Education Drives Voters in Parkchester

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Inspectors Laronda V. Lockert and Diane Stafford assist voter Agustin Gonzalez at the Glebe Avenue Senior Center polling station.

Photo by: Julia Alsop

Inspectors Laronda V. Lockert and Diane Stafford assist voter Agustin Gonzalez at the Glebe Avenue Senior Center polling station.

Education was the big issue on voters' minds this morning at the Bronx's Glebe Avenue Senior Center polling station, but voters are split on which candidate is best fit.

Charmise C. Smith, a 37 year-old mother, supports Bill Thompson. "The teachers are behind him. I just pray it goes through."

Though Smith lives in Soundview, she sends her two children to Manhattan because of the Bronx's low high school graduation rate. "I don't want my kids to have to travel, but they're not going to school in the Bronx. There are very few afterschool programs here and very little parent involvement. I don't know if it's a lack of funding, but our borough just feels left out," said Smith.

Larona V. Lockert, 39, also supports Thompson. "I support Thompson for my mom's purposes. Teachers haven't been getting raises. Thompson has the backing of the teacher's ... so he has my vote." Locket's mother is a primary school teacher in Queens.

Education was also Kristina Luna's top priority. The 33 year-old Teach for America candidate came out in favor of Christine Quinn over Thompson. "I think she's not afraid to make tough decisions and I like her stance on charter schools."

"I love Quinn's policy on education," said David Rivera, a 42 year-old social worker. "I saw Quinn speak two years ago and right away I knew I was voting for her. She's boisterous and doesn't take sht."

Rivera also spoke favorably of Quinn's housing policies, "She wants to keep New York affordable for middle-class families. I like that."

"Our public school system is a mess," said Cecelia D. Callender, a 60 year-old managed care coordinator at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn. Callender again brought up education as her top issue in this election. "There's very slim selection, but there's one candidate who stands above all else."

Callender refused to say who she was voting for, though. "I don't know why, but I keep that to myself."