|Board Member, Jersey City School Board, At-large|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 5, 2013|
Morris resides in Jersey City, New Jersey. Morris earned a Bachelor's degree from DePaul University before moving to Jersey City to help his father establish the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where he serves as an associate minister and counselor. He is employed as a detective with the Jersey City Police Department.
Morris and ten other candidates challenged incumbent Gerald Lyons for one of three at-large seats with three-year terms in the general election on November 5, 2013. Lyons was a member of the "Children First" slate of candidates, which included Lorenzo Richardson and Gina Verdibello for the three-year term seats and Angel Valentin for the one-year term seat. A separate slate of candidates endorsed by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop campaigned under the name "Candidates for Excellence," which included Micheline Amy, Jessica Daye and Ellen Simon for the three-year term seats and Carol Lester for the one-year term seat.
|Jersey City Public Schools, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2013|
|Nonpartisan||Gerald Lyons Incumbent||8.9%||3,950|
|Nonpartisan||Kevaan G. Walton||6.2%||2,770|
|Nonpartisan||Carol L. Gabriel||2.7%||1,214|
|Nonpartisan||Telissa E. Dowling||1.4%||608|
|Source: Hudson County Clerk, "Official Election Results," November 14, 2013|
Morris reported no contributions or expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Morris did not receive any official endorsements for his campaign.
|Jersey City Public Schools, At-large General Election, 3-year term, 2012|
|Nonpartisan||Gerald M. Lyons||13.5%||2,968|
|Nonpartisan||Jayson H. Burg||1.9%||415|
|Source: Hudson County, New Jersey, "2012 School Board Election," accessed October 28, 2013|
Morris's campaign website listed his "ABC Plan" campaign themes for 2013:
Everyone involved in the education of our most valuable resource, our children, should have clearly defined, measurable goals. Students, parents, teachers, staff, school board, and the community should all know specific things that they can do to improve the educational outcomes for our young people.
If the expectations are known, measurements are taken, results assessed, and constructive criticism applied – the process will improve.
The end result will be more graduates who are better equipped to excel as their lives progress.
There is perhaps no area where the sheer size of the issue creates more complications. The proposed Jersey City School District budget is about 660 Million dollars this year.
In spite of the fairly continuous complaints from most of the board members about how inadequate this staggering sum is, it’s still a lot of money! And, with the economy being what it is, it’s unlikely that there will be much in the way of budget increases in coming years.
These two facts make it that much more important for the school board to scrutinize details and put accountability measures in place that will insure expenditures are going directly to improving students’ educational outcomes. Every effort must be made to eliminate current wasteful spending and avoid further wasteful spending in the future.
Because of the sheer size of the budget it would be impossible for the vast majority of people to go through, let alone understand, all the detail. That’s why there is a professional financial staff that should be available to answer all public inquires in a timely manner without obstacles of bureaucracy.
The board is responsible for working with the staff in order to set fiscal expectations and analyze outcomes. There also need to be policies in place that insure transparency so that parents and other taxpayers can see how their tax dollars are being utilized.
By requiring accountability the board will promote fiscal discipline and insure that the classroom is the beneficiary of the budget.
Perhaps the most important component of the ABC Plan is the following: the members of the community must actively engage in the effort to improve the educational outcomes for our students.
For the maximum success to flow to our young people, everyone has to take an active role in the process, such as parents, religious leaders and leaders in our neighborhoods.
The school district cannot do it alone. But the district should take the lead in reaching out to the community, promoting parental rights and bringing all representatives together.
By stressing ways to develop unity, where possible, provide support and guidance, where necessary, and involve the community – with the emphasis on parents – the district will lead the way in overcoming many of the barriers that currently stand in the way of academic success for many of our students
Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.
What was at stake?
There were four seats on the school board up for election on November 5, 2013. Incumbents Carol Lester and Angel Valentin filed to run against one another for the single at-large seat with an unexpired one-year term, while fellow incumbent Gerald Lyons competed against 11 challengers for three at-large seats with three-year terms. Incumbent Sterling Waterman did not file for re-election. Josephine Paige, Peter A. Basso and Jay Cordero initially announced runs for the three-year term seats, but all three withdrew from the race before November.
Alleged board meeting incivility
During a candidate forum held on October 24, Ellen Simon criticized Lorenzo Richardson for comments he made during a school board meeting in July, 2012 shortly after the hiring of district superintendent Marcia V. Lyles. Richardson had denounced the controversial hiring decision and told the board, "My advice to all of you board members: Whoever has a gun to your head, let them pull the trigger. At least you will die with respect. OK? Cause if I was in that position, I’d tell them to pull the trigger." Simon argued that this was symbolic of the degree of incivility common at Jersey City school board meetings and that Richardson had spoken inappropriately. She added that, "This rhetoric has no place in a board of education. [...]And this kind of incivility is what has torn the board apart." Richardson defended his comments, insisting that he meant the board should ignore pressure from the New Jersey state government to hire Lyles, not that he meant they should commit suicide for their decision.
About the district
- See also: Jersey City Public Schools, New Jersey
Hudson County underperformed in comparison to the rest of New Jersey in terms of its median rates of average household income and poverty rate but outperformed the state average in higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in Hudson County was $57,660 compared to $71,180 for the state of New Jersey. The poverty rate in Hudson County was 15.1% compared to 9.4% for the entire state. The US Census also found that 35.3% of Hudson County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 35.0% in New Jersey.
Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100.0%. Each column will add up to 100.0% after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "DeJon + Morris + Jersey + City + Public + School"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- DeJon V. Morris, "Why vote?," accessed October 31, 2013
- Terrence McDonald, The Jersey Journal, "Fans, critics of Jersey City schools chief to face off in school board race," October 30, 2013
- New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Standard Search," accessed December 20, 2013
- DeJon V. Morris, "ABC Plan," accessed October 21, 2013
- Terrence McDonald, The Jersey Journal, "Shake-ups in Jersey City school board race; three hopefuls drop out," October 15, 2013
- Terrence McDonald, The Jersey Journal, "Testy exchanges dominate Jersey City school board candidate forum," October 25, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Hudson County, New Jersey," accessed October 28, 2013
- State of New Jersey Department of State, "Statewide Voter Registration Summary," accessed October 27, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
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