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Vote of confidence for Southington BOE incumbents

SOUTHINGTON — All nine members of the Board of Education were reelected Tuesday night.

Republicans retained their 6-3 majority, as incumbents Chairman Brian Goralski, Terri Carmody, Colleen Clark, Terry Lombardi, Jill Notar-Francesco and Patricia Queen all held on to their seats.

On the Democratic side, voters returned David Derynoski, Zaya Oshana, and Patricia Johnson to their seats on the board.

Republican Town Chairman Brian Callahan said the party “believed we have the best candidates going forward, but it was up to the voters,” to validate that belief, he said.

Goralski said the Republican field is excited to “have the opportunity to continue the great things that we’ve done with the schools over the last six years as the majority party” and “see the community support our work to continue to move it forward.”

Carmody called the Republicans’ retention of their 6-3 majority an “endorsement of everything we’ve done for the last two years.”

Notar-Francesco said voters responded to the Republican agenda of school safety, expanded technology, smaller class sizes and a reasonable budget.

Speaking for the Democrats, Derynoski denied that the Republican platform won over voters. “The Republicans weren’t putting any messages that the Democrats weren’t,” he said.

Derynoski offered a simpler explanation. “Southington is leaning more toward Republicans,” he said, adding that “it could just be a cycle.”

While Derynoski and his fellow Democratic incumbents on the board were reelected, three non-incumbents run by the party — Jerry Belanger, Gail Doerfler, and William Lutz — fell short.

Belanger admitted the school board has done a good job over the past two years. “If people are happy, there’s no reason to change, and I respect that,” he said.

Derynoski said he does not see major ideological differences between Democrats and Republicans on the board.

“The only time there is a political association is during the elections,” he said.

“The focus on the school board is always on what’s best for children,” he added.

Goralski agreed. “The bottom line is the Board of Education is not political,” he said.

The election began at 6 a.m. this morning with turnout at the town’s eleven polling centers slightly outpacing that of the election two years ago.

Deputy Democratic Registrar Tom Janik said 7,361 voters — 29 percent of the registered electorate — voted by 6 p.m., which is an increase from the 6,581 ballots that were cast by 6 p.m. in the 2011 election.

The 29 percent turnout is about equal to the total turnout figures in the last two elections, he said.

The 2013 turnout tally does not include absentee ballots, he added.



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