If Pegi Adam has her way, Montclair voters will be asked on the Nov. 3 general election ballot if they want to elect their own school board, rather than having it appointed by the mayor. Adam and supporters have started circulating a petition and now have about 300 signatures. They need 911 verified signatures, she says, to get the initiative on the ballot.
“I truly just got fed up,” said Adam, who started MontclairWatch.org, an internet watchdog group, two years ago. “I got fed up with having people complain. I got fed up with going to Board of Ed meetings and getting patronized. A lot of parents are lined up to sign this petition.”
The movement draws on a wellspring of resentment about rising school budgets in a time of fiscal crisis. But Adam insists that the effort is more about choice than it is about dollars.
“Is it going to save money? Maybe,” she said. “But at least the people in the town are going to decide if they want to pass budgets or not pass budgets. One of the reasons for living in a small town is that people vote. It’s a perfect microcosm of democracy.”
The petition to make Montclair’s school board elected can be found here. Volunteers are also circulating it at the Montclair Farmer’s Market, at local train stations and in front of the CVS in Upper Montclair. Pegi Adam can be reached here.