Here on the Editorial Board, our school election season ends the day before Election Day; this year, that was May 19, last Tuesday. That’s because our views on whom we endorsed in contested school board races are published in a wrap-up the day before the ballot-casting to remind voters to do two things: 1) Vote on candidates for their boards of education and on proposed school budgets, in this case for the 2009-10 school year, and on an assortment of propositions; and 2) To share our views on those candidates we thought would make the best choices for board trustees in the races that are contested.
This year, of the 53 school districts in the Lower Hudson Valley that have elected school boards and public budget votes — 45 in Westchester and Putnam, and eight in Rockland — 31 districts had contests.
People sometimes needle us when it’s all over about how “wrong’’ we were — voters ignore our recommendations and “our guys’’ don’t always win.
Truth is, our job is not to call the winners — I think we could do a pretty good job at that — but it is to endorse candidates we think would do the better job among the pack running in each school district. Sometimes that means choosing among a slew of good candidates; other times, it means holding our noses and recommending the best among the weak. And, yes, the weak can include incumbents who really only have their familiarity with their districts going for them while their opponents are too ill-informed to recommend themselves for serious consideration.
That said, there were many solid school board candidates who ran this year for an often thankless — and by the way, unpaid — job.
The results? They are available on this Web site under www.lohud.com/schoolelections. Only two of the budgets “went down,’’ with voters saying “No’’ in Mahopac and Clarkstown.
As for candidates, well, we endorsed 71 of them. Of those, 16 lost out to other candidates. That’s a more than 77 percent success rate — high, for us, in any year.