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Syosset class prez seeks school board seat

Josh Lafazan, 18, a Syosset High School senior,

Josh Lafazan, 18, a Syosset High School senior, is running for the Syosset Board of Education. (April 17, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Danielle Finkelstein

An 18-year-old Syosset High senior seeking a seat on the local Board of Education is believed to be the youngest of more than 360 Long Island candidates seeking office this school election season.

Joshua Lafazan, currently president of his senior class, said he's running because students need better representation on the Syosset board and spending must be brought under control.

He is one of five candidates vying for three at-large seats in the May 15 election.

Lafazan has made Superintendent Carole Hankin's pay part of his platform. Her compensation package -- $541,454 in salary and benefits -- has been criticized by the state comptroller and governor, among others.

He described the race as "the most highly compensated superintendent versus Josh at the high school."

"It is really David in Goliath's den, because I come to her high school every day," he said.

Hankin declined to comment.

Also seeking three-year terms are incumbents Alan Resnick and Sonia Rutigliano, and newcomers John Moore and Christopher DiFilippo. Shari Dorfman is not seeking re-election.

Resnick, Rutigliano and Moore are running on a slate, and each say they support the superintendent.

Resnick, an anesthesiologist, said the compensation issue is old news.

"Dr. Hankin has dedicated herself to our district over the past 22 years, and has worked to ensure that every child will come to school in September and receive the high-quality education that Syosset Schools have always provided," said Resnick, 48.

He said he's running to continue Syosset's tradition of educational excellence. "This can only occur when the board consists of experienced, mature members who will cooperate with each other and with the administration to accomplish that goal."

Rutigliano, a Woodbury business owner for more than 30 years, said the board has been able to balance the budget and reduce spending without trimming student services.

Moore, 45, a sales and service manager at Carrier Corp., said his leadership and business experience make him an ideal member of the board.

DiFilippo, a technology project manager who has lived in the district for 30 years, said residents have had enough of ever-increasing property taxes.

"The taxes are always going up and up, and a lot of the residents of the community have expressed concern why our superintendent is compensated so high," he said.

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