That seems to be the question on the table posed by some local residents and associations. Most other towns in Hudson County have elected school boards.
Tina Yandolino Civic Association of Union City and the West New York Reform Democratic Committee are petitioning to get the concept on the November ballot to be put to a vote in their towns.
"What were doing is running a petition to change the board of education," said Chairman William Parkinson, 48, of the New York Reform Democratic Commitee. "I started this in reference to just getting the politics out of the school system."
However, in towns like Hoboken where there is an elected school board, the mayor typically supports a slate of candidates and backs them with big bucks. And due to low turnout in the election, the side that can get out the vote wins.
Mayor Albio Sires of West New York said that Parkinson has it backwards.
"The politics have been taken out of the school system, so I suspect what he wants to do is introduce politics into the school system," said Sires.
Just as with the association in Union City, the West New York committee feels that an elected board would give residents more of a voice on how the school system is run.
"We have seven schools," said Parkinson. "The fact that you have to play with politics to get anywhere with the school, that only hurts the children."
Officials in both towns were wary of the movement.
"I don't know what [Parkinson's] motives are," said Mayor Sires. "I suspect politics."
"I personally think [the groups] are not accomplishing what [they] hope to accomplish," said Michael Leggiero, commissioner of revenue and finance for Union City. "It's not going to make things any better. It'll cost more money to run another election."
Both Union City and West New York had elected school boards in the past, and according to city officials, they reverted back to appointed school boards at the request of the residents.
"In the school district, the success has been phenomenal," said Mayor Sires. "Just last year we had the New Jersey teacher of the year come out of our district."
Parkinson said his motives are pure.
"I have two school-age kids and I'm all for education," said Parkinson. "I have no political ambitions. I'm a resident."
Schools are doing well, mayor says
The mayor went on to point out three West New York schools, number 3, 4, and 5, were featured in this May issue of New Jersey magazine as three of New Jersey's eighth grade top-scoring benchmark schools, and number 3 school has been distinguished a Title I school nationwide.
"West New York has done a great job with their system, and it's running beautifully," said Leggiero.
"They should be embarrassed for trying to change this district and telling these people all sorts of lies," said Sires.
Parkinson also suspects that nepotism plays a role in the West New York school system which leaves educators disgruntled, and referred back to the time of Mayor Anthony DiFino's administration.
"DeFino had his sister as superintendent," said Parkinson.
"I'm surprised Mr. Parkinson never mentioned that before when his mother worked for the administration," said Sires, referring to the time before he took office.
Parkinson also said he remembered Mayor Sires speaking out against nepotism eight years ago, and made those changes when he took office.
"The first superintendent when Albio first came in, he was good for the schools and Albio appointed him," said Parkinson. "A lot of people were behind him. It just seemed that overnight things just changed to the same way."
Nepotism, however, can be a difficult topic to discern.
"If they're qualified, they deserve the job," said Leggiero, who said you can't discriminate against someone on the basis of a relation to an already existing employee. "If you find the right person for the right job, then you've done something."
In order to get the possibility of an elected school board on the ballot, the committee will have to get about 15 percent of the voters from the last election to sign, which in total was about 7,000 voters. Thus, the committee needs about 1,100 signatures, of which they have about 400 so far.
"We've started with one area; hopefully we'll pick up more," said Parkinson.
"Being elected or appointed really doesn't matter," said Leggiero. "You still have to do the job."
Mayor Sires also stated that he has been receiving complaints about activists intimidating seniors to sign the petition.