Politico recently reported that two state senators called it a “dark day” for Trenton when the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nominations of two candidates for the State Board of Education without public interviews. It has been suggested that Governor Christie is purging the board of members that haven’t conformed to his views in the waning days of his administration. Politico reported:
On Thursday, members of the public spoke in defense of Biedron and Fisicaro and suggested they were being used as political pawns.
Darcie Cimarusti, president of the Highland Park school board who said she was not speaking on behalf of her board, noted that Christie has submitted nominations for a number of state school board seats since December, but only those whose nominations would unseat current members are moving forward. The other nominees would fill vacancies, or are current board members being renominated.
“These three are the only three … that are replacing seated board members who have not resigned,” she said. “If that doesn’t give all of you sitting here today pause, I don’t know what will.”
Sue Altman, a member of Save Our Schools NJ, which disagrees with Biedron about the merits of the PARCC assessments, called his potential removal from the board an “aberration.”
“I never thought I would be sitting here and supporting a Christie nomination for school board,” she told the committeee, identifying herself as a liberal Democrat. “While I do not agree with Mr. Biedron on many of the things he was for throughout his tenure … Mr. Biedron has treated us with respect. He has listened.”