Montclair is a promise coupled with hope. Our progressive values run deep. My husband is Haitian and I Caucasian, our core values align with inclusion. This town honors representation and equality. Unfortunately, I don’t feel represented or do I believe that my voice matters in our current town government.

I have grappled with this decision and have spent many moments listening to the various points of view on keeping the status quo or making a change to a Type II district. To my dismay, I am an outsider and we are a family without a voice. I want the opportunity to find qualified policy makers to help us bring the schools’ infrastructure into the 21st century. I know that the opportunity to have an annual election for three candidates will keep Montclair’s most important asset, our children, in the forefront.

The last thing we need is more turnover and change in district leadership. Dr. Jonathan Ponds is the leader that we need. If you vote no on question three, you will be empowering the union boss, who probably doesn’t like the guy that sued to get the kids back in school, to appoint three more members in the spring that will have a mandate to find new leadership. And don’t think we will get a high quality replacement after the revolving door of superintendents.

My best shot right now at effecting change is through three minutes of public comment. Or, maybe I can get on the inside with one of our shadow government groups that are currently influencing appointments. Regardless, the deck is stacked against me having a voice. I’ve heard the fear mongering on the risk to the magnets if we vote yes. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If there is one thing that we can agree upon: The magnets are part of our DNA. And I do not believe an elected board would jeopardize it.

My voice matters. Yours does, too. But, today, the influence driving policy for my children comes from this shadow government. Let’s vote yes and show our children that democracy means all voices matter.

Christine Joanis


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