(IN DEVELOPMENT) Comsewogue School Board Election

By Raymond Janis

Next week, residents of the Comsewogue School District will decide on the election of two school board nominees.

The terms of directors Robert DeStefano and Francisca Alabau-Blatter are coming to an end and both are up for re-election. On Tuesday, May 17, voters will determine who will fill those seats for the next three years.

TBR News Media reached out to the declared candidates, asking them why they are running, what are the most important issues facing the district in the next term, and what they hope to accomplish if elected. Meghan Puleo and Alabau-Blatter could not be reached for interviews. We invite Puleo and Alabau-Blatter to contact us and we will update this story on our website to include these interviews.

Robert DeStefano

DeStefano said he was running for re-election out of love for his community. He added that he and his wife grew up in the community, bought a house there and believe in giving back.

“Serving this community in this capacity is something I’ve had the honor of doing for the past twelve years,” he said. “There are still a lot of good things to keep doing, and there are always things we can work on to improve.”

According to him, there is still a lot to do to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. He said this is still the biggest problem facing the district.

“Right now it’s about making sure the kids have recovered from the past two years,” he said, adding, “We’ve all been through a lot to get through the pandemic and to make sure that for all students who are still feeling the effects of learning loss, we are catching them.

If elected to another term, DeStefano said his primary goal is, outside of what has been previously stated, to help introduce new programs coming to the district.

“We have a lot of exciting things coming to the district,” he said. “We are introducing a nine-period day in our high school. We plan to incorporate this into our college to give our students more options for additional coursework. He added that he intends to refine these programs as they are implemented by “ensuring that these initiatives thrive and are part of the curriculum, so that our young students and our future students can count on them beyond the duration of this term”.

Joseph Borruso

Borruso said a number of people in the community are looking for changes in the school district.

“A lot of candidates have been there for over 10 years now, so they just want new people there,” he said. “I think my course is perfect. I have a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting, so I think I would be a good addition to help with all aspects of the school board and the community.

If elected, Borruso intends to focus on curriculum and academic programs throughout the district. “We are ranked well below some of the similar sized schools, like Mount Sinai, Rocky Point and Miller Place,” he said. “I don’t think we’re as bad as the rankings show, but I’ll dig deeper into how those rankings are made and processed, and see what better we can do to improve our rankings.”

Borruso said active participation in the school council will be his main focus. “I want to go into it with a new way of thinking and use my experience and skills to help push a positive agenda forward,” he said.

Gary Bodenburg

Bodenburg said he has served the community in various capacities through committees throughout the district. According to him, he is currently the program and instruction director of a non-profit organization that helps women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

“It’s safe to say that I am truly doing this to move together as a community, to enrich the lives of all of our children, and to support our staff and teachers to the best of my abilities,” he said.

Bodenburg stressed the importance of cost and fiscal responsibility. At a time of great uncertainty, he suggests that thoughtful scrutiny of budgets is paramount.

“It’s important to be careful and make sure our budget is very tight,” he said. “We need to be extremely mindful of the circumstances surrounding what is happening in our world and our fiscal responsibilities to our constituents.”

Bodenburg said his main goal is to improve communication and transparency between all stakeholders and voters in the district, adding, “And with that, our goal is to stand up for children. This is the most important thing we need to do as board members.