Batavia school board likely to have three newcomers

Three newcomers will likely join the Batavia school board following a close election.

Raquel Gonzalez-Thomas, Danielle Sligar and Jeffery Robert Arulandu, the three leading candidates, went from motivated parents to likely school board members overnight.

The results won't be official until two weeks after Election Day.

"We had put in quite a bit of effort leading up to Election Day," Arulandu said. "So it was nice to see that our message was received well by the community, and they returned their feedback through voting for us."

All three candidates cited district communication and diversity, equity and inclusion as motivators for choosing to run.

"The number one thing would probably be communication, making sure that things are communicated properly, there's more transparency," Gonzalez-Thomas said.

"I feel that collaboration and transparency will resolve some of the communication and trust issues our community members have vocalized," Sligar said. "I want my presence to represent groups in our community who haven't really had a place in board matters before."

Gonzalez-Thomas received the most votes out of the seven candidates running for the three contested seats, receiving 3,171 votes. Sligar received 3,053 votes, and Arulandu received 2,822 votes, according to unofficial election results.

Cathy Dremel, the current school board president, was not reelected. Board members Chris Lowe and Erin Meitzler did not seek reelection.

Gonzalez-Thomas said that the district should consider working closer with DEI experts.

"That's something else I'd like to tackle ... whether it's hiring someone full-time in the district or if we just have training workshops with DEI experts," she said. "Just to get everybody trained."

Gonzalez-Thomas and Sligar are Batavia residents. Arulandu lives in Geneva. All have students that are in or have gone through the Batavia education system.

"My campaign and reason for running was never solely focused around my own family's needs," Sligar said. "I have a lot of work to dive into, and I know it won't be easy. But I know there's a whole support system rallying behind me."

Danielle Sligar
Jeffery Robert Arulandu
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