtt: Elected April 27, 2011 for three years but because elections were changed in 2012 to November, served until Dec. 31, 2014. Did not win re-election on Nov. 4, 2014. Elected April 19, taking office May 3.



  1. Dorien Hurtt will be the senior member with 3 years 8 months of experience already under his belt. At the LWV debate he said he took every training course that was offered by the state for BOE members. At all 3 debates he seem to big on procedures and very knowledgeable concerning the dos and don’ts of a board as a whole and BOE members. Under no circumstance should John Campbell or David Rutherford be allow to lead the school board as president or vice president; Wilma was voted out and should not be allow to control by way of these two members. If you were at the meeting this past Tuesday it was apparent the entire board had no control whatsoever and didn’t know how to take control.

    1. Fear not Mapp will take over.

    2. Do you mean the way Green controls the vote on the council? I don't see that happening for the BOE but even if it did it couldn't be any worse than having the Campbells and Green control it. Very self serving people.

  2. Its funny how many people want to blame Mapp and treat him like he's Jerry, Sharon, or Wilma. I'd be insulted with those comparisons. It also seems that there are some bad losers, so get over it. The kids of this town finally have a chance after years of poor BOE performance. When I taught Plainfield H.S. grads back in 1987 they said they missed a lot in high school because of lack of books and too many subs who had to be taught the subject by the students. We haven't come very far in that amount of time. Maybe we'll progress now.

  3. If Hurtt is the most knowledgeable be afraid.

    1. Other than frying fish and chicken what does you know?

    2. I think the post said very knowledgeable, not the most knowledge.