Is the Wall school board the worst job in New Jersey? Here’s why no one is running for BOE

October 16, 2023

In many ways, Wall is a microcosm of a statewide and national trend: In short, nobody wants to run for the school board anymore.

Across New Jersey, voters in at least 90 municipalities will head to the polls without enough candidates to choose from when it comes to electing members of their local or regional school board, according to an Asbury Park Press review of sample ballots and candidate lists. In 48 of those towns, there isn’t a single candidate for at least one seat.

In total, about 16% of school boards in New Jersey have less candidates than open seats, and about 7% of school boards have an open seat without any candidates filing for election. There are also four council races and seven fire district races that don’t have enough filed candidates to fill the open seats, including five without any candidates.

“It’s not good for our schools, and it’s not good for our democracy,” said Rutgers University professor Julia Sass-Rubin, director of the public policy program at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. “It’s worrisome, from a democracy and good government perspective, that people would get written in with no debates or discussions. You’re putting people into these potentially powerful positions.

And when there are multiple vacancies on a board without any candidates, like in Wall, it can mean a complete shift in a school board’s agenda without any transparency, Sass-Rubin said.

“With three people, you really have the power to steer the board in a certain direction. You can really sabotage the process this way — politicize it and take it in a very partisan direction that’s not good for the schools or the community.”

Asbury Park Press, October 16, 2023

Recent Posts

Wardlaw+Hartridge School Global Scholars Visit Bloustein School

by Rudy Brandl, Director of Communications and Alumni Relations, The Wardlaw-Hartridge School Students from the Wardlaw+Hartridge School's Global Scholars Program visited the Bloustein School on November 28 to begin a collaboration with graduate students and to learn...

Upcoming Events

Event Series Student Services

Bloustein Librarian Open Office Hours

Bloustein School, Civic Square Building 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ, United States

Have a research or library question you need assistance with? Visit Open Office Hours with Bloustein Librarian Julia Maxwell. Every Tuesday from 4:00-5:00 pm unless otherwise noted. Can't make it? […]