JACKSON-Sharon Dey, a long time school board member who narrowly lost her re-election bid in 2016 came back strong on Election Day to win her 2017 election campaign.
Also winning on election night this year was Tara Rivera, a special needs advocate.
Coming out on the short end of things was local resident Elenor Hannum, an employee of Saker Shop-Rite, a self-proclaimed local watchdog whose campaign platform rested on issues such focused against the township’s Orthodox community fell short, trailing Dey by over 3,000 votes.
Hannum who has been at odds with many of Jackson’s boards and commissions over the years failed to gain the support she had hoped in her grassroots campaign.
According to her candidate profile, which was fact checked to be accurate, during her tenure as a board member, Dey was instrumental in keeping the district’s school budget under the 2% cap; helped establish a full day Kindergarten program; Established STEM, Business, Fine Arts, Performing Arts and Digital Media Academies; Continued support of our Air Force Junior ROTC program; Expanded Advanced Placement and Honors programs for college bound students; Established FULL FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY, giving every resident full access to each budget item; Instituted non-tax revenue streams, such as solar energy generation and advertising on district buses, to bring taxpayer relief; Worked closely with the Special Education Advisory Council; has been active on the Strategic Planning Committee which addresses the financial, curriculum, safety and facilities needs of the district.
“Thank you to everyone that supported me and went out to vote,” Dey said after her win.
Despite growing tensions in the township over Jewish Orthodox growth, the township residents voted against Hannum’s platform, which at times appeared to target school bussing and private schools, both important issues to the Orthodox population.
In Jackson, the Orthodox population carries a vote of approximately 800, a post was posted to Hannum’s “Community Watchdog” Facebook page this morning. Hannum’s supporters blamed the Orthodox for her victory–a shortsighted assessment.
“One of the things we noticed though…..is the VAAD, supported Sharon Dey for the School Board of Education. I’m not sure how to interpret it, but I’m sure block voting of any candidate should start to make EVERYONE in Jackson nervous. And so it begins,” her team wrote.
The Lakewood VAAD made no endorsements of Jackson school board candidates and the post was referring to a flyer distributing among Orthodox Jewish residents of the township on Election Day. Even though the population chose the candidate who did not openly attack them, Dey received an additional 2,500 additional votes from the Jackson Township general community.
Former Jackson resident, Joseph Fiero, who managed successful school board campaigns for more than ten years in the township declared the election a referendum by the people of Jackson Township.
“And still [the watchdog group] continues to work for division,” Fiero said. “How many votes do you think that was? There are about 240 new registered voters in town that might be considered to be influenced by this note. Certainly not the 2500 vote difference. This is that referendum of the people that [they] wrote about after last year’s election. And people have had enough of [their] brand of hate and separatist rhetoric.”