Residents Fight Back in Jersey City

A formal Verified Petition of Appeal was filed yesterday with the State DOE to compel Commissioner Schundler to make a decision about whether the Jersey City School Board violated state law by extending the contract of Superintendent Charles Epps. The Petition was filed by Board of Education member Anthony Shaperson, Education Activist Shelley Skinner, parent Elvin Cominci, and City Councilman Steven Fulop, and follows an email drive (see here) in which more than 2000 J.C. residents emailed Gov. Christie to protest the contract extension. Here's some earlier NJLB coverage.

The petitioners charge that the Jersey City Board of Education violated the Open Public Meeting law, N.J.S.A. 18A:11-11 by extending Superintendent Epps' contract without proper public notice, voting 6 for, 2 against, and 1 abstention. The law requires public notice for the alternation of the contracts of certain employees, including school superintendents. Epps’s current contract is for $268,000. He oversees 40 schools in this Abbott district, of which 35 are Schools in Need of Improvement under NCLB. Ms. Skinner said in a press release,
We are going to keep the pressure on the Jersey Board of Education. The appeal will give the Commissioner the ability to decide on the board’s willful attempt to disenfranchise the public. Hopefully the vote is reversed. The law is very clear on this matter.