Newcomer Ryan Kline and incumbents Tom Sposato and Deborah Russo were the top vote-getters in Tuesday’s race for the Nutley Board of Education, according to an unofficial tally provided by the clerk’s office tonight.
Votes may not be officially certified for days as the Essex County Clerk’s Office sorts through the provisional, mail-in and other types of ballots cast in Nutley, but the unofficial tally shows Sposato as the lead vote-getter, earning 4,127, while Russo received 3,867 and Kline 3,841.
Newcomers Alan Thomas and Kevin Georgetti, both attorneys, received 2,909 and 2,588 votes, respectively, according to the unofficial results.
“I’m looking forward to this experience. I’m looking forward to helping the board,” said Kline, a school psychologist with the Belleville public schools.
Sposato, the school board vice president, said he was pleased to have the most votes this time, after having to wait for his first victory three years ago. He and Debbie Russo celebrated their finishing first and second at the American Legion Post in Nutley, and the two had to speak up over a celebratory crowd.
Both trustees earned a second, three-year term.
"It's nice to know you actually did win," Sposato said. "Last time I had to wait until all of the provisional ballots were counted. And to have Debbie (Russo) also win makes it even better."
He also congratulated Kline for winning the third-most votes and gaining a seat.
For the next three years, Sposato said, "We have to support the Super (Superintendent of Schools Russell Lazovick), and continue to move the district in the right direction."
Russo said, "I'm very humbled and honored to be given three more years to serve Nutley. We need to maintain our momentum, and continue to strive for academic excellence coupled with fiscal responsibility."
Earlier in the day, both candidates talked about the first school board election being moved to November, after always being in April.
Sposato said, "It is a really big turnout in Nutley, and I think it is because of the presidential election."
Russo said, "It is a little harder to keep the focus on education, and not politics, but I agree with the change because of the cost savings of not having to fund another election in April."