The rumor mill is abuzz in Montclair. Here’s the latest: When Mayor Sean Spiller, current Vice President of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) and incoming NJEA President, has an opening on the Montclair School Board, he lets the president of the Montclair Education Association select Montclair School Board members.
Montclair is one of only 11 school districts in New Jersey where the Mayor chooses school board membes. In all other 573 NJ districts the public elects its representatives.
Let’s take a step back. Last night Montclair school board member Sergio Gonzalez announced at the public board meeting that Spiller had terminated his appointment. In his full statement he describes the school boards’s “dysfunction,” “misgovernance,” and “fictional” independence. One example: appointments to the board’s negotiating committee are contingent on an interview with the current MEA President, who also happens is currently a candidate for NJEA Treasurer.
In other words, Montclair teacher union president Petal Robinson, who is NJEA’s incoming Treasurer, picks the school board members who will negotiate with her and other union members on the teacher contract.
And Petal Robinson, along with her NJEA partner Mayor Spiller, now will choose an adequately subservient replacement for Sergio Gonzalez.
NJ Education Report spoke to two sources, both of whom would neither confirm nor deny the rumor. Also, there is a campaign by Vote Montclair to convert Montclair’s school board from mayoral-appointed to an elected one. Click on the link for the petition.