Legislator-elect seeks to keep Syosset school board seat

Legislator-elect seeks to keep Syosset school board seat
Nassau County Legislator-elect Joshua Lafazan (D-Syosset) said he seeks to keep his Syosset school board seat in the May 15 election. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

A recently elected Nassau County legislator is seeking re-election in 2018 for a board of education seat he’s held since he was 18.

Legislator-elect Joshua Lafazan (D-Syosset) originally got into politics with his run for Syosset Board of Education during the final months of his senior year in the same district. After his election, he took over as trustee while attending Nassau Community College for two years before finishing his bachelor’s degree at Cornell University.

While much of Lafazan’s home district is not under the purview of his new District 18 seat, the hamlet will decide on May 15 whether to grant Lafazan’s wish of a third term on the school board.

Nassau’s District 18 includes East Hills, Greenvale, Woodbury, Syosset, Laurel Hollow, Oyster Bay Cove, Oyster Bay, Cove Neck, Centre Island, Bayville, Mill Neck, Lattingtown, Locust Valley, Matinecock, the Brookvilles, Muttontown, East Norwich and Glen Head.

Originally elected in 2012, Lafazan said there is no conflict of interest between the two positions and no law restricts him from holding both seats.

Serving on the Syosset school board was never about being a stepping-stone for my career in government,” Lafazan said. “Rather, serving on the school board was about ensuring that the district that has given me so much can continue to thrive for future generations. Even though this will mean much more work for me, I know I am up to the task.”

Lafazan said he will run as part of a slate of three candidates, including Trustee Andy Feldman and an unnamed third candidate.

Lafazan said school districts across Long Island will face a financial storm in the next few years with rising pension contributions, health care costs and the tax cap.

Lafazan said the tradition of passing eight-figure bond propositions is not sustainable for districts and needs to act now to stay on solid financial footing.

With many vendor contracts that haven’t been re-negotiated in years, we need to do better so that taxpayers are always getting the best bang for their buck,” Lafazan said. “We need to generate revenue outside of the tax base to protect the areas of the district we hold most dear — music, arts, clubs and sports. It is because of this perilous financial state of public education across all of Long Island that I do not feel comfortable resigning my seat on this board just yet.”

While Lafazan has spent his board of education tenure splitting his time between Syosset and Cornell or Harvard University respectively, he said he will now be living in the area full-time.

Lafazan defeated three-term incumbent Donald MacKenzie (R-Oyster Bay) with 55 percent of the 14,436 votes during the Nov. 7 election. Lafazan will be sworn into office on Jan. 1.

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