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Markum wins special election for N-N school board seat

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NORFOLK - Stephen Markum outpaced his opponent by a 2-1 margin Tuesday to win a vacant seat on the Norwood-Norfolk Central School Board of Education.

Mr. Markum received 48 votes compared to Thomas Cota’s 24 to claim the three-year term on the board.

“I’m looking forward to the process of how it all runs,” he said when the results were announced after the polls closed at 8 p.m.

Altogether, 66 voters cast their ballots in person and six voted by absentee ballot. District officials opted to use paper votes because of the anticipated low voter turnout.

Mr. Markum will be sworn in and officially take his seat on the board during their Aug. 21 session.

Among the challenges he and other board members will face in the upcoming months is putting a spending plan together for the 2013-14 school year.

“The priorities are pretty much already set before you. You fund those and then fund everybody else the best you can,” he said.

Mr. Markum had said during a candidate’s forum that he would be willing to take issues such as ensuring money is well spent on the budget, developing policies and communicating with district residents.

He had said he opted to run for the board vacancy after receiving his budget newsletter in the mail and saw there were only two candidates for three seats.

Incumbents Thomas W. Scott and George D. Fulk were reelected to their seats, but a third seat that had been held by Lisa Levison went unfilled during the May election.

Ms. Levison later received 22 write-in votes during the May election, but she told school officials she was not interested in returning to her seat.

That left the decision for filling the seat up to the board members, with options of making an appointment or holding a special election. They opted to hold Tuesday’s special election. If they had appointed a person, the term would have been until the May 2013 elections.

During the candidate’s forum, Mr. Markum said he wanted to focus on the district’s graduation rate as part of his long-range plan on the board.

“It’s the second worst in the county. I think that obviously is a long-term goal. When you’re the second worst in the county, there are definitely some goals there. If parents are really concerned... they need to step up as well,” he said during the forum.

Mr. Markum served for 30 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a command master chief.

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