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Extended Terms Give BOE Incumbents Time to Weigh Options

Board forgoes public budget vote by moving elections to fall

When the Howell Public Schools voted to to November to coincide with the they not only eliminated the public vote on the but also gave the three board members running some added time to their terms.

In other years Wednesday's board of education meeting would have been the day after the school elections. As they wrapped up a quiet agenda there was a sense of calm for the members and the administration about their decision to shake up the calendar. 

Board Secretary and Business Administrator Ron Sanasac said it was a different experience to not be waiting for the election results while neighboring districts still . 

Never one to rest Sanasac said he was still busy working on what is usually one of the busiest nights of the week. "I always worry about the budget, but it was different to not have to watch for the outcome of the vote," he said. "It gave some more time not just yesterday, but it gave some more time for planning and it gave some more time for insuring the best budget and it was actually a very positive month."

When the elections are held in November the seats currently held by Board President Timothy O'Brien, Patrick Dowling and Joseph Moscato Jr. will be up for a vote. While none of the three have committed to run, at least one said he may decide to not file before the June 5 deadline.

"At this point I'm not planning on running," said Moscato. This will mark the end of his second term on the board and he said with his wife now retired it could be a good time to walk away while still finding ways to stay involved. 

Moscato said if he does not run again it will be different, but not like when he retired from teaching. "I was more torn when I left teaching than I would be leaving the board" he said. "You can still be involved in committees and you can still be involved with all kinds of stuff without the commitment of the board."

O'Brien said he has enjoyed his time at the center of the dais and is focusing on more pressing matters before worrying about a November election. "I tend to focus on what's immediately in front of me and we've accomplished certain things but there's still the ongoing needs of the district that we have to address," he said. 

Having moved into the presidency during an election year O'Brien said he still considers himself one of the members of the board. "Folks here voted and asked me to take a role but I think as a team we've come together and done a good job," he said. "I guess like anything else you can look at one board member but the reality is it's all nine of us. I just tend to be the focus, that's my role as the president to help everybody work together and I think we've accomplished that."

As for Dowling, he spend what would have been his election night leading his Marlins of the Howell South Little League to a win on Tuesday night. "It was nice that I didn't have to go to to see how the election went," he said. "It was nice knowing that the budget was taken care of although 63 out of 70 budgets passed anyway."

Dowling said he will wait until closer to the deadline to decide whether he will seek another term.

The next board meeting is scheduled for May 2 at 8 p.m.

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