Correction: Jon Siegel emailed Patch Friday night and stated that he is in fact remaining in the race. "While I had contemplated withdrawing from the race because of the advantage an incumbent candidate has in a three way election, and to allow Mr. Vinci the opportunity to run against Mr. Duncan on a 1 on 1 basis, recent comments have made me reconsider this decision," Siegel said.
About 25 residents gathered at Wednesday evening for the annual meet the school board candidates night.
It's a quiet year on the Board of Education election front as the only participants at the forum were incumbent Douglas Duncan and challenger Jeff Vinci. Duncan and Vinci are opposing each other for the sole contested board seat.
Former BOE member Jon Siegel submitted nominating petitions to also challenge Duncan, but officials confirmed to Patch Thursday that Siegel has dropped out of the race. Siegel has not returned a request for comment explaining his decision.
At Samoset Wednesday, Duncan, a Sachem North graduate who was first elected to the board at age 18 in 2006, spoke of his and the board's achievements over the last six years.
"During my tenure on the Board, I have fought hard to preserve the educational and co-curricular opportunities for all our students," Duncan said. "As I said six years ago, it is my firm and unwavering belief that the children of Sachem should be getting the same great education and the same opportunities that I had while at Sachem. Over the past six years we have been able to do just that, all while staying sensitive to the taxpayers. We had three years at zero percent tax increases."
Duncan is currently the president and chairman of the board for the Northeast Athletic Association, which he founded to give students more opportunity to play sports. Duncan is also a proud lifelong member of the Sachem community.
"Sachem has given me so much in my life," he said. "Running for the board is my way of giving back, my way of serving the community and trying to give back to Sachem which has given me so much."
Vinci has been a business owner for 19 years and moved to the Sachem district in 2006.
"I think that I can bring a lot more to this district," said Vinci, who served on the district's legislative committee from 2007-10. "I have been a volunteer since 1999. Everything I have ever given comes from my heart."
"I care about the community, the people, the teachers...education is the most important thing for our kids," Vinci added.
Duncan said there were three top things he would like to accomplish if elected to a third three-year term.
"I want to absolutely keep our programming. I don't want to have to cut classes or electives," he said. "I want to keep our academic program in tact. I would like to keep our co-curricular activities in tact as well. Right now, we have an opportunity for every student after school and I want to keep it that way. The third thing I would say is to remain sensitive to the taxpayers like we have done for the past six years."
Vinci said: "I am running for the board because I care. I don't want any teacher to lose their job and I think that education is really important. I'm here for the community."
The board election will be held on May 15 at the same time as the school budget . Incumbents Michael Isernia and Robert Scavo are running unopposed.