Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

School Incumbents Win in Passaic Vote

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

School Incumbents Win in Passaic Vote

Article excerpt

PASSAIC -- Longtime trustee Ronald Van Rensalier and fellow incumbents Salim Patel and Byron Bustos were elected to new terms Tuesday, turning back a challenge by Rene L. Griggs.

However, several of Griggs' supporters witnessed the count and left angry after a late flurry of activity in the city clerk's office resulted in a surge of votes for Van Rensalier, Patel and Bustos. Griggs' son, Ashley, was among the witnesses and said he would challenge the results. "They stole the election," he said.

Van Rensalier received 1,567 votes. Patel was the top vote- getter with 1,582. Bustos, the school board president, finished with 1,404. Griggs, a tenant activist at the Alfred Speer Village public housing complex, was defeated in her fifth campaign for the Board of Education. Boosted by a heavy turnout from Speer Village, Griggs received 1,000 votes.

The tallies do not include absentee ballots.

Turnout was 9 percent -- 1 percent higher than last year's school board race -- as 2,357 of the city's voters cast ballots. Turnout was heaviest at the polling place in Speer Village, with 22 percent of registered voters participating in the election.

Voters approved the $16.8 million tax levy supporting the $326 million school budget for 2015-16. The vote was 1,163 in favor and 244 opposed.

The incumbents ran as a ticket, calling themselves Passaic School Board 2015. The ticket was endorsed by Mayor Alex D. Blanco and was backed by all the major figures in City Hall, including City Council President Gary S. Schaer and Councilwoman Zaida Polanco, who is the director of human resources in charge of hiring in the Passaic school district.

Griggs' campaign was less issue-oriented and more focused on rallying parents to get involved and stay involved in their kids' educa tion.

The incumbents ran on their record, which included reorganizing the 15,000-student district under a new superintendent, Pablo Munoz. …

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