Parents in Elizabeth, N.J. complain about kids paid to campaign for city school board officials

ELIZABETH, N.J. — Some parents in Elizabeth are concerned about kids being offered money in school by other kids to pass out flyers for candidates running for the city school board.

“I don’t think it's the right place to do those things, especially without consulting the parents first,” said Alex Mendoza, a father.

A student said she was offered $40 to hand out flyers for the Elizabeth school board election.

“A senior, from what I heard, he came to our table and he had a whole list of peoples names already. And he named the people running — Barbosa, Rodriguez and Neron — saying to vote for them and Tuesday from 3-7 p.m., that he would call you or like someone would call them to go hand out the flyers."

She declined, and was hesitant to provide her name for this story because she was concerned that kids would bully her.

A spokesman for the Elizabeth school board candidates pictured on the flyers said that the allegation that kids were being improperly recruited to campaign is ‘absolutely false’, calling it:

“...nothing but a desperate, last minute attempt by the same corrupt politicians who ran the Elizabeth school district as a political patronage mill for years to regain power. We believe that the parent in question was approached by our opponents and told to make these claims.”

Other parents were skeptical about kids under 18 being offered money in school to campaign.

“This no good,” said a mother of two.

The political battle for control on the Elizabeth school board has been fiery for years. Past board members have faced arrest, corruption investigations, alleged ethics violations, and this year — an audit that uncovered wasteful spending.

A district spokesman, Pat Politano, said: “After school, students are free to do what they wish. They, in fact, are encouraged to engage in civic activities.”