EducationSchool Votes 2023The Examiner

New Board Members Elected in Chappaqua, Bedford; Budgets Pass Easily

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Area school budgets were easily approved Tuesday night and voters in the Chappaqua and Bedford each elected two new Board of Education members who will take over for retiring incumbents this summer.

In Chappaqua’s four-candidate race for two board seats, Alissa Dorfman and Matthew Auerbach finished first and second, respectively, defeating fellow first-time challengers Beret Flom and Shokoofeh Rajabzadeh. Dorfman and Auerbach will replace current President Jane Shepardson and Vice President Warren Messner on July 1.

Tallies from the district clerk’s office totaled 1,138 votes for Dorfman and 923 for Auerbach while Flom collected 646 and Rajabzadeh 641.

Bedford School District voters elected Betsy Sharma (1,537) and Kristine Stoker (1,508) outlasting Liz Goldman-Sider (1,000) and Rica Mendes (946).

Dorfman said being able to convey commitment, knowledge and perspective likely resonated with voters.

“That was my main message that I wanted to get across, that I had been in the district a very long time and had the perspective and that I was very committed to doing this and that I had the knowledge of all the schools,” Dorfman said. “So I am really honored to have won a position and I’m really excited.”

Auerbach, who hadn’t initially considered a run for the board, said he believes that he represented a demographic with young children just starting out. He expressed his gratitude for community members who backed him.

“I have never met so many inspiring people,” he said. “Some of them barely knew me going into this and supported me in such a way that is honestly touching and made everything that I’ve had to deal with the last couple days worth it.”

In the final days of the campaign there had been a woman in the center of downtown Chappaqua holding a sign urging the public to vote against Auerbach because he wasn’t qualified.

The election in Bedford also had its moments. Last week, an anonymous mailer telling the public to reject Goldman-Sider and Mendes for being “woke.”

Elections in the Byram Hills, Mount Pleasant and Pleasantville school districts all saw uncontested affairs. Incumbents Lara Stangel and Lori Kanner, Byram Hills’ current board president and vice president, will each serve another term as will incumbents Sara Beaty and Laura Michalec Olszewski in Mount Pleasant. Pleasantville will have two new board members, Lucas Cascardo and John Vamossy, who each won their seats without competition.

Meanwhile, budgets were approved with by lopsided margins. The $138 million Chappaqua School District budget for 2023-24 sailed through by a more than 3-1 margin, 1431-394. The library budget was approved by a similarly overwhelming majority, 1,516-307.

There were easy budget approvals in Bedford (1,804-776), Mount Pleasant (576-143), Pleasantville (513-76) and Byram Hills (355-61).

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