Candidates collect signatures to qualify for ballot

Team notes transparency as unifying stance

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On Saturday, April 16, four possible candidates for the four open board of education seats at Bayport-Blue Point School District set out to collect signatures from the community, setting up a post at baseball fields on Bayport Commons.

Daniel Bertran, Elizabeth Cavuto, Amy Hope, and Jenna Kennedy greeted enthusiastic and curious community members leaving a baseball game and informed them of their intentions to run for the school board as a team.

In order to formally apply to be a candidate, potential candidates must collect at least 25 signatures from community members to make the ballot. The four candidates exceeded that number less than half an hour of being at the field.

Cavuto, who ran last year, said of her impetus for running again, “I think it’s important to give back to the community and I want to do what’s best for our kids. That’s still my motivation. We want to be a collaborative team of the district.”

Kennedy said of her motivation to run, “My son is going to Sylvan this year as a kindergartener, and I would like to be an advocate for all children and a voice for all parents… These are precious years and [we all] want to be involved as much as possible.”

Bertran said, “The school board is a challenging job and I think they can do better… [We] are strong proponents of parental choice and very interested in transparency… We want to know what they’re [the school board] voting on, what curriculum that is discussed.”

When asked to expand on his definition on transparency, Bertran said, “When people ask questions, we’ll give them that answer; we shouldn’t stand by and say we don’t discuss votes behind closed doors.”

Some controversy later followed on social media, with community members upset that the event had not been advertised to more accessible community Facebook pages.

A resident of Bayport had posted the information about the signature gathering on a smaller community group approximately half an hour before it began.

Responding on behalf of all four candidates, Elizabeth Cavuto said, “The team used the Bayport Commons as a meeting place for those who expressed interest in signing our petitions. This was not an occasion to meet and/or question potential candidates, but simply to collect the required number of signatures necessary to submit our names as candidates. We look forward to getting out to meet as many community members as we can in the coming weeks.”

All four successfully submitted their candidacy applications to the district clerk on Monday, April 18, and will be on the ballot for May 17.

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