School Election Date May Get Moved in Hillsborough
Eighty-seven percent of state school districts hold their elections in November.
The Hillsborough Board of Education may consider whether to keep its annual election in April or switch it to the November general election.
Board member Gregory Gillette said at Monday’s board meeting that the district may review its decision to keep the election in April after reviewing how other districts, who switched to the November election this year, fare in November.
This is the first year that New Jersey school districts had the option of switching the election from the third Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday in November when most other elections, from president to township committee, are held.
The law, signed by Gov. Chris Christie in January, eliminates the requirement for school boards to put their proposed school budgets on the ballot as long as the budget remains at or below the state's 2-percent levy cap.
The law was changed to promote more participation in the school election. Turnout in the school election statewide has averaged less than 15 percent, with 2010, at the depth of the state’s fiscal crisis, an exception when turnout reached 26 percent.
According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, a total of 468 school districts moved to November elections, but 73, including Hillsborough, decided to keep the school election in April.
In February, the board voted 8-1 to keep the school election in April.
Fifteen Somerset County school districts will hold their elections in November. Only neighboring Montgomery kept the school election in April.
Gillette said that Superintendent of Schools Jorden Schiff has prepared a list of pros and cons of having the election in November.
“There may be more pros than cons,” Gillette said.
Gillette said the board will review Schiff’s list and see the first November elections in other school districts work.
The district must make a decision on the switch before the filing deadline for candidates early next year.