Jul 30, 2014

After Landslide Victory, Lafazan Prepares for New Post

Newly elected Josh Lafazan ends campaign, begins work.

Though school board elections rarely gain regional attention, being elected before you've finished your AP exams causes quite a stir. Syosset made headlines across New York when residents overwhelmingly to their Board of Education Tuesday.

Since Lafazan's , the youngest board member in Syosset history has been on a tiring tour of interviews. And he couldn't be more grateful.

"The amount of support I've received has made me so proud to be a student in Syosset," said Lafazan. "None of this would have been possible without the constant support and help from my family, friends, neighbors, supporters…everyone."

A high school student winning a school board seat is not a new concept on Long Island. Current State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli began his political career when he was elected to the Mineola school board as a high school senior.

"I'm nine days younger than [DiNapoli] was and don't let him tell you any different," joked Lafazan.

DiNapoli was one of many seasoned politicians who reached out to congratulate Lafazan on his win.

"I know first-hand how difficult it can be to convince adults that a high school student can take on this type of responsibility," said DiNapoli in a statement Wednesday.

"I'm confident that he is up to the task and will bring a unique perspective to the board," he said, noting Lafazan is entering "one of the most challenging environments" for New York school districts he has ever seen.

Lafazan, like board members across the state, will be challenged to maintain his district's integrity amid brand new APPR legislation and a controversial state tax levy cap. The $198,090,057 budget that Syosset residents passed Tuesday fell exactly at the cap without cutting any programs, but required some major sacrifices. The budget dipped into reserve funds and required all teachers and administrators to accept a salary freeze.

Fiscal responsibility was a main tenant of Lafazan's campaign, and he intends to fulfill his promises because, simply put, the people said they wanted it.

"I'm trying to talk to as many constituents as possible and I want to make sure I am the best elected representative in Syosset," he said. "I want to hear what the voters want."

Until he sits at the front of auditorium for his first meeting, he is enjoying the post-election period while fulfilling his academic responsibilities. In fact, school pulled him away from a day in Manhattan Wednesday.

"I spent the day in the city, but I went back to school," for AP Government where he was met with intense support from his fellow students.

"Though I learned more about politics in the 24 hours before the election than I did the entire year in class," he said, referring to the .

Lafazan said his first order of business on the board will be to make sure every resident has access to the line-by-line draft of the budget. According to board members, he will officially be a part of the board as of July 1.

Don’t miss updates from Patch!