BOE candidate says officials tried to ‘erase’ him from vote

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SPRING LAKE — A candidate for a school board vacancy is accusing two district officials of selectively reporting the results of voting on the vacancy, to his disadvantage.

The candidate, James Worth, was one of three applicants who fell short of the votes required for appointment to the vacant seat during the board’s Aug. 20 meeting.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the Aug. 20 meeting had not been staffed by The Coast Star.

In their responses to a reporter’s inquiry on Aug. 21, Superintendent and Principal of H.W. Mountz Raymond Boccuti and board President Christine Valori said that the board had taken separate votes on two candidates for the vacancy. Neither mentioned that a third vote had been taken. That vote was on Mr. Worth.

Mr. Boccuti said this week that he had relied upon his “own notes” when he responded on Aug. 21 without mentioning the third vote.

“I just missed it in my own notes, that’s why,” he said, adding that he was “out of the district” when he corresponded with a reporter on Aug. 21 and was “going by memory.”

He said, however, that the “official record,” kept by board secretary Louise Davis, does include the vote on all three candidates.

Ms. Valori, who had not mentioned on Aug. 21 that the board also voted on Mr. Worth, did not return calls for further comment this week.

The selection of a candidates for the vacancy will now be made by the county superintendent, due to the board’s failure to reach consensus on any of the three candidates.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.