School board candidates won’t compete for votes

Bill San Antonio

In this year’s Roslyn school board election, the top two vote-getters will receive full three-year terms while the third-place finisher will complete two years remaining two years on the unfinished term of former Trustee Dani Kline, who resigned from the board last month.

But since there are only three candidates for the three open seats, and only one-third of a term at stake, those running for election don’t plan to campaign intensively for the Roslyn community’s vote on May 21. 

“It’s always important to get out in the community and talk to various folks and get the word out there,” incumbent Trustee Steven Litvack said. “It’s less competitive than it used to be though, considering there are three open spots as opposed to one open spot when I was elected.”

In a landslide fashion, Litvack won a special election in October to finish the term of former Trustee Stanley Stern, who resigned from the board last July during his fourth term on the school board.

To campaign, Litvack met with residents at the Roslyn train station and made fliers and lawn signs for display throughout the community, but said this year’s mostly-uncontested election does not warrant such a strenuous outreach plan.

“I don’t want to do all that again and put all those sings up on the lawns,” he said. “It takes away from the look and personality of the town and it’s not as necessary as it was the last time around. It’s just the three of us.”

Valauri, who in addition to Stern defeated Kim Hunter and Elizabeth Kellogg in his election to the board in 2010, said he was not going to campaign competitively against Litvack and David Dubner, the board’s newcomer, having remembered how strenuous his previous race had been.  

“I personally am not planning on waging a campaign against the other two,” Valauri said. “Being the senior incumbent, I’m comfortable in my experience in the last three years of getting to know the community and the community getting to know me. From that perspective, I don’t really see the need to be speaking out on what my role has been in the last three years.”

Litvack, the president of the Center for Allied Health & Nursing Education in Hackensack, N.J., said he and Valauri often talk to residents who attend the board of education meetings, and that Dubner is fairly well-known throughout the Roslyn school community for his work with the district’s Citizens Audit Advisory Committee. 

“If you look at the backgrounds of everyone, Bruce is a doctor and David has an excellent legal and business background, and I think that’s why nobody really ran against us,” Litvack said. “They saw we have qualified individuals who know what they’re doing and have worked within the district for a long time and have that interest in continuing to serve the district.”

Litvack also expects the district to hold a “Meet the Candidates Night” as the election draws near, though one has not yet been scheduled.

Though Kline’s resignation from the school board last month allowed him the opportunity to seek election, Dubner said he would not have run for the school board if it meant campaigning against someone else.

“I wouldn’t have had an interest in pursuing this if it had a competitive or adversarial approach to the election,” Dubner said. “From my standpoint, I’m just looking forward to joining the board, and hopefully it’s all headed toward a great future for the school and the community.” 

Dubner, an investment banker for Goldman Sachs who has also worked as an accountant and an attorney, said he does see the value in talking to potential voters in the community who may not be as familiar with his work on the audit committee as they may be with Litvack and Valauri’s tenure on the school board.

But Dubner said his campaign intentions are grounded more in earning the community’s trust in making a smooth transition in working alongside Litvack and Valauri than taking votes away from them. 

“From my standpoint, we’re all in the same boat,” Dubner said. “We all have the same objectives toward making positive contributions to the district. Whether it’s two years or three years is not terribly important because my goal is to be there for the long term, not necessarily just that one term, so that I can continue to make positive contributions in the future.”

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Bill San Antonio

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