Four Middlesex County School Districts To Hold Elections On April 16

MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Just four school districts in Middlesex County will hold elections this April – Cranbury, Edison, Metuchen, and New Brunswick.  However, the larger trend is to hold school elections in November – 33 more communities across the state opted to move their elections to the later date, leaving just 41 that hold to the traditional April date, the New Jersey School Boards Association reported today.

In 2012, 468 school districts conducted November elections. This year, the number of districts with November elections will increase to 501.

In January 2012, a new law gave local boards of education, municipal governing bodies or voters the option to move the annual school election from April to the November General Election. In most of the 501 districts with November elections, the change in date resulted from the local board of education adopting a resolution.

The law was designed to increase participation in the non-partisan school board elections, which typically attracted about 15 percent of registered voters each April. It provides communities with two additional incentives to move their school elections to November.

School boards with November elections do not submit their proposed base budgets to voters, as long as the budget remains at or below the state’s 2-percent tax levy cap. Supporters of the November election option also cite the savings made possible by eliminating the additional election in April. Prior to the law’s enactment, the bill’s sponsors estimated the statewide cost of the April school elections at more than $7 million.

“Valid arguments can be made for both November and April school elections,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director.

“On one hand, November elections increase a district’s budget stability, and eliminate the cost of conducting an additional election,” he explained. “However, a number of school board members believe that retaining April school elections helps to preserve the non-partisan nature of school board office. Also, some feel strongly that the public should retain the right to vote on the proposed school budget.”

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