Democrats swept to victory in races for Bethlehem Area School Board on Tuesday, but the election results still leave the school district with one empty seat on its governing body.
School Board President Michele Cann coasted to victory in a race for three at-large board seats while also winning the “Region 2” seat, which represents part of West Bethlehem and Hanover Township.
Cann will get to choose which seat she keeps and the board will have to choose her replacement.
Democrats Basilio Bonilla Jr., a 20-year-old just , and Sudantha Vidanage, who immigrated to the United States from India as a young man, were the other two at-large winners.
According to unofficial tallies, Bonilla garnered 6,484 votes and Vidanage picked up 6,152 votes, easily finishing ahead of Republican nominees Kenneth Barreto, 5,540 votes, and Randy Toman, 5,160 votes.
Both Bonilla and Vidanage campaigned on the idea that recent cuts to school district budgets have been too deep and hurt students. Barreto and Toman, meanwhile, aligned themselves with the Tea Party and decried ever-escalating tax rates and school district debt.
All totals are unofficial until the boards of elections in Lehigh and Northampton counties certify their results.
Nominated by both Democrats and Republicans, Cann was the top vote-getter in the at-large race, picking up 10,415 ballots. As the Democratic nominee in the Region 2 race, Cann secured 2,603 votes, nearly 500 more than fellow incumbent Benjamin Tenaglia, a Republican.
Tenaglia, who had planned to step down from the board, replaced Sam Mele on the Republican ballot for Region 2. Mele, , dropped out of the race.
It is conceivable that Tenaglia, who was a consensus choice to fill one vacant unexpired board term, would be selected to remain. He has been seen as the board’s resident expert on finance.
Incumbent Director Eugene McKeon ran unopposed in the Region 3 seat.