Board of education elections in Lakehurst will move to November and the public will no longer vote on the school budget — provided it remains within the state-mandated cap — after the borough council approved the change Thursday night.
On Jan. 17, Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation into law that states a school board that moves its election to the November general election date no longer needs to present its budget for a public vote if it does not exceed the state's 2 percent tax levy cap.
"We believe that there will be a better turnout for school board elections and budget selection if it's all on one day," said Mayor Harry Robbins. "If it's all on the general election day, you're going to get a better turnout of voters."
Should a district exceed the cap, a public vote on the amount over the cap would be held in November with the election of board members. Additionally, budgets will still require approval from the Commissioner of Education.
Robbins said that the council also favored the change because the elimination of a separate school vote in April will save the borough money.
Councilman Ed Seaman, who serves as the council's Board of Education Liasion, said that he had discussed the change with school officials before the vote.
"They are in favor of it," he said.
The resolution states that even though nonpartisan board of education elections will be held during the partisan general election, the mayor and council do not believe politics will affect the school vote. If the change does not work out, the municipality will have the opportunity to return the vote to April.
"After four years, the school or the council can revert it back," Robbins said.
Manchester's board of education voted to move its elections in January.
"In assessing the proposed law, at least in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons," said that board's president, Donald Webster, at the time.