Most local school board incumbents have recently confirmed their intentions to seek new terms on the May 21 vote, while others remain on the fence. One even agreed to step aside if the right challenger comes around.
Here’s a summary of which school board seats are up for grabs. To gain a spot on the ballot, all candidate petitions are due April 22.
SOUTHOLD, ONE SEAT
Southold school board vice president Judi Fouchet said she’s enjoyed her tenure on the five-member board and intends to run again. But her decision may change if a passionate member of the community steps up to the plate.
Ms. Fouchet said she believes she’s never faced a challenger during her tenure on the board because the race has been — and continues to be — for a single seat. She said running unopposed could either be a sign that people like the job she’s doing or simply aren’t interested in the position. Another reason, Ms. Fouchet said, might be because running in a two-way race could be perceived as a personal attack.
“If two people are up for re-election and someone challenges them, then those three don’t feel like they are personally running against each other,” she said.
Ms. Fouchet said there’s only one reason she’ll go up against a challenger.
“I would run if I believed they were running against the district’s best interest,” she said. “I have no problem running. I’ll wait to see if someone else throws their hat in the ring.”
OYSTERPONDS, THREE SEATS
Three Oysterponds school board seats currently held by president Dorothy-Dean Thomas, Deborah Dumont and Thomas Gray are up for grabs.
Ms. Thomas, an Orient resident and consultant for Lenz Winery, confirmed she will seek re-election. She said she’d like to serve on the seven-member board for another term to follow through on several changes in the works for the pre-K through sixth-grade district. They include implementing the Common Core State Standards Initiative and technology upgrades to allow students to take state assessments online, a procedure Albany requires school districts implement by next school year.
“We’ve had a lot of things thrown at us and I think the teachers and administration have done a great job at navigating through those waves and doing what’s in the best interest of Oysterponds,” Ms. Thomas said.
Ms. Dumont and Mr. Gray did not return phone calls seeking comment.
GREENPORT, TWO SEATS
Greenport school board president Heather Wolf and Tina Volinski have confirmed they will run for re-election.
Ms. Wolf, a parent and management consultant for a division of the Financial Times, said she’s pleased with the district’s proactive steps for financial planning, such a striking a cost-saving deal with its teacher’s union last year. The move held teachers’ salaries flat with no step increases or annual raises in the 2012-13 school year.
“Budget season is always nerve-wracking, but, through the great reserving we did last year, we’re better prepared for the future,” she said.
NEW SUFFOLK, ONE SEAT
New Suffolk school board member Joseph Polashock will seek another term on the three-member board, a decision he said is driven by his desire to make sure his community’s quality of life is maintained.
“I want to keep our little place up and running,” said Mr. Polashock, a former student in the K-6 school.
MATTITUCK-CUTCHOGUE, TWO SEATS
Two of the seven seats on the Mattituck-Cutchogue board will be decided next month. Both incumbents William Gatz and Janique Nine said after last Thursday’s school board meeting that they’re still undecided.