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Mark Doyle

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School board Trustee Mark Doyle has launched a write-in campaign for re-election in Port Jefferson, two weeks after a deadline passed without enough residents filing to run for the board.

School board Trustee Mark Doyle rides atop a convertible during the Port Jefferson homecoming parade this past October. File photo by Bill Landon
School board Trustee Mark Doyle rides atop a convertible during the Port Jefferson homecoming parade this past October. File photo by Bill Landon

There are three seats up for election on May 19: Doyle’s and those of Trustee Vincent Ruggiero and Vice President Jim Laffey. Those who were interested in seats on the board of education had to turn in paperwork to run by April 20, but that day came and went with only Ruggiero handing in a petition.

District Clerk Janice Baisley said the district would rely on write-in candidates to fill the open seats for three-year terms.

Doyle, who works for the American Physical Society, a nonprofit organization working to better the understanding of physics, previously said he was not running for re-election because of a new job that required more responsibility and traveling, making him unsure if he could fully commit to being a school board trustee. But the six-year incumbent said Monday that he reflected further on the matter and has had time to adjust to his new professional role.

“I now believe that I will be able to serve effectively on the board despite my other commitments,” he said in an email.

He said his change of heart came after seeing others had not stepped up to serve, and that his original decision not to run had been a difficult one.

“I feel there is still much to be done to keep the district on a sound fiscal path while pursuing the goal of outstanding student achievement,” Doyle wrote.

He added that the community needs “experienced and knowledgeable board members” because it is contending with “turmoil caused by the actions of [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo and the state education department.”

Doyle, who has lived in the district for 18 years, plans to use word-of-mouth and signs to raise awareness of his campaign for the board.

Baisley said there will be instructions in the voting booths on the day of the election to guide community members through voting for candidates who are not on the ballot. Pens will be provided for the write-in votes.

Doyle said in his email Monday, “My goal has always been that Port Jefferson should continue to be a community that families favor for raising and educating their children.”

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