Provisional ballots must still be counted, but as of now, it appears voters have chosen Sharif Shamsudin, Susy Golderer and Gary Martin in Wednesday's school election to serve on the Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education. The $129.8 million school budget for 2011-12 won approval by a slim margin.
Golderer came in first after the final tally, including absentee ballots, with 3,004 votes, according to Town Clerk Judy Silver. Shamsudin followed with 2,727 and Martin came in third with 2,465 votes.
In the budget ballot, 2,667 votes in favor were cast versus 2,525 votes opposed.
Unseated incumbent Andrew Choffo, who tallied 1,020 votes and came in sixth place, was gracious in defeat.
"I was mentally prepared for this," he said after the final numbers of the night were released. "People had a strong desire for change. Plus, there is an anti-incumbent sentiment all over the country right now. The people have spoken, and I accept that."
School Superintendent LeRoy Seitz, whose controversial contract helped fuel citizens' call for change on the BOE, said he was grateful that Parsippany residents supported the budget.
"This will enable us to continue the quality programs we offer and provide students an education that will serve them now and in the future," he said.
The vote totals, pending the addition of provisional ballots, are as follows:Susy Golderer 3,004 Sharif Shamsudin 2,727 Gary Martin 2,465 Alison Cogan 2,143 Carol Trapp 1,154 Andrew Choffo 1,020 Joseph Raich 785 Richard Gerstl 397 John Harrison 379
Asked what his first act will be as a board member, an elated Shamsudin said, "The voters said they want change. The first thing I'll do is work to change the leadership of the Board of Education."
He chalked up his ticket's victory to hard work.
"We knocked on doors and spent election day making phone calls to get people to the polls," he said. "We listened to what the voters want because what they have to say is important. It is a new day in Parsippany. The people will have a voice. Change has come."
The Board of Education reorganization meeting takes place Thursday, May 5 in the Parsippany High School auditorium at 7 p.m.