One candidate, but two open seats — Write-in candidate could join Board of Ed

JULIE LANE PHOTO Side by side, Susan Binder (left) and Kathleen Lynch.
JULIE LANE PHOTO Susan Binder (left) and Kathleen Lynch.

For the second time in five years, someone could emerge as a Board of Education member whose name is not on the ballot.

That’s because Kathleen Lynch is the only incumbent running. Susan Binder opted not to seek another term and a candidate interested in running was disqualified because he failed to meet the residency requirement.

Five years ago, only one candidate, Mark Kanarvogel, sought re-election when there were two seats open. But Thomas Graffagnino, who had opted not to seek another term, was elected on a write-in vote.

This year, learning of Ms. Binder’s decision, Jason Lones planned a run. Mr. Lones is a researcher for a university and also works for South Ferry. But candidates must have a one-year residency on the Island and Mr. Lones and his wife Ebeth Wilson Lones have not lived here long enough for him to qualify as a candidate.

The Lones family moved to the Island on July 1, 2017 about 45 days short of the one-year requirement. But Mr. Lones noted he and his wife spent a lot of time over a 20-year period here, including two years here as working college students.

Their son, Wilson, is enrolled at Shelter Island School.

“It is because of him and all his classmates and teachers that I have a vested interest in helping serve the school community and finding ways to keep the school near the center of what we all enjoy about living on Shelter Island,” Mr. Lones said. “I look forward to remaining involved by supporting the current leaders of our school community and I welcome the first opportunity to be selected to serve in an official capacity.”

The disqualification clears a path for a write-in to take the open seat.

Mr. Graffagnino got 64 write-in votes in 2013 and went on to become Board of Education president in 2015.

If there were to be no write-in votes, the Board of Education could appoint someone to serve from July 1 through the election in May 2019, or could call a special election within 90 days to fill the seat, according to the district’s policy manual.

Ms. Binder couldn’t be reached for comment on her decision not to seek a second term, but several people who know her well said she continues to demonstrate her commitment to the school district in many ways, including working with students on this year’s production of the school play, “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”

Voting on the 2018-19 school year budget and Board of Education candidates is on Tuesday, May 15, with voting at the school between noon and 9 p.m.