Ocean City's first November election for Board of Education members will feature four candidates running for three seats and one running unopposed to finish an unexpired term.
Tiffany Prettyman was the only candidate to file a petition by Sept. 7 to run for the seat vacated when Antwan McClellan was elected to City Council and took office on July 1. She will run unopposed to finish the remaining two years of his three-year term.
Prettyman currently sits on the school board. She had been appointed by the board to fill in for McClellan until the Nov. 6 election.
Voters in November also will choose three candidates to serve full three-year terms on the board.
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.
Prettyman served on the Ocean City Board of Education for three years until 2010. She is a social studies teacher at Mainland Regional High School, parent of two Ocean City schoolchildren (eighth-grader Phoebe and fifth-grader Chloe) and wife of Ocean City Police Capt. Jay Prettyman.
She was appointed in May to replace McClellan.
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.
The school elections remain nonpartisan.