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Newark Board of Education candidates to talk school safety, test scores, charter schools at forum before April 25 elections

Newark Board of Education

Candidates will take questions from students and members of the community

Elections for the Newark Board of Education are coming up in two weeks. You can livestream a candidates’ forum April 12 at 6pm on YouTube and Facebook at https://youtube.com/live/5FOIvepQ2YY?feature=share and/or https://www.facebook.com/events/236426715550873/.

Ron Chaluisan of the Newark Trust for Education, which along with another nonprofit, Project Ready, is hosting the event, said one important issue involves charter schools.

“There’s people who feel that people are running for the Newark Board of Education who are more charter advocates than district advocates and then there’s a question as to whether or not they have the best interests of the district schools (at heart),” he said.

Other important issues, he said, are school safety and low test scores.

“The notion of a kid’s safety in neighborhoods coming and going to school, in the school building, is something that parents definitely are concerned about and want to make sure that the school board is thinking about and has policies in place,” he said.

And as for test scores and the effects of the pandemic on learning, Chaluisan said that in the last testing cycle “the proficiency in literacy and proficiency in math were pretty low, there are questions again for the board members around understanding that that has occurred, understanding that there were these interruptions to the educational program what policies, practices are you putting in place?”

Candidates will share their ideas, values, and visions for Newark and its educational system – and answer questions submitted by community members, including students. They will also be asked to address questions about the $1.3 billion proposed school budget for next year, which is largely controlled by the Board of Education.

Chaluisan urged people to get out and vote on April 25, saying turnout is usually very low.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.