UPDATE: At 9:14 pm, with all polling places counted, the referendum on the elected school board in Montclair has failed. 42.34% voted Yes, 57.66% voted No.
“We fought a good fight,” said referendum organizer Pegi Adam. “We got a dialogue going. We’re proud of Montclair. We’re proud of ourselves. We started people questioning. We started people watching.”
In the governor’s race, statewide, at 9:40 pm, with 53% of precincts counted statewide, Christie was leading Corzine, 49% to 45%. Daggett trailed with 5% of the vote.
The Elect the Board Committee (ETB) wishes the vote had gone for an elected board of education, but is delighted that the voters of Montclair had the opportunity to express their opinion. “We take pride in the fact that by placing the referendum on the ballot, we engaged the community in a much needed dialogue abut the change that’s needed in our Board of Education,” said Pegi Adam, chair of the committee. “We cast a spotlight on this entity, the way members are selected and the sad lack of transparency and responsiveness that have been the modus operandi. Hopefully, this campaign will result in change. Hopefully, our mayor will refine and carry out his proposal for changing the selection process – far from perfect, but a step in the right direction.”
Mary Beth Rosenthal, an opponent of the elected school board, told Channel 34, “While we’re certainly grateful that the town has voted to retain that structure, there’s a lot of work ahead.”
“I really hope that we as a community can come together to talk about the things we agree on,” Rosenthal said. Otherwise, “we’re going to be wasting our time yelling at each other.”
Adam congratulated her opponents on the school board issue, then left for Just Jake’s on Park Street where her coalition watched results. Despite the loss, the mood was bright. Councilor Cary Africk said he was pleased with the vote, which he said proved “people want to be heard.”
“I’m really excited that we have some closure on the election,” said Montclair Councilor Rich Murnick. But he added, “The numbers show we need to make some changes.We’re at Code Red, and we’ve got to see things change.”
Supporters of an appointed school board celebrated at the Erie Saloon, where they presented a $400 check to the Montclair Pre-K.