[EDITORIAL] Perth Amboy’s Children Should Not Be For Sale

Misinformation, fear and hate are turning the school board election into an auction.

The producers of films like “Won’t Back Down” count on audiences failing to notice a sectarian message or political attack disguised as drama, because propaganda becomes ineffective when viewers see the con artist behind the curtain.

Right wing billionaire Philip Anschutz, designed the movie as a carefully contrived attack on teachers’ unions. This is an example of how the power of the billionaires drives the Republican agenda and election strategy in devious ways.

In Perth Amboy, another billionaire is seeking to buy votes in an attempt to convert the school board election hidden on the Nov. 6 ballot into an auction.
Hedge fund manager Alan Fournier, of Far Hills, has a school agenda that mirrors those of Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Wilda Diaz and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Fournier and his partner David Tepper, a hedge fund manager from Livingston worth about $5 billion, are seeking to impose “social engineering” on unsuspecting black and Latino students in our poor cities.

The city’s children are Perth Amboy’s most precious asset, but voters need to tell Fournier’s proxy candidates — William Ortiz, Reyes Ortega, Junior Iglesia, and Damaris Gonzalez — that they are not for sale.

Six Perth Amboy school board members voted to remove Superintendent Janine Caffrey, who is incapable of leading the school district because her neoconservative ideology, insubordination, and deliberate attempts to damage the school district.

Three incumbents running for re-election voted to get rid of the treacherous Caffrey, School board president Samuel Lebreault, vice president Kenneth Puccio, and Obdulia Gonzalez. Joining them were Israel Varela, Janelle Rodriguez and Milady Tejeda.

State Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf overturned those votes, even after an Administrative Law judge upheld them. The brash GOP intervention short circuits local control of the schools, and Varela says Christie’s administration would have never pulled such a stunt had the city not had a majority population of Hispanic and black minorities.

Perth Amboy district gets more than 80 percent of its funding, over $180 million per year, from the state as a result of a series of New Jersey Supreme Court rulings intended to ensure that their poor students receive public education in accordance with the state constitution.

If Caffrey can destabilize Perth Amboy’s educational system, conservatives would be able to argue that fair funding “does not work” to justify an end to urban education investments.

New Jersey voters know little about major decisions by the state’s Supreme Court that affect the budget process and the quality of life in the state.

That’s why Republicans are moving to abolish the state’s affordable housing program and court mandates that poorer school districts must be adequately funded. Diaz, who is also on the Nov. 6 ballot seeking re-election as mayor, has sided with the Republicans on both housing and education.

‘The power of the billionaires’ drives the Republican agenda and election strategy, threatening to leave taxpayers with government that prefers spending tax dollar to help Atlantic City casino developers with tax breaks over choices like investing in people, jobs and the future.

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