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Bedford School Board Picks Gerken For President, Reder For Vice President

Jennifer Gerken takes her oath of office as Bedford Central's school board president. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Jennifer Gerken shakes hands with District Clerk Carole LaColla following the oath of office for school board president. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Edward Reder takes his oath of office as Bedford Central's school board vice president. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Edward Reder shakes hands with Carole LaColla following the oath of office for school board vice president. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Bedford Central school board members gather for a meeting on July 20. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Bedford Central's school board members ended a weeks-long deadlock on Monday afternoon when they narrowly selected Jennifer Gerken to be president and Edward Reder to be vice president.

Each were approved by 4-3 votes; Gerken and Reder voted for themselves and for each other. The two were joined by Suzanne Grant and Andrew Bracco on both votes in support.

The three dissenters for each vote were Michael Solomon - he vied for both president and vice president - Colette Dow and Brian Sheerin.

Gerken and Solomon each received three votes when they vied for president at the board's July 1 reorganizational meeting, video shows. The deadlock was caused because Reder was not at the meeting.

In accepting the nomination for president again, Solomon alluded to a proposal that he previously advocated, where Gerken would be president and he would be vice president. Alluding to the failure of the proposal to gain traction, Solomon said he does not think that compromise is probably "in the air going forward with these elections.”

Solomon vied for vice president moments after losing his presidential bid. He also called for a change in leadership composition, arguing that historically the school board's officers have pretty much been “risen through the ranks in the PTA as president” and a “Mount Kisco person for vice president.”

Solomon also argued that the coming school year should not be a repeat of the past.

“We can't afford another lost year,” he said.

The board president and vice president positions have one-year terms that run from July 1, which is the start of the school year, to June 30, which is the last day of the school year.

Following the voting outcomes, Gerken and Reder were each sworn in by District Clerk Carole LaColla. From there, board members discussed and agreed to committee assignments.

Solomon, who has a background in finance, will serve on the Finance Committee and serve as its chair. He will be joined by Gerken and Bracco.

The Audit Committee will include Bracco as chair, Solomon and Dow. Sheerin will serve on the District Health Council, while Dow will serve on the District Safety Committee.

Serving on the Policy Committee are Reder (as chair), Sheerin and Grant. Reder will serve on a committee pertaining to legislative affairs, with Grant as an alternate.

The Budget Advisory Committee will have rotating board members who will participate, as will meetings of parent-group presidents and of the Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO). Gerken will continue to serve on a committee involved with construction, with Solomon as an alternate.

The Student Achievement Advisory Committee will also include a rotation of board members.

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