There were plenty of doubts in the long runup to November’s successful referendum to move Montclair to an elected and independent Board of Education.

In addition to doubts that it would pass, one of the more commonly heard warnings was that if it passed, not enough people would have the time or nerve to run for the school board to produce competitive elections.

But just as it turned out that the doubters were wrong about the referendum’s prospects (it won more votes than any local candidate or cause in Montclair’s recent electoral history), the fears that no candidates would stand up haven’t come to pass. Instead, nine members of the community have thrown their hats into the ring for the first Board of Education contest, a special election for two seats on March 8, to expand the board from seven to nine members.

While I have my favorites among the nine — I will be voting for Melanie Deyscher and Phaedra Dunn — all are worthy candidates and should be applauded for standing up and asking for our votes to serve in this crucial but often punishing volunteer public office.

But now it’s time to address another source of doubt: That the voters will fail to do their part.

So please take the time necessary to educate yourself about the candidates, and the issues surrounding the election, by tuning in to next Thursday’s candidate forum, or reading the results of the candidate survey put out by the Montclair PTA Council. Most importantly, if you are a registered voter in Montclair, make sure to pop by your polling place on March 8, and enjoy your new right to directly elect the people who make educational policy in our township.

Erik D’Amato
Founder and chairman, Vote Montclair


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