Friday, March 18, 2016

3 board seats, $104M budget at stake in April 19 election

Citizens for Better Schools say they will usher in a new era of cooperation between the Hackensack Board of Education and City Council.


School taxes make up nearly half of the property tax bill in Hackensack, where nine candidates are vying for three seats on the city Board of Education.

Residents also will be able to vote "yes" or "no" on a proposed school budget of more than $104 million.

Polls will be open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 19.

Three candidates, calling themselves Citizens for Better Schools, believe the current school board has done nothing to improve poor test scores and engage parents in the education of their children.

They are:

  • Lawrence E. Eisen, president and a math tutor at Project Literacy, and a 3rd-grade reading mentor at the Nellie K. Parker School in Hackensack. 
  • Lancelot Powell, a native of Jamaica and an educator for 23 years, has a son who is a freshman at Hackensack High School.
  • Victor E. Sasson, a retired reporter and copy editor at The Record, saw his son graduate from Hackensack High School in June 2015.

Zisas try comeback

Three other candidates are being backed by the Zisa family political dynasty, which ruled Hackensack for decades before a reform City Council slate was elected in May 2013.

The Zisas were so dominant Hackensack became known as "Zisaville," a curse the city still is trying to live down.

Property taxes soared a total of 30% in three years before the recession hit in December 2007.

The Zisa cadidates, calling themselves Team Hackensack, are incumbent Timothy Hoffman, Johanna Calle and Modesto Romero.

Team Hackensack is headquartered at 77 Hudson St., where former City Attorney Joseph C. Zisa Jr. has his law firm. 

Prominent at the kickoff of Team Hackensack in February was the disgraced former police chief, Ken Zisa, who once also served as a state assemblyman.

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