This year’s West New York Board of Education elections, held on Nov. 5, will feature a familiar clash involving a tangle of political alliances. An old political rift has been reopened by two full slates opposing each other, operating under the slogans, “Your Children’s Future” and “Save Our Schools.”
While the slogans are the same as those in prior elections, the slates include some newcomers.
Municipal politics spilled over into the school board in the past several school board elections, as these two factions went head to head.
‘Your Children’s Future’
This year, the “Your Children’s Future” slate includes three candidates seeking three-year terms. Everyone who ran on the “Your Children’s Future” ticket supported now-Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez and his team’s bid in the May 14 municipal election.
Sitting school board president Adam Parkinson and Vice President David Morel are two of the three incumbents in the race. They have first-time candidate Marielka Diaz on their team this year.
Parkinson was a vocal supporter of Rodriguez’s “New Beginnings” ticket in the May 14 municipal elections, and has been the school board’s president since 2016.
In 2018, three other candidates, Jonathan Castaneda, Adrienne Sires, and Joseph Rodriguez, successfully won school board trustee seats under the “Your Children’s Future” ticket. The “Your Children’s Future” teams from both 2018 and 2019 are allies.
In 2018, then-mayor Felix Roque opposed the “Your Children’s Future” team.
Should “Your Children’s Future” pull off a clean sweep this year, allies Adam Parkinson, David Morel, Marielka Diaz, Jonathan Castaneda, Adrienne Sires, and Joseph Rodriguez will have a solid majority on the nine-person board.
‘Save Our Schools’
The other full slate of candidates are operating under the “Save Our Schools” banner. It includes incumbent Ron Scheurle, who was first elected to the school board in 2016, and was the only one from the “Save Our Schools” slate to be elected that year. Scheurle ran successfully for a commissioner seat in the May 14 municipal election.
Alex Navas, who ran with Scheurle unsuccessfully in 2016, is back with him in a full slate this year. In the 2016 election, Navas lost to Adam Parkinson by a razor-thin margin of five votes. Scheurle and Navas are joined by first-time candidate Carlos Guerrero.
German Chapin is the standalone independent on this year’s ballot, running under the aptly named “Chapin 4 B.O.E.” slogan.
Chapin, a barbershop owner, serves as a vice chairman on the town’s zoning board of adjustment, and is also a committee member for the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
Chapin ran in 2016, but was disqualified from ballot nomination after the County Clerk’s Office said he delivered petitions with invalid signatures. Shortly after losing a spot on the ballot, he pulled out of the race.
With a little over two months to go before voters decide who will fill three of the three-year terms up for grabs, residents should brace themselves for a slew of proposals to improve West New York’s School District.