By Kathryn G. Menu
While voters resoundingly approved the Sag Harbor School District budget, and offered support for the purchase of the former Stella Maris Regional School property, the president of the school’s board of education lost her seat by a narrow margin in a four-person race for two three-year terms during Tuesday night’s election.
Board president Susan Kinsella finished third in the race with 641 votes, bested by Susan Lamontagne by just four votes with 645 ballots cast in her favor. Board vice president Chris Tice was the top vote getter of the evening, earning 738 votes to earn her third full term and fourth election to the board of education. Roxanne Briggs placed fourth with 428 votes.
After the results were read, Ms. Kinsella, 53, said she was happy to see the budget and referendum to purchase Stella Maris pass, but that she was disappointed she would not be on the board to continue the work.
“I was very excited,” said Ms. Kinsella, who was seeking her third elected term on the board, where she served as president for one year.
“The most important thing from my perspective were that the two propositions passed, and they passed with great margins,” said Ms. Tice, 55, the senior managing director of Corcoran Real Estate offices in Sag Harbor and Montauk. “That is a real wonderful confirmation from the community that this is the direction they want to go in, and it is a real confirmation in their confidence in our superintendent, our administrators, our teachers, our staff and the entire board of education.”
“I have to say, I developed a tremendous amount of respect for all the candidates during the course of this race,” said Ms. Lamontagne after the vote. “We actually had some back and forth and have been in contact behind the scenes — I was speaking with Susan Kinsella tonight, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for her.”
Ms. Lamontagne, 51, has two sons who attend school in the district, and is the president and creative director of Public Interest Media Group, a communications firm that specializes in health, wellness, environment and social policy issues.
“I actually did not expect to win tonight, and I really think, or I hope, it is because I am trying to elevate children’s health and wellness in all our policy and facility decisions,” Ms. Lamontagne said. “I don’t think we do that enough right now, and I want to see us do that more. That is why I ran — it was not to run against anyone, it was to elevate children’s health and wellness. I think Sag Harbor could not have lost tonight — we had four very strong candidates.”
“Congratulations to our incumbent board member Chis Tice and new board member Susan Lamontagne,” said Superintendent Katy Graves. “We look forward to the great path that lies ahead working to do what is best for children.”
Ms. Lamontagne will officially join the board in July when Ms. Kinsella’s term ends.
On Monday, May 23 the board of education is scheduled to meet in executive session at 6 p.m. before convening for a 7:30 p.m. business meeting. It is also scheduled to meet on Tuesday, May 31 for a 6 p.m. public hearing discussion on the district’s repair reserve fund.