Amagansett Elections Heat Up

Claudia Quintana, left, and Mary Eames, right Judy D'Mello

Two last-minute candidates have entered the Amagansett School Board race, turning the district’s seemingly uneventful election into a highly contested one.

Mary A. Eames and Claudia L. Quintana declared write-in candidacies following a school board meeting on May 9 that was tense and, at times, accusatory.

Ms. Eames, a clerk in the school district, said during a phone interview that it was time for her to "either step up or shut up."

She was a vocal attendee at Tuesday's school board meeting, questioning things such as the need for a third administrator to help the superintendent and the school principal, at a rate of $350 a day. The money does not appear in the budget, according to Ms. Eames.

Despite her obvious frustration with what she believes is a lack of transparency, Ms. Eames insists she does not harbor any negativity towards the school but feels it is time for changes on the board. ”I decided to put myself on the ballot because I'm just not getting any clear answers,” she said.

The second write-in candidate is Claudia Quintana, a resident of Amagansett for the past 11 years. Ms. Quintana has one child attending the school and teaches at the John M. Marshall Elementary School. She is also pursuing a degree in bilingual education.

Ms. Quintana decided to throw her hat in the ring after noticing only one new contestant on the ballot — Anna Bernasek — and especially a lack of Latino board members. She believes "as a bilingual member I can be a real asset to the board in serving Amagansett's diverse community.”

Ms. Eames and Ms. Quintana will are seeking seats along with one newcomer, Anna Bernasek, and the incumbent board president, Patrick Bistrian III, on the ballot. Because Ms. Eames and Ms. Quintana did not submit petitions by the deadline for doing so, their names will not appear on Tuesday's ballot.

Amagansett’s budget is up by 1.96 percent this year to just under $10.7 million. Voting will be in the school gym from 2 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.