Syosset's youngest trustee: 'Feeling great'

Voters overwhelmingly elected Joshua Lafazan, the 18-year-old Syosset

Voters overwhelmingly elected Joshua Lafazan, the 18-year-old Syosset High School senior class president, to the Board of Education. (May 16, 2012) (Credit: David Pokress)

Joshua Lafazan's first full day as a Syosset Board of Education trustee-elect begun with an early morning start -- but not to head to classes at Syosset High School.

Lafazan, 18, who said he was operating on about three hours' sleep after he was overwhelmingly elected Tuesday night to the school board, on Wednesday skipped school altogether.

The Syosset High senior class president donned a suit and tie and drove with his parents into Manhattan for a 10:30 a.m. appearance on Fox Business News.

In midtown, he looked anything but tired despite days of campaign and a late night of watching the results roll in.

"I'm feeling great," he said.

Syosset voters overwhelmingly elected the 18-year-old Syosset High School senior class president to the Board of Education Tuesday, a day after the district publicly accused his father of walking off with the only list of absentee voters.

Joshua Lafazan joined newcomer Christopher DiFilippo and incumbent Alan Resnick to win one of three at-large seats on the board as he gained more than 4,700 votes. Lafazan's father, Jeffrey, had been the subject of a robo-call to Syosset parents Monday alerting them that he had taken the only copy of the district voter list.

He is the youngest candidate among the hundreds running for local boards on Long Island Tuesday and the first high school student elected to the Syosset board.

"The people of Syosset have sent a mandate that we need open government and transparency in this town, and Josh Lafazan will deliver," he said after learning of his victory.

High school senior Risa Israeloff, 18, said she voted to support Lafazan, whom she has known since elementary school.

"All of us are here to help him out," she said. "We're all excited for him."

Earlier Tuesday, Syosset school officials had defended their decision to robo-call district parents.

In a statement sent out Tuesday afternoon, Syosset school officials said the reason behind the robo-call was "to recover stolen district records which included confidential information and names and addresses of residents who had submitted applications for absentee ballots. The auto-dial message asked the Syosset community for help in recovering the missing absentee-ballot documents."

Nassau Police confirmed Tuesday that the incident -- in which district officials accused Jeffrey Lafazan of taking the only copy of the absentee-voter list and running from the district's administrative office -- is under investigation. No charges have been filed and no arrests have been made, police officials said late Tuesday.

But Jeffrey Lafazan said the district's tactics backfired. Lafazan won by a landslide, with 4,739 votes compared to DiFilippo, who had 2,531, and Resnick with 2,474. Incumbent Sonia Rutigliano had 2,115 votes and newcomer John Moore had 2,365 votes. Lafazan had been critical of Superintendent Carole Hankin's salary and benefits package of more than a half-million dollars, the highest on Long Island.

Jeffrey Lafazan had said he did not know the document he took was the district's only copy and his wife returned it to authorities later Monday.

"The smear campaign brought this campaign together and I think there is a number of people who support Josh to let the administration know how upset they were, and that is why he won by so much," Jeffrey Lafazan said.

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