Morris School District Elections Will Remain in April

Board opts to wait and see how November election switches play out across state.

If they chose to move school elections to November, the Morris School District would be locked into that decision for at least four years.

That, ultimately, lead the Board of Education not to follow the sweeping trend statewide and change their current April election schedule on Monday night. Unlike the four-year committment required to switch, the Board can revisit the option for next year.

By staying in April, it also allows voters to continue to vote on the schools budget, regarding of whether or not it is over or under the state-mandated 2-percent cap.

The majority of Board members, and Superintendent of Schools Thomas Ficarra, indicated at the meeting that less than a month () was not enough time to fully-absorb it and its impact on the district.

"We have always made decisions carefully and thoughtfully, and only after we have provided ourselves enough time to thoroughly analyze an issue and its long-term consequences," Ficarra said. "We have not had sufficient opportunity to do that."

One of the selling points many statewide in favor of the move has been potential cost-savings. While Ficarra said there would have been a savings by moving elections to November, he said it had been estimated to be only 83 cents per household in Morristown, $1.05 per household in Morris Township.

"There seems to be a lot of questions in the law itself," Board of Education member Nancy Bangiola said. "As we are voting on this."

Another issue brought up by some, including board member Lisa Pollack, was that–even though BOE candidates would not need to declare a party in November elections–there still may be the potential for school issues to become "political footballs" in November.

"We can't make this decision in this timeframe," Board President Lynn Horowitz said. "If we move, it's a four-year committment."

Also, board member Angela Rieck said, "It gives us a chance to see how the other boards will do with the November move."

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