Israel Varela

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Israel Varela
Israel Varela.jpg
Perth Amboy Board of Education, At-large
Term ends
November 2016
Years in position 4
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedApril 20, 2010
Term limitsN/A
ProfessionBusiness owner
Office website
Israel Varela is an at-large member of the Perth Amboy Board of Education in New Jersey. He first won election to the board in 2010. Varela won re-election on November 5, 2013 against eight other candidates for three available seats.


Varela is the owner of Unitech Autobody in Perth Amboy.[1] He is a board member of the Business Improvement District. Varela has been involved in the community as a karate instructor as well as a T-ball coach.[2]



See also: Perth Amboy Public Schools elections (2013)


Varela sought re-election to the board against eight other candidates in the November 5, 2013 general election. He ran with challengers Anthony Bermudez and Samuel Lebreault as part of the Together for Quality Schools slate.[3]


Perth Amboy Board of Education, At-large General election, 3-year term, 2013, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngIsrael Varela Incumbent 17.1% 1,741
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAnthony Bermudez 16.4% 1,666
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSamuel Lebreault 15.3% 1,559
     Nonpartisan Mark Carvajal Incumbent 11.4% 1,161
     Nonpartisan Anton J. Massopust Incumbent 10.7% 1,090
     Nonpartisan Reyes Ortega 10.4% 1,061
     Nonpartisan Benjamin L. Salerno 10.1% 1,026
     Nonpartisan Junior Iglesia 4.6% 472
     Nonpartisan Damaris Isales 3.9% 392
Total Votes 10,168
Source: Middlesex County, "Election Results," November 12, 2013</ref>


Varela reported no contributions or expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.[4]


Varela did not receive any endorsements in this election.


Varela won election to the board along with Mark Carvajal and Kurt Rebovich, Jr. on April 20, 2010.

Perth Amboy Board of Education, April 20, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMark Carvajal 38.2% 841
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKurt Rebovich, Jr. 32.5% 717
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngIsrael Varela 29.3% 646
Total Votes 2,204
Source: City of Perth Amboy

What was at stake?

Incumbents Varela, Mark Carvajal and Anton J. Massopust sought re-election to the board. They were challenged by six other candidates for three available seats.


Tense relationship with superintendent

The Board of Education and Superintendent Janine Caffrey have developed a contentious relationship over the past four years. Caffrey has been removed by board votes in April and October 2012 but remained in office due to the intervention of the New Jersey Education Commissioner. These suspensions occurred because of allegations that Caffrey circumvented the board when implementing counseling programs and manipulated contracts to avoid bidding procedures.[5] The board voted in October 2013 to remove Caffrey and seek an interim superintendent to serve through June 2014. Board member William Ortiz noted after the vote that the district is seeking someone with "emotional IQ with people" to replace Caffrey.[6] Judge Kimberly Moss rejected Caffrey's appeal for reinstatement on November 7.[7]

Caffrey countered that board members Varelas, Obdulia Gonzalez and Milady Tejada were deflecting attention from state ethics investigations. The Office of Administrative Law held hearings on October 16 into accusations of ethics violations by the three board members. Gonzalez, Tejada and Varela were accused of colluding with local unions to increase pressure for Caffrey's removal and paying reporters to write inaccurate stories about the superintendent. The second allegation stemmed from local reports that Caffrey spent time in a mental health hospital in 2009.[6]

Residency questions

In April 2013, Superintendent Caffrey alleged that Varelas resided in Hunterdon County rather than Perth Amboy. This allegation led to a heated discussion where Varelas argued that he spends weekdays in the district and his son goes to high school in Hunterdon County. Caffrey cited enrollment forms that listed an address in Flemington as well as informal discussions with residents familiar with the Varelas family. A May 2013 investigation by the New Jersey Education Commission found no evidence to substantiate Caffrey's claims. Varelas claimed that his ethnicity contributed to Caffrey's efforts at removal from the board.[8]

About the district

See also: Perth Amboy Public Schools, New Jersey
Perth Amboy Public Schools is located in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Perth Amboy is located along the Raritan River in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The population of Perth Amboy was 50,814 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[9]


Perth Amboy lagged behind state rates for poverty, median income and higher education achievement in 2010. The city had a poverty rate of 19.9% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 9.4%. The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Perth Amboy's median income at $45,369 while the state median income was $71,180. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (15%) was below the state average (35%).[9]

Racial Demographics, 2010[9]
Race Perth Amboy (%) New Jersey (%)
White 50.3 68.6
Black or African American 10.5 13.7
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.1 0.3
Asian 1.7 8.3
Two or More Races 5.6 2.7
Hispanic or Latino 78.1 17.7

Presidential Voting Pattern[10]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 82.5 16.9
2008 86.9 12.3
2004 - -
2000 - -

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.[11]

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See also

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