Burnetsky, Sargent, Grasso claim Jackson school seats

Staff Writer

JACKSON – John Burnetsky, Scott Sargent and Vicki Grasso have been elected to three-year terms on the Jackson School District Board of Education and will join the panel in January.

Two incumbents, Marvin Krakower and Adam Silvan, lost in their bids to remain on the board in the Nov. 3 election.

Results posted online by the Ocean County Board of Elections show that Burnetsky received 2,355 votes, Sargent received 2,063 votes and Grasso received 1,977 votes to claim the three available seats on the seven-member board. The results of the election are unofficial until they are certified by the county.

Coming up short in their bids were Michael Walsh (1,882), Krakower (1,686), Nathan Grosshandler (1,626), Jonathan Regan-Levine (903) and Silvan (859).

According to the Ocean County Clerk’s Office, there were 33,072 registered voters in Jackson eligible to participate in the election.

Burnetsky, who was a first-time candidate, said he was “humbled” when he learned he had received the most votes.

“I am very gratified that people in town showed their support,” he said. “For my first venture into the electoral arena to come out on top, it was nice.”

Burnetsky said he hopes to drive a board discussion regarding security measures that are currently in place in Jackson’s schools.

“You want to make sure that people getting into the schools belong there. You don’t want to make it easy for someone to just walk up and stroll around the school,” he said.

Burnetsky said he wants to be a “steward of the people’s money.” He owns a business in town and is co-president of the Crawford- Rodriguez Elementary School Parent- Teachers Network and president of the Jackson Liberty High School Band Parent and Student Association.

Grasso said the results left her excited. She called her victory “unexpected.”

“I am humbled and honored to be serving the residents of Jackson,” she said. “True to my word, I am going to do my best to keep the kids first and make every decision about them.”

Grasso said she hopes to increase public participation in the school district.

“I know that in the past there has not been a very big public presence,” she said. “I think that is a really important component, especially in a district the size of Jackson, for the public to be more involved.”

One way of doing that, Grasso said, would be to further open the lines of communication between the public and the board.

“The more the public gets involved and the more they know, the better working relationship they can have with the board,” she said.

Sargent served on the board from 2008- 11 and said he was “grateful for the voters who came out and supported” his election bid on Nov. 3. He called it a “humbling experience.”

Sargent said he wants to put a spotlight on the district’s transportation efforts, citing a need for improved efficiency in its fleet of buses.

“We need to see if we can be more efficient by ensuring that our bus purchasing program is adequate enough to serve the district in the long term,” he said.

Sargent said he hopes to take a closer look at the district’s administration and the teachers’ contract.

“Since I left, the district has added an additional assistant superintendent,” he said. “I’m not sure how that happened … because I know the district did not grow. There needs to be a justification for that.”

Krakower, who served on the school board for six non-consecutive terms, said he is ready for what comes next.

“It was a wonderful almost 20 years. It’s over and I am moving on to another part my life,” he said. “I hope all of the new board members do well for our kids and our taxpayers.”