By Mary Kate Crowe
The Byram Hills Board of Education vote yielded a surprising result Tuesday night as challenger Lori Kanner captured one of two seats finishing ahead of longtime trustees Ira Schulman and Brett Summers.
Kanner collected 655 votes while Schulman finished second with 499 votes. Summers, a 12-year board veteran, was voted out of office with 414.
As expected, the $90,590,230 budget for 2017-18 passed by a landslide margin, 805-130.
In a separate proposition, voters also approved the creation of a capital reserve fund for the district by a similarly lopsided count of 819-111. The proposition allows any surplus money could be added to the capital reserve fund at the end of the year for capital projects.
Kanner, 48, a parent of children in district schools and an active volunteer for years, credited her success to having close ties to the community.
“People came out and voted for someone who truly has the children’s interests at heart … I’ve been so involved in the schools and I truly value our education here,” Kanner said.
Schulman, a member of the board for 18 years, thanked voters for their support.
“I’m thrilled the budget and proposition passed by overwhelming margins and I’m grateful for the community for allowing me to continue my board service,” he said.
By Neal Rentz
Mount Pleasant School District residents overwhelmingly approved the $58.95 million 2017-18 budget and elected two new school board members.
The budget passed 808-308, including absentee ballots.
In the four-candidate race for two seats, Laura Michalec Olszewski finished first with 565 votes followed by Maria Jost with 515 votes. Falling short were Michael Horan (499 votes) and former trustee Terry Fowler (418 votes). The new trustees will begin their three-year terms July 1.
Olszewski said she was nervous about the vote’s outcome and was “honored and humbled” at the result.
“But at the end of the day I think my message was clear – I’m here for the children,” she said “My volunteer record speaks for itself.”
Jost also said she was grateful for the voters’ support.
“I’m just glad that people had confidence in me. I really want to do good for the schools and give back to the community because my sons received so much,” Jost said.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Guiney was pleased with the public’s support of the budget.
“Our community came together and worked very hard to put together a budget that everyone not only understood but that satisfied the needs of all the facets of our community,” Guiney said. “It was tax cap compliant. It maintained programs and services.”
By Lucy Feidelson
Incumbent Trustee Edward Reder was comfortably re-elected to his seat on the Bedford Central School District Board of Education and voters easily approved the district’s $129 million budget.
In the board race, Reder won his second full term to the board, defeating challenger Marie Scanlan, 1,723-1,218. Reder won in four of the five areas of the district, and was strongest in Mount Kisco, his hometown. Scanlan won the area of Bedford Village by 132 votes.
Voters supported the district’s 2017-18 $129,072,250 budget as well as Proposition 2, which changes future board of education votes to an at-large election. Going forward, candidates with the highest total votes will be elected, ending the current practice of candidates running for a specific seat.
After the vote, Scanlan said the outcomes in the different areas of the district “reveals the divide that we have.”
“There isn’t a feeling of all being one district,” Scanlan said.
She wished the community and the board well in solving the challenges Bedford schools face, many of which stem from the district’s recent financial crisis.
Scanlan said she felt many voters appreciated her idea of greater professional development for teachers.
She said she hopes the board incorporates professional development into future advancements, along with mending the “rift between the community and the teachers.”
William Canavan ran unopposed for the seat currently held by Andrew Bracco. Bracco decided against running for re-election
Pleasantville School District voters overwhelmingly approved the district’s $49 million budget for 2017-18.
Voters passed the spending by a 603-112 margin. The budget carries a tax rate increase of 1.14 percent.
Board of Education incumbents Angela Vella and Louis Conte ran unopposed as the only candidates for the two available seats.