JC Council President Lavarro Calls for Special Election for Unexpired Board of Education Seat

Council President Rolando Lavarro wants a Special Election this November for the Board of Education seat vacated by Matt Shapiro last month. The Council President cites a legal opinion by the Jersey City Department of Law, which states that, according to statute, the vacated seat should be filled after this year’s November election.

The legal opinion states:

“In this case, the vacancy occurred ON the third Monday in July (July 15, 2019). N.J.S.A. 18A: 12-15 clearly states that the appointed member shall serve until the organizational meeting following the second annual election succeeding the occurrence of the vacancy if the vacancy occurred after the third Monday in July. Since the vacancy occurred on, not after, the third Monday in July, the appointed member shall serve only until the organizational meeting following the next annual election in November 2019.”

The Council President expressed a desire to see the will of the people expressed as soon as possible. “The election should take place this November, not in 16 months. It is in the interest of the people of Jersey City — and democracy as a whole — to have an election as soon as possible to fill the vacancy on the Board left by Mr. Shapiro.”

Mr. Lavarro conveyed a sense of urgency regarding this issue, given the recent developments at the Board of Education. “The Jersey City Public Schools is confronted with very serious immediate and long-term challenges.  State aid will be reduced by $175M over the next seven years.  We need leaders on the Board who will respond to this crisis with a sense of urgency putting the needs of our students, families and the community first and foremost.”

As part of his call, Council President Lavarro emailed the County Clerk and the Hudson County Superintendent of Elections today, citing the legal opinion and calling for an election this November for the unexpired term vacated by Matt Shapiro.

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