MONTICELLO - Victoria LaRusso upset incumbent Lori Orestano-James to win "Seat 1" on the school board in Tuesday's elections.
And incumbent Stacey Sharoff, who served as president in the term right before James' also lost her seat, by 15 votes, to Ashley Rielly.
Former Monticello School Board President Stacey Sharoff, is seen here at right in 2017 with Tammy Mangus, the former superintendent. On Tuesday, Sharoff and current board president Lori Orestano James both lost in their election bids to return to the board. During the time James was president, Mangus resigned under pressure. Photo by Rich Klein.
Incumbent Jennifer Holmes held off two challengers for Seat 3 on the board, edging out Mary Beth Bastone by 16 votes. Jimmy B. Crawley got 223 votes in that three-way battle.
Monticello voters approved the district’s $94.5 million 2022-23 school budget, by a vote of 811 yes to 446 no votes.
The budget has zero increase on the tax levy, and is an overall spending increase of 3.5%, the district said on its website.
Officials also said that the budget "preserves all existing positions and programs, restores pre-pandemic extracurricular experiences and activities, adds and enhances staff professional development opportunities and addresses pandemic-related learning lost – at no impact to the tax levy."
“We sought to create a budget that balances our responsibility to provide each learner with empowering educational experiences with our responsibility to the taxpayer to exercise fiscal prudence,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Evans said. “I am grateful to our taxpayers for their support and partnership.”
LaRusso, on her Facebook page, said she was honored to be elected to the board and thanked her supporters.
"This a rebirth of our district but it cannot be done by one person," she wrote. "This involves a team effort by everyone...teachers, administrators, staff, parents, community members and most of all our children. "
She also thanked her running mates and the Monticello Teachers Union for its endorsement.
Meanwhile, James wrote on her Facebook page that it was her "privilege to serve the students and community of the Monticello Central School District for 33 years. To all those who have always and truthfully supported me in the work I have done, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those who feel I have let them down, I apologize. For those who have forgotten what I have done to help and care for them, their children, their families, and their well being, I forgive you. "
Monticello Board President Lori Orestano James, at left, as seen here
in 2017 at a school board meeting when she was a a board member while Stacey Sharoff was president.