Christina Cunha-Moreira and Maria Eliza Lorenz are Elizabeth parents who decided to do something after watching two political factions struggle for control over the city’s schools.
Now, the two moms are running as independent candidates for Board of Education to take politics out of the schools and they are raising some important questions.
Among the things that made them angry, parents were never told about drinking water tests conducted in 2013, that turned up positive for lead in 12 school buildings, including one where a cafeteria water fountain tested at 33 times above the federal limit for lead.
They are also asking why Elizabeth public schools spend more on lawyers than textbooks, heat or electricity. The district paid $5.98 million to attorneys during the 2014-2015 school year, which comes out to $237 spent on lawyers for every student enrolled in the schools. The district’s legal bill dwarfs the amount spent on textbooks, which was $794,000 in the 2014-2015 school year.
Accountability and responsiveness are also features they say are missing. Almost a year ago, the parents questioned the Board of Education during a public meeting about the promotion of a principal who was reportedly accused of sexual harassment by 40 women. That principal was subsequently fired by the school board when a new majority took over.
Cunha-Moreira is a dental hygientist at Chestnut Dental Group, located in Newark, and mother of two children who attend Elizabeth public schools. She is an organizer for Save our Schools NJ, a grass roots organization of parents who believe every child should have access to a high-quality public education.
Lorenz is the former president of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council. The mother of two boys earned a degree in Business Administration and Management from Monroe College and a Masters Degree from Mercy College. She is employed as a human resource representative at a pharmaceutical company.
Before becoming candidates, the women helped establish the Elizabeth Parents and Students Care page to hear concerns from you the community in addition to educating and informing parents.
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