Perth Amboy Public Schools elections (2013)
Method of election
What was at stake?
Perth Amboy Public Schools
Three seats were up for election on the Perth Amboy Board of Education. Nine candidates sought election to the board on November 5, 2013. Israel Varela, Anthony Bermudez and Samuel Lebreault defeated six challengers to win three at-large seats.
The Board of Education recently suspended Superintendent Janine Caffrey for the third time in the past two years. Caffrey had been reinstated twice by the New Jersey Commissioner of Education after investigations into claims of misstating facts during board meetings and failure to follow bidding procedures for contracts. If Caffrey's administrative leave is not overturned by state officials, the board will choose an interim superintendent to serve until a full-time replacement is selected by June 2014.
About the district
- See also: Perth Amboy Public Schools, New Jersey
Perth Amboy lagged behind the state poverty rate based on the 2010 U.S. Census. 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%).
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 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.
Method of board member selection
The Perth Amboy Board of Education consists of nine members elected at-large to three-year terms. There was no primary election and the general election was held on November 5, 2013. Three seats are up for election each year.
Candidates for the Board of Education must be 18 years old, reside within the district and submit nominating petitions to the county clerk by the filing deadline. The district moved board elections from the third Tuesday of April to the first Tuesday of November after a 2012 state law provided greater flexibility for local election officials.
- Anthony Bermudez
- Officer, Middlesex County Sheriff's Office
- Veteran, U.S. Army
- Mark Carvajal
- Member, Perth Amboy Democratic Committee
- Junior Iglesia
- Third-grade teacher
- Damaris Isales
- Samuel Lebreault
- Graduate, New Jersey Institute of Technology
- Engineer, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
- Anton J. Massopust
- Graduate, Villanova University
- Retired teacher
- Reyes Ortega
- Business owner
- President, Perth Amboy Merchants Association
- Benjamin L. Salerno
- Detective, Perth Amboy Police Department
- Israel Varela
- Owner, Unitech Autobody
|Perth Amboy Board of Education, At-large General election, 3-year term, 2013, 2013|
|Nonpartisan||Israel Varela Incumbent||17.1%||1,741|
|Nonpartisan||Mark Carvajal Incumbent||11.4%||1,161|
|Nonpartisan||Anton J. Massopust Incumbent||10.7%||1,090|
|Nonpartisan||Benjamin L. Salerno||10.1%||1,026|
|Source: Middlesex County, "Election Results," November 12, 2013</ref>|
Candidates received a total of $10,586.09 and spent a total of $1,205.00 during the election, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
|Candidate||Contributions||Expenditures||Cash on hand|
|Anton J. Massopust||$5.00||$5.00||$0.00|
|Benjamin L. Salerno||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Perth Amboy Board of Education, November 6, 2012|
|Nonpartisan||Kenneth J. Puccio||12.6%||1,785|
|Nonpartisan||Nina Perkins Nieves||9.5%||1,347|
|Nonpartisan||Benjamin L. Salerno||7.7%||1,092|
|Source: City of Perth Amboy|
What was at stake?
Tense relationship with superintendent
The Board of Education and Superintendent Janine Caffrey have developed a contentious relationship over the past three 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. 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. Judge Kimberly Moss rejected Caffrey's appeal for reinstatement on November 7.
Caffrey has countered that board members Obdulia Gonzalez, Milady Tejada and Israel Varela are 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 are 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 stems from local reports that Caffrey spent time in a mental health hospital in 2009.
The following dates were key deadlines for the Perth Amboy Board of Education election in 2013:
|June 4, 2013||Last day for filing nominating petitions in school board elections|
|June 10, 2013||Last day to challenge nominating petitions in school board elections|
|August 12, 2013||County clerk draws ballot positions for candidates|
|September 6, 2013||Last day for candidates to withdraw from genera election ballot|
|November 5, 2013||General election|
|December 3, 2013||Certification of election results by Board of State Canvassers|
Additional elections on the ballot
The Perth Amboy Board of Education elections shared the ballot with state elections. Residents of Perth Amboy casted ballots for Governor along with seats in the New Jersey State Assembly and New Jersey State Senate. The November 5 ballot included proposed constitutional amendments that would establish cost of living adjustments for the state minimum wage and use gaming profits for veterans' organizations.
- New Jersey
- Perth Amboy Public Schools, New Jersey
- Middlesex County, New Jersey ballot measures
- Financial policies, education standards at stake in November school board elections
- School board election wrap-up: Incumbents re-elected overwhelmingly in November 5 elections
- School board elections review: Voters opt for experience over new blood in nation's largest school districts
- 2010 U.S. Census, "Quick Facts: Perth Amboy," accessed October 21, 2013
- City of Perth Amboy, "General Election Results," accessed October 21, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- NJ.com, "Scores of N.J. school districts moving elections from April to November," February 26, 2012
- New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Standard Search," accessed December 27, 2013
- NJ.com, "Perth Amboy school board puts superintendent on paid leave," April 25, 2013
- NJ.com, "Perth Amboy superintendent may be out for good; continues to collect $177,500 salary," October 3, 2013
- MyCentralJersey.com, "Judge rules Perth Amboy schools chief will not be returning to work soon," November 8, 2013
- New Jersey Department of State, "2013 General Election Timeline," accessed October 21, 2013
- New Jersey Department of State, "2013 Election Information," accessed October 21, 2013