School Board races taking shape
Six candidates are running for four open seats on the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education, and three people are seeking three seats on the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education.
Wednesday was the deadline to file petitions to run for seats in the two city school districts. Voters will go to the polls May 21.
Voters in the Gloversville district will be asked to select up to three Board of Education members to serve three-year terms and one member to fill a vacant seat.
These candidates will be on the ballot: Aaron Flynn, Elizabeth Simek, Kevin Kucel, Joe Andrews, Robert Curtis and Tracy Nellis.
“It is nice to see there is interest in the school board positions still because it is an important position,” board President Pete Semione said this morning. “All I ask is that each and every candidate puts the kids and education first.”
Three vacancies are caused by the expiration of the terms for Joseph Andrews, Frank Carangelo and Robert Curtis. Service for these seats would begin July 1 and run until June 30, 2016.
Another member will be elected to fill a vacant seat on the board left by the resignation of Polly Peck. Service for that seat will begin May 22 and end June 30, 2015.
Incumbent Vice President Carangelo did not file a petition to run for his seat this year, school officials said.
Several members of the current board last year filed a petition with the state seeking to remove Semione.
The petition, dated Nov. 21 and filed with the state Education Department, seeks the removal of Semione from his position as a member of the board on the grounds “that he is guilty of willful violations of law and neglect of duty,” the petition states. Board members alleged Semione threatened them.
Semione has denied the allegations in the petition, which has not been acted upon by the state.
The petition includes five signed affidavits from board members Frank Carangelo, Joseph Andrews, Polly Peck, Michael Hauser and Robert Curtis. Board members E. Lynn Brown, Jean LaPorta and Richard Carlson were not included in the petition.
Semione will continue to serve on the school board since his term has not expired, but he said this morning he won’t run for board president this year.
“I have done my four years [as president],” Semione said. “It has nothing to do with what has happened this past year, although it has taken some of the enthusiasm out of the position. Again, I have done nothing wrong and have done very well, I think, to help the district, but it is time for someone else to take it over.”
In the Johnstown district, three people filed for three available seats, including former Northville Central School District Superintendent Kathy Dougherty.
She would fill the seat of her husband – incumbent board member Douglas Dougherty – who decided not to seek re-election.
Absent an outside write-in campaign, the three who filed nominating petitions with the district by Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline – Dougherty, incumbent board President Paul VanDenburgh and incumbent board member Jennifer Sponnoble – are guaranteed seats. The terms are for three years and begin July 1.
The incumbents have all served since July 2010.
Kathy Dougherty has 35 years of experience in education. She was a music teacher with the Johnstown district before serving several years as principal of Pleasant Avenue Elementary School. After that, she served as Northville Central School District superintendent, retiring in 2012, before taking the interim principal job at Park Terrace Elementary School in Gloversville. She recently resigned from that position, citing differences with Gloversville Enlarged School District Superintendent Michael Vanyo.
Johnstown District Clerk Larraina Carpenter said polls for the Johnstown school board election, as well as the 2013-14 budget, will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 21. She said city and town of Johnstown residents in the district will vote in the Johnstown High School auditorium lobby. Residents of the towns of Ephratah and Palatine will vote at the Ephratah firehouse.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the JHS lecture hall. If the Johnstown Teachers Association sponsors a candidates night, the event would follow that hearing.