LEWISBORO, N.Y. -- While Katonah-Lewisboro school board victors Scott Posner and William Rifkin won across the district, voters in the Lewisboro Elementary School zone backed opponents who had spoken out against closing the building.
Official results released by the school district show that Rory Burke and Carmen Delessio received the most votes in the LES zone, with 463 and 391 respectively. Posner came in third with 343 and Rifkin came in fourth with 295.
Across the entire district, official results show Posner finished first with 1,422, Rifkin in second with 1,168, Burke in third with 1,016 and Delessio in fourth with 665. There were two board seats open, so the two with the most votes were elected.
In contrast, the voting zones for Katonah Elementary School (KES), Increase Miller Elementary School (IMES) and Meadow Pond Elementary School (MPES) each had outcomes where Posner finished first, Rifkin finished second, Burke finished third and Delessio finished fourth.
The closure of LES, which will be for the 2014-15 school year, was repeatedly discussed during the campaign. At forums, Delessio and Burke noted their opposition to the closure. Posner, who supports the closure, felt that the process was not handled properly. Rifkin, who called the closure decision "very painful" added that it was "prudent."
The school board's decision to close, Daily Voice and others have previously reported, was due to declining enrollment and for financial savings.
Asked for a reaction about the outcome in the LES zone, Delessio replied with a statement,
"I believe that local community schools are one of the great things about living in New York State. LES typified that kind of school, but I did not run because LES closed. I ran because I truly believe that communities can come together and do great things in a unified way. I ran because that did not happen when LES closed. Dr. Kreutzer's dismissal left the KLSD ship without a leader in a time of critical change. That vacuum in leadership and direction was created by this board. I thought we could do better."
Delessio continued, "That message resonated in LES. In other areas, there was more sentiment to continue in the same direction as the current board. That may be, in part, from a desire to put the tumultuous events of the past few years behind us."
Delessio then added praise for each of his opponents.
The LES zone, which appeared to have more voter participation, also had higher tallies of people rejecting ballot measures. There, like across the district and in each elementary zone, voters approved the 2014-15 budget and capital fund propositions for bus purchases and turf field replacement. However, while the number of votes in favor were comparable to the other zones, the numbers against were substantially higher. For example, 269 in LES voted against the budget, while the zone with the second-highest total against was MPES with just 96.
The busing proposition received 294 no votes in LES, while KES, which had the second largest opposing tally, had just 130 against. Regarding the turf replacement proposition -- it also includes track work funding -- 313 in LES voted against, while the second highest dissenting tally came from IMES with 150 opposed.
Asked for comment, school board President Charles Day referred to the past rejection of budgets in LES and described the outcome in favor as "huge." He was also surprised that Delessio did not do better in the voting there.
The complete results, both districtwide and by elementary school vote, are available here.