I am in favor of an appointed school board process in Montclair because I believe the best interests of students and employees and residents in Montclair can be achieved by residents who are appointed by a sensitive, responsive mayor. I encourage Montclair voters to vote no on the school governance proposal on their ballots Nov. 2.

I have resided in Montclair since the 1970s and I am proud of the uniqueness of Montclair Public Schools and the great interests of Montclair as related to race, diversity, inclusion and equity. Racial inclusion and diversity have been reflected by every mayor’s appointments. There have always been at least two or more African Americans appointed to the Montclair Board of Education by every mayor in recent history.

I believe the mayor can ensure racial/ethnic and social/economic diversity while also choosing individuals who bring diverse talents, views and skills to the Montclair Board of Education. I encourage voters to appreciate the fact that mayors have opportunities to appoint individuals who reflect and embrace core values of Montclair.

I hope that voters will look beyond current personalities and circumstances and look at what will be best for Montclair longterm.

Appointment by the mayor will alleviate possibilities that party politics will control selection and election of candidates. It eliminates the need for interested persons to raise money and organize infrastructure required by typical election campaigns.

There are no guarantees by either the appointed or elected school board process. The public must hold board of education members accountable for focusing on the educational needs of children and needs of Board of Education employees, as well as the desires of Montclair residents. The mayor is more likely to be fully aware of and responsive to the views and values that created the uniqueness of the racial integrated high performing public school system.

Please vote no on the school governance proposal on Nov. 2.

James Harris


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