T he final seat on the Whitehall Board of Education will be determined during a special run-off election next Tuesday.
The election will settle a tie between Mark Ives and Joyce Corcoran, each of whom received 13 write-in votes during last month’s Board of Education election.
The two candidates will vie for the remaining four years of a five-year term vacated by George Armstrong, who was forced to leave the board after he became town supervisor at the beginning of the year. According to New York State law, a town supervisor cannot also serve on a board of education.
Tuesday’s election presents voters with a choice between two candidates who have experience serving on a board of education.
Corcoran has served on the board for the last five years, has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and works for the Department of Corrections as a business supervisor.
She initially declined to run for another term earlier this spring to allow someone else the opportunity but when no one stepped forward and she received 13 write-in votes, she said she decided to seize the opportunity.
“I’ve enjoyed my time on the board. It’s been a learning experience,” Corcoran said.
She said her biggest priorities if she is reelected is to continue to balance the budget while retaining as many teachers and preserving as many programs as financially possible.
Ives, who retired as director of Medicaid fraud and abuse for New York State, served on the Fort Edward School Board for 17 years, including as financial chairperson and president.
When he heard there wasn’t interested people to run for the vacant seats he decided to get involved.
“I think my past experience as a school board member and my financial background would be a good fit, especially in these tough economic times,” Ives said. “My main goal is to provide the best education opportunity we can for all students based on the ability of the taxpayers to pay.”
The election also marks the first time in four years that voters in the district have been faced with multiple candidates seeking a spot on the board.
The last four elections have been uncontested and you have to go back to 2008 to find a year in which there were more candidates than open seats on the board.
In that year Bruce Wescott defeated a field that included incumbent James Huntington, Patrick Greenough and John Hoagland, for a five-year term. Huntington, who received the second-highest vote total, served the final year of the late Stephen Lane’s term, and was then elected to a five-year term in 2009.
There was very little intrigue going into last month’s election. James Brooks was the only candidate who filed a formal petition for one of three open board seats, and easily won a spot on the board, receiving 125 votes.
But after that is where things got interesting. The local electorate divided a total of 62 votes among nine write-in candidates.
Samantha Kingsley led all write-in candidates with 25 votes to receive the second five-year term.
Corcoran and Ives each finished with 13 votes for the remainder of Armstrong’s un-expired term.
Also appearing on ballots (in order of the number votes each received) were Bob Putorti Jr., Andre Gordon, Michael Putorti, Rick Juckett, Eric Sundutell, and a candidate scribed in as T. Scrime.
The election will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, inside the large group instruction room at Whitehall High School.
If Ives is declared the winner he would begin to serve immediately because he would be filling a vacated seat.
If Corcoran is declared the winner she would serve the remainder of her term through the end of June and would begin serving the remainder of the vacated term on July 1, the same time Brooks and Kingsley would take their seats on the board.