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‘Education Matters’ slate wins in Jersey City school board election

The candidates had the support of the Jersey City Education Association

Afaf Muhummad, Christopher Tisdale, and Noemi Velazquez (Photo by Mark Koosau)

The Education Matters slate, with the backing of the local teacher’s union, has prevailed in the race for the Jersey City Board of Education. The slate consisted of returning incumbent Noemi Velazquez, an incumbent who ran on the opposing slate for her first term, Christopher Tisdale, a teacher who’s a newcomer to politics and Afaf Muhammed, an independent candidate from last year.

In recent years, control of the city school board has primarily become a battle between two slates, one backed by the Jersey City Education Association and another backed by real estate developers.

The opposing slate, Change for Children, consisted of trustee Alexander Hamilton, along with newcomers Kenny Reyes and Doris Toni Ervin on the sidelines.

Velazquez, who has been an at-large member for the Board of Ed since 2019 and who voted for the $973 million school budget, said her focus would be on improving teacher’s wages and school infrastructure.

Tisdale, who is an educator and has taught in both Englewood and New Jersey, advocated for better curricula in the city’s school system.

Muhammad, who is a mother of four daughters, and has served as president of the parent council of Mahatma K. Gandhi School, P.S. 23, ran her candidacy on bringing conversations of mental health to the table of school discussion.

Throughout his campaign leading up to elections, Hamilton opposed the school budget tax increase and said if elected he would hire a budget advisor to stop what he called the “tax shell game,” between them and the state, county and city, as covered by the Hudson Reporter at public hearings.

Independents Isnel Sanon and Ahsan Nawaz were defeated. Sanon, who ran his campaign taking about creating more programs focused on bridging students with technical jobs after graduation, said if elected would also review the tax budget increase.

Nawaz, a real estate agent, had the lowest voter turnout out of all the candidates.

The total unoffficial votes cast 71,366, with a total number of 38,636 for all three candidates in the Education Matters slate. Velazquez was the top vote getter with 14,254. Tisdale received 12,542, and Muhammad came in third with 11,840 votes, according unofficial results posted to the Hudson County Clerk Office website.

The total votes cast for the Change for Children slate totaled 26,804 cast votes. Sanon received a total vote of 3,506 Nawaz received a total of 2,143, and Hamilton won 9,374.

Voter turnout in this election cycle was 26 percent of all registered voters. 

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Jordan Coll can be reached at jcoll@hudsonreporter.com.

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