Barbara Sokol Not Running For BOE Seat. Petition Deadline July 28th.

With two (2) weeks left before the deadline to file Board Of Education (BOE) Candidate Nominating Petitions by 4 p.m. on Monday, July 28th, BOE member Barbara Sokol has officially announced she will not be running for her seat for another three-year term.

Chris Miller and Jeof Vita, whose terms are also expiring at the end of this year, have stated they will be running although they have not yet filed.

“I was a teacher for 39 years, then was on the Board for four, having been appointed my first year then running for a full term,” Ms. Sokol stated regarding her decision, “I think it is time for a little break but I am not disappearing. I will still be involved.”

Ms. Sokol is currently the only female member of the nine-member Board.

If no one files a petition by July 28th, it will be the second time since 2010 that there will be more seats open than candidates willing to fill them.

The qualifications necessary for filing a BOE nominating petition are as follow:

  • Must be a citizen of the United States of America
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be able to read and write
  • Must be a resident for at least one year preceding the date of election in the municipality where he/she is to be elected
  • Is not disqualified as a voter pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:4-1 (link)
  • Is not disqualified from membership for the conviction of crimes pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:12-1
  • Is a registered voter in the school district

Within 30 days of election or appointment to the Board, a member must undergo a criminal history background investigation through the New Jersey Department Of Education (NJDOE).

Each nominating petition must include the signatures of, at least, 10 qualified voters living within the district – one of which may be the candidate’s own signature. All candidates must adhere to all state requirements to file campaign expense reports with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). Finally, each nominating petition must be addressed to the secretary of the board and state the following:

  • That the signers are qualified voters in the school district
  • The name, residence and post office address of the candidate and the office for which the candidate is endorsed
  • That the signers endorse the candidate and ask that his or her name be printed on the ballot
  • That the candidate is legally qualified to be a school board member

The New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) has provided a School Board Candidate Kit on their website (link), along with FAQs (link), information on ethics requirements (link), and campaign reporting requirements (link).

A sample of a BOE nominating petition can be found on the NJSBA website (link) and is also available below.

The BOE election is on November 4, 2014, the same day as the general election. All petitions must be submitted to the Union County Clerk’s Office in Room 113 at 2 Broad Street, in Elizabeth by 4 p.m. on July 28th. Anyone requesting more information can contact the County Clerk’s Office at (908) 527-4996.