Thursday, September 24, 2020

Board of Education Candidates


 On Wednesday-23-September the Bogota Educational Association (BEA) sponsored a virtual debate with all nine Candidates in attendance. This November there will be four seats totaled that will be contested. Three of which are for the full Three year term. They are currently being held by Ms. Maureen Miller, Mr Pat McHale, and Mr. Jim Moore. Ms. Miller is running for re-election. Mr. McHale and Mr. Moore are not seeking re-election. There is one seat that will be for a one year term. This is the seat previously held by current Councilman Mr. Michael Connors. This seat was fill by Ms. Zabrina Keans.
   The Candidates for the full three year term are: Incumbent Ms. Maureen Miller,  Incumbent Ms. Zabrina Keans, Ms. Kristin Meberg,  Ms. Sandra Ospina,  Ms. Bisi Ruckett-Baugh,  Mr. John Ortega and  Mr. Jose Chavez . The top three vote getters will win a seat on the Board of Trustees. This term will last until the year 2023.  The Candidates for the one year term are: Ms. Trina Rivera-Olivo  and  Mr. Frank Miranda . The winner will win that seat as a trustee until the term ends in the year 2021. 
   The debate was moderated by Ms. Barbara King, president of the Bergen Chapter of the League of Women Voters. The event was hosted by Ms. Lynn Demetrakis a teacher at Bogota High School, and Ms. Cornelia Geraghty a teacher at the Lillian M. Steen School. 
Ms. Demetrakis would serve as time keeper. Before the questioning began a brief video was presented that shown highlights of growing up in Bogota. This was produced by a number Bogota High School graduates, and featured interview with Bogota Alumni. 
  Then Ms. King reviewed the rules of the debate. Each candidate would be allowed a one minute introduction. And one minute to answer the questions that were asked. At the end of the event each candidate would have one and a half minutes to give their closing remarks. The first three questions were written by the Bogota Educational Association. There were also three questions were written by the pubic from the facebook pages of the schools PTO. 
   The questions ranged from why a candidate is running to become a volunteer trustee for the Bogota Board of Education. To how the district can improve equality and inclusion of the schools. Other questions dealt with  how the district should plan with an expected increase of Students as new development are opened.  And how to attract and retain the best Educators and have more and diverse learning opportunities for the Students. 
    On why they are running, the answer was mostly because the majority of the candidates have school aged Children and are looking to provide them with the best education as possible.On the other questions one main answer made was to reorganized the school attendance system. More that one candidate talked about a dedicated middle school for the 7th and 8th grade Students. The hope is that this could make the transition easier from  elementary to High School.  The thoughts were that the instruction could be focus on each grade level subjects, and a chance for the Student to grow more independent in a more  relaxed environment. The reorganized of  the school would  also include having  Kindergarten to 3rd grade Students in one school, and a 4th to 6st grade Student in another school. This goal is the same as a Middle School, but also would allow Students to interact with each other who are from different parts of the Borough. 
  Most of the suggested solution for attendance growth by talking about the acquisition of new buildings and to update the curriculum and technology for both the Educators and the Students. And that any plan must include serving the Special Needs Students to the fullest extent.
  The closing statements were basically the Candidates giving their name one last time. This included thanking all the candidate for wanting to work for the betterment of the all Students in Bogota. One Candidate was especially thanked because of his young age, in the mid-twenties and being a Bogota High School  Alumni for his decision to help others in the Borough.
This year the General Election is on Tuesday-3-November. Polls will be open from 6:00a to 8:00p. The Public schools of the Bogota Board of Education will be closed for voting.
Polls are located at the at :
-- For Districts 1& 6 it is the Bogota Recreation Center at 162 W. Main St.
   Districts 1&6 is that part of the Borough located West of the Railroad tracks.
-- For Districts 2&3 it is the Gym of  Bogota High School at 1 Henry Luthin Pl.  please use the door towards the back of the building on the North side of the Building.
  Districts 2& 3  is that part of the Borough located East of the Railroad tracks & North of Beechwood Ave
--  For Districts 4&5 it is  in the Gym of the Roy Bixby School at Maplewood & Fischer Aves.
     Districts 4 &5  is that part of the Borough located East of the Railroad tracks & South of Beechwood Ave.
Ward Dist. Address
1 Bogota Recreation Center - 162 West Main Street
2 Bogota High School Gym - One Henry Luthin Pl. (Left Rear of Bldg)
3 Bogota High School Gym - One Henry Luthin Pl. (Left Rear of Bldg)
4 E. Roy Bixby School Gym. Maplewood & Fischer Aves
5 E. Roy Bixby School Gym. Maplewood & Fischer Aves.
6 Bogota Recreation Center-162 West Main St.
   Other rules for this years General Election include the majority of voting must be done by mail. Handicap voters are the only ones allowed to use voting machines. In person voting will be available , but only with a provisional ballot filled out at the polling station on Election Day.  Mail in ballots can be will be mailed out to all active registered vote by Monday-5-October.  If  does not arrive by that day please contact the Bergen County Board of Election at 201-336-7020. Mail -in ballots may to mailed any time before Tuesday-3-November.  Ballots may also be place in a secure drop box that will be set-up at each polling station on Tuesday-3-November from 6:00a to 8:00p.  This must the same polling station voters used in past election. Other secure drop boxes will be set-up in 18 Bergen County Communities. The closest to Bogota are in Hackensack, NJ at One Bergen County Plaza, this is the main county Administration Building. Another is in Teaneck, NJ at 818 Teaneck Rd, this will be located at the North entrance of the Township Municipal Building. Ballot Drop Boxes are available 24-hours.  Ballots must be in the Drop Box by 8:00P on election night.  Ballots left after 8:00P on election night will be considered late and not counted.
  Tuesday-13-October is the last day to register for the 2020 General Elections.  For more information please go to:  For questions about polling place or drop box locations please contact them at to:  or calling 201-336-6230. 
For questions on voter registration, or potential election violations contact then at: or calling 201-336-6100.  More inforantion on voting in this years election can be found at:
   The Bergen County Board of Elections has prepared a information video on Mail-in voting available at:

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