Up-Island voters will decide regional school committee race

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File photo by Janet Hefler

Call it the only race in town. With no local electoral contests, the six-way race for five seats on the Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) school committee is shaping up as the only contest.

Voters in Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury will elect five people to four-year terms. There are two names on the official ballot and four declared write-in candidates. The three candidates, one from each town, who receive the highest vote totals in Tuesday’s balloting will each represent his or her town. The two candidates who receive the next highest vote totals will be elected as at-large members regardless of where they live.

The race is complicated by the fact that no Aquinnah or Chilmark resident is on the ballot. Those races will need to be decided by write-in votes.

The person who receives the highest total of write-in votes will be considered the winner. If that person declines to serve, the position is declared vacant and the selectmen and school committee meet to select someone to fill the seat.

Town clerks will not only need to decipher names, but they will need to track down a candidate’s town, if voters fail to provide that critical information.

Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter and Michael Marcus are running for reelection from West Tisbury and appear on the ballot.

Mr. Manter, a police sergeant, has served on the UIRSD school committee since 1998. He has also served on the West Tisbury board of selectman since 2003. Over the years Mr. Manter has served on numerous town boards and committees, including the finance committee where he has carved out a role as a fiscal conservative. He currently is a member of the town’s Parks and Recreation Board, Council on Aging, and Dukes County Advisory Board.

Mr. Marcus is a real estate and tax specialist who works in the institutional real estate arena. His three children attend West Tisbury School. Mr. Marcus was elected to the UIRSD school committee in 2010 and currently serves as its chairman. He is on an interview and search committee to choose a new school superintendent.

There are four declared write-in candidates.

Roxanne Ackerman is running for reelection as a write-in candidate from Aquinnah. Ms. Ackerman, a librarian and commercial fisherman, has been a UIRSD school committee member since 1983. She is Aquinnah’s representative on the regional high school committee, serves on the budget subcommittee and school library improvement plan committee and is also is a member of the superintendent’s office building committee.

Kate DeVane is running as a write-in candidate from West Tisbury. Ms. DeVane, the mother of nine-year-old twins, works as a landscape coordinator for Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscaping Services. A former elementary school teacher, Ms. DeVane is a member of the West Tisbury School Advisory Council. She is also the co-chairman of the Parent Advisory Council on Special Education and the president and co-founder of the Island Autism Group.

Robert Lionette is running for reelection as a write-in candidate from Chilmark. Mr. Lionette, a chef at Morning Glory Farm, was appointed to the UIRSD school committee in 2012 by the Chilmark selectmen. He currently serves as its vice-chairman and also on the personnel subcommittees of the regional high school and all-Island school committees. Mr. Lionette’s son attends Chilmark School.

Theresa Manning, a write-in candidate from Aquinnah, is a co-coordinator for the Dukes County Youth Task Force, a coalition of over 50 community members that promotes community-wide health and wellness for youth and families to reduce substance use and other risky behaviors. Ms. Manning has a son who attends West Tisbury School, and two step-children, now adults, who attended Island schools.