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Tie votes mean N. Bellmore, Oysterponds runoffs

Two Long Island districts where Board of Education candidates tied in this month's school vote have scheduled runoff elections on June 25.

In North Bellmore, incumbent JoAnn DeLauter, 57, the board president, and challenger Frank LaMagra, 51, a retired NYPD narcotics detective investigator, each got 799 votes in the voting on May 21.

North Bellmore will hold its runoff vote at the Newbridge Road School from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on June 25, according to the school district website.

Both candidates said they plan to campaign again.

In the case of a tie vote, state law dictates that only the two candidates who tied may run again.

"I am going to participate in the runoff and I will get the word out, and I think people are very interested and will turn out to vote," DeLauter said.

LaMagra, who is making his first bid for the board, said he was encouraged by the tie vote.

"I plan on campaigning big-time now," he said.

Oysterponds candidates Dorothy-Dean Thomas, 46, and Betsy Dzenkowski received 157 votes each. The district's runoff vote will be held in the gymnasium of the Oysterponds School in Orient from 3 to 9 p.m. on June 25.

Thomas, who is the current board president and has served on the board for three years, said she plans to fully campaign to continue the work she has been doing on the board to improve programs while keeping costs in check.

"I love this job," she said.

Challenger Dzenkowski declined to comment.

Officials with the New York State School Boards Association said tie votes in board races are rare. Under state education law, runoff elections must be held within 45 days of the initial election.

Last year, two candidates in Long Beach tied.

"We have had very close elections . . . but the chances of coming up exactly even statistically happens not all that often," said Jay Worona, the association's general counsel. "Obviously, the legislature did prepare for the possibility that would happen, however infrequent it may be."

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