The deadline to file for candidacy for three seats on the Ocean City Board of Education passed at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and three incumbents and one newcomer submitted petitions to run in the November 2012 election.
Incumbents H. James Bauer, Peter V. Madden and Thomas R. Oves Jr. will seek re-election, and Jacqueline A. McAllister will seek her first term.
Voters in November will choose three candidates to serve three-year terms on the board.
A fourth vacancy will be created when Antwan McClellan steps down from the board on June 30 to take a seat on City Council July 1. Tiffany Prettyman was appointed last month to serve in his place until after the November election, and candidates will have until Sept. 7 to submit petitions to run for the remainder of his term, which expires after 2014.
The school board includes nine members from Ocean City, who are elected in staggered years, and three members from Upper Township, who are appointed to one-year terms.
Oves led the polls in the 2009 school election with 905 votes in a six-candidate race. He was followed by Madden (673 votes) and Bauer (660 votes).
Bauer is the current vice president of the board. Madden is a former president, and Oves is a facilities subcommittee chair. McAllister, an Egg Harbor Township teacher and Ocean City resident, has been a regular at school board meetings — advocating for the board to make the "small decisions" that she says can make a big difference in a student's education.
For the first time this year, elections will move to November and potentially produce greater turnout as they'll be part of the general election for U.S. president and Congress.
The Ocean City Board of Education voted unanimously in January to approve a resolution that moved the date of the annual school elections. The measure also eliminated public voting on school budgets that fall under the state's 2 percent cap on tax levy increases.
Gov. Chris Christie had signed a bill earlier in January that gave school districts the ability to move the election to the same day as the general election in November.
Read an FAQ on guidelines for the new election law released by the state on Jan. 26.
The law’s supporters say moving the vote to November could increase voter turnout as the city selects its school board members — just 10.71 percent of the city's registered voters turned out for Ocean City's uncontested elections in April 2011.
The move will also save the district the cost of running a separate election in the spring — typically more than $15,000.
In signing the new bill, Christie suggested the new state cap on school taxes serves as a check and balance on tax increases in the same way the public vote does. The public will still get to vote on school budgets that exceed the cap.
School board members whose terms expired in April are serving until a January reorganization meeting after the November election. The school elections remain nonpartisan.