The return of two incumbent school board members to the Lawrence Township Public Schools Board of Education has been confirmed by Lawrence Township voters, and they will be joined by a newcomer to fill the third open seat.
Incumbent school board member Jo Ann L. Groeger was the top vote-getter with 4,626 votes in the Nov. 2 General Election, followed by incumbent school board member Kevin Van Hise, who earned 3,728 votes. Newcomer Robert Pluta placed third, receiving 3,393 votes.
Amanda Santos, whose name was on the ballot but who had been appointed to fill a vacancy on the school board in September, was the fourth-place finisher with 2,839 votes.
Falk Engel, who ran together with Pluta, earned 2,653 votes. Lauren Berger received 2,262 votes and Drew Greenspan got 2,247 votes.
The term is for three years.
The vote tallies were certified by Mercer County officials and released Nov. 19. The certified vote tallies included early voting, Election Day voting, mail-in ballots and provisional ballots.
Groeger said her re-election to the school board reflects the community’s trust in her to continue the effort to educate the “total child.” She said she will continue to attend school-based community events to help the school board develop policies that will meet the needs of the students.
“Continuing to work together with other board members and the administration is something I look forward to doing. I will maintain my connections at the county and state levels to enable Lawrence to stay current on the state of education in New Jersey,” Groeger said.
Van Hise thanked the voters who continued to place their faith and trust in him, allowing him to continue to serve on the school board.
“It is truly a privilege to serve,” Van Hise said.
Van Hise said he is looking forward to continuing the district’s efforts in emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic to make it better and stronger, while making up for any lost ground that the students experienced during the pandemic.
Van Hise said he wants to move ahead with the district’s equity initiatives, and to continue to work on solving the district’s operational and budgetary stresses.
Pluta said he is looking forward to taking his seat on the school board. He thanked the candidates who also sought election, and encouraged other residents to run for a seat on the school board.
“It was a great campaign. There was a good exchange of ideas. I thank Falk Engel for running. We made a good team,” Pluta said.