Four candidates filed their petitions by the Feb. 25 deadline to run for the three, three-year Belleville Board of Education seats to be decided in the April 16 elections.
John Rivera will seek a second term, running on a ticket with newcomers Raymond Kuebler and Lillian Torres, while fellow newcomer Christine Lamparello will be the fourth candidate.
A fifth resident, Ralph Vellon, took out petitions but said in a statement he does not plan to run.
Current board vice-president Patricia Inaugurato and three-term board member Vincent Strumolo, Jr. are not running.
Lamparello could not be reached for comment.
Rivera said Tuesday that he is running with Kuebler, an accountant who he believes can help with the financial issues of the schools, and Torres, a very active member of the football parents and an employee with the county Freeholders office.
"They will both bring a lot of involvement with the schools and good skills to the board," Rivera said. "I am happy to be on the same ticket with them both."
Rivera said he and his running mates biggest concerns for the next three years are controlling school budget tax increases, increasing standardized test scores and upgrading aging schools.
In his first term, Rivera twice chaired the school budget committee and both budgets with no tax increase were approved by voters.
"I think our two biggest accomplishments were the budgets, and the zero increases," Rivera said. "With so many people facing home foreclosures, we really need to minimize tax increases."
With test scores, Rivera said improving the high school and middle school scores are most important, but all schools can stand to improve.
The other focus will be looking for state and federal dollars to make needed repairs to the aging school buildings, Rivera said.
"We have gotten a lot done, but we must continue to do better," he said.
Any candidate for the April 16 elections had to file a petition by Feb. 25, 50 days before the election, officials said.
Rivera, Inaugurato and Strumolo are all finishing three-year terms.
Three-term school board member and two-time board president Joseph Longo said he is supporting Rivera, Kuebler and Torres.
The election and public vote on the 2013-14 Belleville school district budget are both April 16, with Belleville now one of the few school districts left in New Jersey that did not vote to shift its election to November.
That change precludes a public vote on the budget, officials said.
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