News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
By Rick Pezzullo
The Lakeland Board of Education race for four available seats next month has attracted a lot of attention as 12 candidates will be on the ballot.
Three of the hopefuls, board President Adam Kaufman and trustees Becky Burfeind and Marianne DiSalvo Kolesar, are seeking new three-year terms.
The rest of the field includes Paul Edwards, Maggie Perlman, Michael Marchese, Genie Muller, Erin O’Grady, Laura Perozo, Joe Ascanio, Beth Dee and Chuck Monsanto.
On May 17, the three highest vote-getters will earn three-year terms, while the fourth-place finisher will serve the final two years of former Trustee Angela Conti’s unexpired term.
A grassroots advocacy group called Lakeland Rise (Residents in Support of Education), one of the co-founders of which, Karen Haines Pressman, is a former trustee, is supporting the slate of Edwards, Perozo, Ascanio and Monsanto.
“Lakeland RISE is thrilled to stand behind these four outstanding board candidates. Each brings their own unique expertise and background to the slate. Together, they’re committed to delivering high-quality academic experiences to our students in an inclusive and equitable environment,” Pressman said. “The candidates also value the skills and expertise of Lakeland educators to teach, not indoctrinate, our students.”
The group is also looking to increase voter participation after less than 1,400 of nearly 30,000 eligible voters went to the polls in 2021.
Seats in other area school districts are also being contested:
Three incumbents seeking reelection in the Yorktown School District are facing opposition. Reshmi Bose, Cheryl Reynolds and Lisa Rolle are back on the ballot. Looking to join the board are Michael Capalbo, Richard Giannasca and Frank Panebianco.
Five candidates are running for two seats in the Ossining School District, Melissa Banta is the lone incumbent in the race as Aaron Spring is not seeking reelection.
Other candidates are Robert Melstein, Aidan Venuto, Christine Mangiamele and Maureen Boozang-Hill.
Two incumbents, Trustee Dr. Ifay Chang and board Vice President Chadwick Olsen, are running for new terms in the Somers School District. Also on the ballot are Amanda Kandel and Kenneth Mitchell.
In the Hendrick Hudson School District, five candidates are running for three seats.
Incumbents Lisa Anderson, board vice president, and William Oricchio are hoping to return to the board for another three years. Also on the ballot are Jeremy Basso, Stephanie Hickey and Erica Mills.
Hickey, a teacher, said she works in an area that also been hard hit by the closing of a power plant.
“Why am I running? I have direct knowledge and experience dealing with the very same issues this district faces today. I have been attending BOE meetings recently, and I am horrified by the total disregard for the way some members of the current BOE treat the community at these meetings,” Hickey stated. “Community members have the right to be heard and not to feel afraid to express themselves. The lack of transparency and total disregard for parental input in the Hendrick Hudson School District is negatively affecting our children. If I were elected to the BOE at Hendrick Hudson School District, my focus would be to re-establish a culture of open and honest communication in this district.”
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/