Dueling petitions in Jersey City over school superintendent contract
Aug 21, 2012 | 2351 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print

JERSEY CITY AND BEYOND – A Jersey City parents' group and the Hudson County Republican Club have launched dueling petitions regarding the contract offered to presumptive Jersey City superintendent of schools, Dr. Marcia Lyles.

Last week, the eight trustees currently on the Jersey City Board of Education failed to ratify Lyles’ contract by a split vote of 4-4. A simple majority vote would have been needed to approve her contract. One seat on the school board is currently vacant, which meant there was no tie-breaking vote.

The four board members who rejected the contract did so, they said, because the contract offered Lyles a generous bonus and benefits package they say is too expensive – on top of her annual salary of $231,000. They also argued that Lyles’ contract did not provide important details regarding expectations for her job description and job performance.

The contract between Lyles and the school board must now be renegotiated.

On Monday the Hudson County Republican Club issued a petition through Change.org asking residents to “stop the insanity.” Citing the salary and benefits package offered to Lyles, the Republican Club’s petition calls on the Board of Education to “uphold the vote to not award the contract.”

The political organization is trying to collect at least 100 signatures and had 40 supporters by Monday night.

Later in the day Parents for Progress, a downtown-based parents group, launched its own petition on Change.org asking the school board trustees not to “fail our children.”

“After a half-year search and two-and-a-half months of contract negotiations, the Board of Ed seemed poised last week to approve the contract for Dr. Marcia Lyles to become the new superintendent,” reads the Parents for Progress petition. “Instead, they voted it down, leaving a leadership void in the few weeks before school starts…Please sign our petition, below, urging the Board of Education to ratify Dr. Lyles's contract.”

Parents for Progress is trying to collect at least 500 signatures and had 320 by Monday night.

Had Lyles’ contract been approved last week she was expected to start her new position on Aug. 20. Now that the contract must be renegotiated and voted on again, it is unclear when she will start. The first day of the 2012-02013 school year is Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The Hudson County Republican Club petition can be found at this link:

here.

The Parents for Progress petition can be found by visiting:

here. – E. Assata Wright

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