Mayoral Election Brings Hope for Resolution of Overcrowding


Created by Gabrielle Dharmawan

The slight brushing of skin in the four-way intersection, the clamor of maskless students in the cafeteria, and the lack of space in certain classrooms highlight the issue of overcrowding in our schools.

This problem can be traced back to an increase in enrollment and consequentially, a scarcity in classrooms and overall space. With the shift to in-person learning and newfound awareness of social distancing, the problem of overcrowding has intensified at Edison High School and students are eager to know what will be done to improve the situation.  As November 2, the mayoral election date for Edison, New Jersey rolls around; both candidates, Sam Joshi and Keith Hahn, have plans to make change.

Sam Joshi

Sam Joshi is the Vice President of the Town Council and the Democratic candidate for mayor of Edison. His education is rooted right here, and as a J.P. Stevens High School graduate, Joshi is well aware of the prevalent overcrowding in schools. He claims that the overcrowding was prevalent when he was a student and acknowledges that the situation has worsened and will continue to do so.

As a result, he has made one of his primary goals for Edison to address the overcrowding in schools by finding sufficient land for a new school. 

“Within the first 100 days, I will work directly with the Board of Education to find sufficient land for a new school and the proper methods and techniques we will use to pay for the school bond with no tax impact,” said Joshi. He takes Woodbridge and Carteret as an example for how he plans to approach the building of new schools with zero impact to taxpayers. Joshi has his eye on Kilmer Road as a potential area for a new high school. This would alleviate overcrowding by redirecting a portion of Edison students to that location.

For high school seniors preparing to vote this year, Joshi explains that he relates to them because of his progressive views on government policies, similar to those of many students. One such progressive policy that he hopes to implement is broadband technology.

“I recognize technology is important and our generation, especially residents, will benefit from this the most,” said Joshi.

Keith Hahn

Keith Hahn is a former detective for the Edison Police Department and the Republican mayoral candidate. He has experience working within Edison as a previous member of the Edison Water Advisory Committee and Planning Board. He, too, is familiar with the longevity of the overcrowding crisis in Edison Schools. 

“This is an issue that has not been addressed. It’s not a new issue. … This has been a failure of the municipal government and the Board of Education government for a long time not addressing it,” Hahn says.  

“…It’s not a new issue… This has been a failure of the municipal government and the Board of Education government for a long time not addressing it….”

— Keith Hahn

Hahn says that we must utilize the space available to us immediately, citing one option, the Stelton Recreation Center. It was locked a few years ago but is currently left unused. He tells us that the Board of Education wants to use the center, but the township is in limbo as to whether they can reopen it. He also hopes to have a moratorium, which would delay payment requirements on all buildings for six months, to help deal with the COVID-19 crisis. He acknowledges that many believe that this idea is unrealistic, but that the pandemic justifies the need.

“That will send a message to the builders who are overdeveloping, which leads to overcrowding, that they are not going to continually come to the planning boards and get approvals like they used to do in the past,” he says. Hahn says that in order to stop the problem from compounding; the mayor, superintendent, Board of Education president, and council president must all collaborate to reach a solution.

Hahn shows his pride for Edison, noting how Edison has strong schools, teachers, and students. For upcoming voters, he says that those who are unsatisfied with the schools’ current operations and seek a change should vote for him opposed to “the same people who have been running municipal councils for the last few years.”

Overall, this election may finally bring change to the overcrowding of Edison Township Public Schools as both candidates have acknowledged the importance of reducing congested schools and shared their plans of solving the issue, if elected.

Update post-election: 

The 2021 race for the mayor of Edison resulted in Sam Joshi’s victory. Edison students can look forward to an improvement in overcrowding as Joshi settles into this role.  With his hopes of planning the construction of a new school, Joshi’s proposition will finally bring about long-awaited change in Edison.