Bayonne Board of Education Vice President Christopher Munoz is criticizing Mayor James Davis and his administration for not attending a recent important meeting.
Munoz said that the Board of Education hosted a long-term strategic planning meeting for the school district on June 28.
“This meeting was vital to decide what we want do with the St. Andrew’s property and how we want this school district to look in the next 20 years,” Munoz said in a statement. “All vested parties were invited including state assembly representatives, Bayonne City Council, union representatives, Mayor, BBOED Trustees, district administration, etc.”
While Munoz was glad to see some major players in attendance, such as Assemblyman William Sampson, Munoz was displeased that Davis or anyone from the city or city council did not show up.
“I was disappointed that our Mayor and city council did not show up to the meeting; not one city representative,” Munoz said. “I guess the election is over. Our students, teachers, staff, and community matter.”
He continued: “Thank you Assemblyman Sampson, BEA President Gene Woods, and BPSAA President Tim Craig for being there and being a part of the process.”
Determined to speak with officials on the matter, Munoz said he will attend the next meeting of the City Council to discuss the matter with city representatives.
“We the Bayonne Board of Education Trustees continue to try to work with the city administration because that is what is in the best interest of our schools and our community,” Munoz said. “So, if they will not come to us. I will go to them. I will see them at the next city council meeting.”
Munoz: a man on a mission?
Now, Munoz said he will attend the next Bayonne City Council meeting on July 20 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.
Previously, Munoz has attended council meetings where he spoke out against the 1,250-unit “Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor” redevelopment by Boraie Development and advocated for a percentage of the payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement to be distributed to the school district. He cited the overcrowded nature of the current facilities in the district, and the problems additional students would pose without additional resources.
In response to his requests, the City Council voted unanimously to pass an impromptu resolution reallocating 10 percent of the funds received by the city for the project to the school district at its April Meeting.
Some on the council who were running on the Team Davis slate in the 2022 non-partisan municipal election, such as First Ward City Councilman Neil Carroll, criticized the move at the time as “political theatre” since Munoz’s cousin Julie Sanchez Lynch was running for the First Ward council seat on then-City Council President and mayoral candidate Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski’s slate and possibly because Munoz donated to Ashe-Nadrowski’s campaign.
However, Munoz had the backing of six other Board of Education members with him at the time, and he underscored that he was a public official advocating for the children of the district.
Even after the election was over, Munoz returned before the board in May, again with the backing of a number of trustees from the Board of Education. That time, he wanted to ensure the district would actually receive 10 percent of the PILOT funds, noting that resolutions are non-binding.
Additionally, he again wanted to dispel any notion of political bias in his advocacy for more money for the school district from the massive redevelopment project. In response, Law Director Jay Coffey said the council could pass a binding ordinance in the future, but it was unlikely to contradict the already passed resolution. No other action was taken and the conversation did not continue at the June meeting, but it will likely resume in July.
Davis did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.