Incumbent School Board Member Will Not Seek Re-election

Paul Petigrow, 13-year veteran on the Board of Education, revoked his school board candidacy last week.


Longtime Board of Education member Paul Petigrow has withdrawn his name from the ballot this November, and said he will not run again. 

Petigrow recently changed his mind because he feels the district is in stable hands, now that an interim superintendent has been named.  was appointed in August.

He cited the “instability” in the district during the time  as one the primary reasons he wanted to run again in November.

“I feel we have stability ... with the new superintendent,” said Petigrow. 

Petigrow, the current school board vice president, began his long tenure on the board in 2000. While on the board, Petigrow helped usher in the construction of Liberty Middle School; various additions to school buildings, such as those at West Orange High School; and the formation of Thomas Edison Central Six School. 

The time commitment was also a contributing factor for his decision to not run again. Petigrow said the hours on the board were a drain on his family life, and his family encouraged him to not run again. 

“We felt it was time to give someone else a chance,” said Petigrow. 

While Petigrow may be out of the race, he is putting his support behind the incumbent candidate Michelle Casalino.

There are two seats on the five-member board up for election in November. Each seat comes with a three-year term. 

This is the first year school board elections will be . Petigrow and Casalino had their terms extended this year when the board consented in January to move the elections. 

Petigrow was quick to say that he was surely going to miss being a member of the board.  

“I enjoyed serving the citizens of West Orange,” said Petigrow. “I’m definitely going to miss it.” 

A guide to this year's crop of candidates contending for the two open seats on the Board of Education can be found . 

Adam Kraemer September 13, 2012 at 10:09 AM
While I did not always agree with Paul Petigrow on policy issues I give him much credit for his service on the board. After al these years on the board he has much he can be proud of. I wish him well in his endevors beyond the BOE.
Steven Serebrenik September 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Thanks and good luck!
Gladys September 13, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Interesting. Would still love to hear how what happened with Cavanna since it was these very same board members who approved him in the first place and created the so-called instability.
Brett Kaiser September 13, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Are you kidding, my *opinion* is that the sheet is going to hit the fane, and he want NO WHERE to be near to it when it does....
Gary Englert September 13, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Brett Kaiser: At best, yours is groundless speculation and an affront to a man who has served the school district, and its children, long and well. Mr. Petigrew is to be thanked for his service, not pilloried for being a party to taking difficult action that both circumstances and his conscience dictated. To assume the Board will be found wanting in the future is without any basis in fact.
john anthony prignano September 17, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Gladys I looked at many school districts..Nobody does it like West Orange. Montclair is not unlike West Orange. Montclair High provides the equivalent in hours of 30 days more instructional time than West Orange.West Orange has a student to faculty ratio of 10.7. Montclair's is 11.3. West Orange High's average class size is 23.3. Montclair High's is 17.6.The median Administrator's salary in Montclair is $123.687 for 24 years of service. West Orange Administrators make $131,716 for 13 years of service. .Montclair teachers' median salary is $69,376 for 13 years of service.West Orange teachers make $82,392 for 9 years of service. The State average increase for teacher compensation over the last 3 years was 7%. Montclair's was 7%..West Orange teacher compensation rose 14% over the same period of time. Average general supplies spending in West Orange went up $3 in 3 years.West Orange in 2009 spent $156 on average purchased services and other. In 2011, the amount fell to $116, a reduction of about 25%. Montclair spends $17,806 per student. West Orange spends $21,000+ per student. Montclair High's standardized test scores and SAT scores are higher than West Orange High's.How much more does the Board want to "punish"? Dr. Cavanna? He's already made $50k for no work.This School Board shows no mercy. I think they will continue to pay him 25k a month to sit home for quite a while.Ha! Ha! SUFFER Dr. Cavanna! They live by only 1 rule - Give your friends money! Here, take ALL my money!
john anthony prignano September 17, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Mr. Petigrow did a horrible job. How many times have we heard teachers say they come early, they stay late, they go above and beyond, they often work right through the weekends, etc.etc. Look at the November grammar school schedule There are 2 days off for the teacher's convention. School is closed one day for professional staff development.There's an early dismissal the day before Thanksgiving, and there are 2 days off for Thanksgiving. Why is school closed for staff development ? Why is there an early dismissal ? Why hasn't the School Board made the come early, stay late crowd put up or shut up? 2 teachers I was familiar with also took off 3 or 4 personal and/or sick days in November. I spoke to the Superintendent . I said ," I don't think those 2 teachers were in the building for much more than 50 hours for the month." He replied ,"You're probably right." And the opportunity to do the same thing.presents itself in December, February and April. And I'm not including snow days and the early dismissals and late starts because of bad weather. A teacher who enjoys relatively good health who takes advantage of the schedule would still only need to take off 10,11 or 12 days for the year. Read my other letter on this site which references the New Jersey State Schools Report Card.This situation is analogous to the Special Needs Districts; tremendous amounts of time, Herculean effort, unswerving devotion to duty, great self - sacrifice,...and utterly horrible results.


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