East Windsor school board member resigns: Raber says it has become political

·3 min read

Dec. 2—EAST WINDSOR — William Raber, the longest tenured Board of Education member, has resigned from his position because he believes the board no longer acts in the best interest of students.

Raber, a Democrat who served on the board for 22 years, resigned via a letter dated Nov. 24 that was addressed to board Chairman Randi Reichle and School Superintendent Patrick Tudryn.

"I have had the pleasure of serving the town of East Windsor and the students of our schools for 22 years, and it was always my priority that any action taken by the board be in the best interest of our students," Raber said in the letter.

He added, "However, it is my opinion that the board no longer serves this cause. Party politics have become more important than providing the best available education for all our children, and that is something I cannot in good faith or conscience accept."

Raber's resignation letter was submitted after a board meeting on Nov. 24 where Reichle, a Republican, was re-appointed as chairman in a 5-4 vote. Raber voted with Republicans in favor of Reichle.

SCHOOL BOARD RESIGNATION

WHO: William Raber.

WHEN: Nov. 24.

WHY: Raber said the East Windsor Board of Education has not been acting in the best interest of students.

Board member Kate Carey-Trull, a Democrat, was appointed vice chairman, also in a 5-4 vote, with Republican Francis Neill voting in support of Carey-Trull.

Board member Denise Menard, who is co-Democratic town chairman, said Wednesday that the party does not yet have a candidate it plans to nominate to fill Raber's vacant seat. His term expires in 2023.

Until Raber's seat is filled, there is no longer a Democratic majority on the nine-member board. Both the Democrats and Republicans now have four members each on the board.

Reichle on Wednesday praised Raber's time on the board.

"Bill was great. He always sat and thought about everything, he always thought about the students first — as you can see in his letter, and he was just a great person to work with," Reichle said. "I am going to miss him a lot. He was our senior board member and I could always go and ask him things."

When asked if she agreed or disagreed with Raber's view that the board has not acted in the best interest of students, Reichle said, "His letter says it all."

She also said, "There's been a lot of — not so much tension — but it has been political. I don't know if they (board members) meant it to be political, but lately for the past 18 months the votes have tended to be party line."

Carey-Trull had similar thoughts.

"I think there have been some divisive party issues but I think we are all working to move forward," she said. "I appreciate Bill's tenure on the board for past 22 years."

The last time the board had a vacancy was last May when former Chairwoman Cathy Simonelli, a Republican, left because she was moving out of town. In considering replacing Simonelli with Republican nominee Anna Mangiafico, the board ended up with a tie vote along party lines, which meant the vote failed.

Reichle said she hopes to see the Raber's now vacant seat filled so the board can move forward.

Raber could not be reached for comment.

For updates on East Windsor, Windsor, and Windsor Locks, follow Joe Chaisson on Twitter: @TheJoeyChaisson, Facebook: Joe Chaisson, and Instagram: @JIJoeChaisson.

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