A Long Island HS senior becomes one of our youngest, elected officials in NY State

Josh Lafazan of Syosset Schools

Website of Josh Lafazan, NY’s youngest, elected official: joshlafazan.org

Story with video at NBC News: here.
“An 18-year-old high school senior has won a seat on his Long Island school board, becoming the youngest elected official in New York state…” [Correction: Another HS senior, younger than Joshua Lafazan, was also elected in NY State yesterday.] “…winning by over 2,000 votes…”

Story, with fuller election results details, at The Syosset Patch: here.

So, Joshua Lafazan, a student at Syossett public schools, won the school board election in his district. Lafazan will be [among] the youngest elected official[s] in New York State.

Joshua Lafazan’s story reminds us of the biography of documentary producer Michael Moore, who also won a seat for school board when he was 18 years old. The reaction to Moore’s tenure is quite a saga, and can be read at Michael Moore’s website: here. Let’s hope Josh has an easier time of it!

Onthewilderside commentary about Josh Lafazan, Jeffrey Lafazan, the election, and the records controversy: here.

Results from other 2012 Long Island School Election results at onthewilderside: here.


About the Syosset Schools Election
More results, analysis, and some prickly comments by Kimberly Wilder, below:

Here are the results, as posted at the Syosset Patch:

Results from Syosset Patch:

Candidate     Votes
Lafazan     4,739
DiFilippo     2,531
Resnick     2,474
Moore             2,365
Rutigliano     2,115

Since I have been volunteer campaign staff for many candidates, and since I am very  interested in electoral activism, the chance to crunch numbers and analyze this election fascinates me.

The election was for 3 seats, and 5 candidates were running.* 18-year-old Josh Lafazan won the most votes. The two candidates with the least votes were John Moore (not elected*) and Sonia Rutigliano (not elected). John Moore was not on the board, and had never run for public office before. Sonia Rutigliano was on the board. So, I thought it would be interesting to study why she lost the election, and was the least vote getter.

I think I found the answer. It appears that Sonia Rutigliano was a strong voice for the status quo, which, in Syosset School District, includes a Superintendent salary and benefits of over $500,000 a year. Though, other, winning candidates also took that position. So, perhaps, what lost Rutigliano the vote may have been her specific comments on the election. While a student was empowering himself to run for office, and young people were descending on the election, Sonia Rutigliano was quoted in the Patch as saying: “The board is made up of 9 responsible, mature, respected adults.” (See story: here). It sounds like her comments were a subtle, ageist attack on youthful candidate Josh Lafazan. If so, the comments and attitude backfired greatly.

Another interesting number is the difference in votes between Josh Lafazan and the next highest candidate. Josh won by about 2,200 votes! And, the school budget passed by 61%. A lot of the job of school staff and school board members is to get the community out to vote YES on the budget. So, Josh Lafazan appears to have been very helpful in activating the community, and helping to pass the budget. Other school communities should reflect on the value of having students run for school board. And, on the value and importance of getting young people to participate in the school system that shapes their world, and controls their destiny. Perhaps if a high school senior ran in every district, the budgets would have a more likely chance of passing. And, even better, what if the students — especially of voting age, but truly all the students — had genuine input into the budget process. Perhaps there would be a better budget, and a better chance of it passing?

Enhanced by ZemantaOf course, it would be even more empowering if all the members of a school community had sincere input into the budget process, and a sincere way to express their opinions on election day. That result could be accomplished with a Menu Item Budget Vote, as described in a previous onthewilderside post: here.____________________

*Info updated and corrected at 2:26am on 5/16/2012

2 Responses

  1. […] HS Senior Josh Lafazan wins in Syosset School Board election. Story and links at onthewilderside: here. […]

  2. […] Schools Three Village Schools Tuckahoe Schools The big news of the day is that high school senior Josh Lafazan won a seat on the Syosset School Board. Part of Josh Lafazan’s campaign was a complaint about the […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.