Christine Joanis’s family (COURTESY CHRISTINE JOANIS)

Montclair is a promise coupled with hope. Our progressive values run deep. My husband is Haitian and I Caucasian, our core values align with inclusion. This town honors representation and equality. Unfortunately, I don’t feel represented or do I believe that my voice matters in our current town government.

I have grappled with this decision and have spent many moments listening to the various points of view on keeping the status quo or making a change to a Type II district. To my dismay, I am an outsider and we are a family without a voice. I want the opportunity to find qualified policy makers to help us bring the schools’ infrastructure into the 21st century. I know that the opportunity to have an annual election for three candidates will keep Montclair’s most important asset, our children, in the forefront.

The last thing we need is more turnover and change in district leadership. Dr. Jonathan Ponds is the leader that we need. If you vote no on question three, you will be empowering the union boss, who probably doesn’t like the guy that sued to get the kids back in school, to appoint three more members in the spring that will have a mandate to find new leadership. And don’t think we will get a high quality replacement after the revolving door of superintendents.

My best shot right now at effecting change is through three minutes of public comment. Or, maybe I can get on the inside with one of our shadow government groups that are currently influencing appointments. Regardless, the deck is stacked against me having a voice. I’ve heard the fear mongering on the risk to the magnets if we vote yes. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If there is one thing that we can agree upon: The magnets are part of our DNA. And I do not believe an elected board would jeopardize it.

My voice matters. Yours does, too. But, today, the influence driving policy for my children comes from this shadow government. Let’s vote yes and show our children that democracy means all voices matter.

SAVE MONTCLAIR LOCAL: We're overjoyed to report we've hit our fundraising goal of $230,000 this quarter for Montclair Local Nonprofit News! Montclair has stepped up to say local news matters, and we're hugely grateful. That gives our newsroom, your newsroom, security to operate well into 2022 while we continue to work toward long-term sustainability. We've seen what happens when news operations cut back or shut down. Communities suffer. We've seen it here in Montclair, and we believe you deserve better.

Visit MontclairLocal.news/donations to make your tax-deductible contribution today, to keep Montclair Local strong and help us do even more to serve the amazing community of Montclair.

Christine Joanis
Montclair


Montclair Local’s Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.

Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email letters@montclairlocal.news, or mail “Letters to the Editor,” 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer’s name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.

Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week’s Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.

Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our “Town Square” banner. “Town Square” essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to letters@montclairlocal.news at least seven days prior to publication.