B y Matthew Saari and Krystle Morey

School board elections will be held in May which means petitions are being made available at area schools now.

Whitehall

 

Anyone interested in campaigning for the Whitehall Board of Education can pick up petitions in the office of Kim Manney, district clerk, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Manney’s office is in the district office at the Whitehall High School.

Petitions must be returned to Manney no later than Monday, April 16 at 5 p.m. To run for office, a prospective candidate must obtain 25 signatures.

There are two seats up for grabs in this year’s election, which will take place on Tuesday, May 15.

A three-year term is available as board president Frank Barber is up for reelection as well as a single unexpired one-year term for the seat vacated by Jason Hoagland earlier this year.

Although Hoagland was elected to the Board of Education last year, he willingly stepped down after controversial “tweets” from his personal Twitter account came to the attention of school administrators.

Seats will be awarded to candidates based upon how many votes they garner. For example, the top earner will be elected to the three-year term.

Drawing of lots, which determines the order the candidates’ names will be posted on the ballot, will occur on Tuesday, April 17 at 10 a.m.

Prospective candidates must be at least 18 prior to the board vote on May 15; be able to read and write English and must have resided within the district for one full calendar year prior to the vote.

The voting will be in the Whitehall High School gymnasium from noon to 9 p.m.

Granville

Petitions will be available soon for those interested in running for three seats on the Granville Board of Education on May 15.

The three board members whose terms end this year – Jo-Lynne Bartholomew, Molly Celani and John McDermott – expressed varied interest when asked if they would run again.

 

Bartholomew and McDermott confirmed Monday that they would not seek reelection.

“I am not going to run again,” Bartholomew said. She said she was going to take the time to focus on her children and their higher education pursuits.

“My daughter is in school … and my son will be a senior next year,” she said.

McDermott said: “I am probably not going to run again.”

“I’ve got a couple of other projects I might want to focus on,” he said. “…and I promised my wife I wouldn’t.”

McDermott, who was elected in 2009, said that rotation of board members is a good thing, noting it may be a good opportunity to bring new ideas and energy.

“I’ve been on the board for nine years. I have enjoyed it,” he said.

Bartholomew, a three and a half-year board member, was elected after Kevin Ely resigned. She served the remaining half-year of his term and was elected to serve an additional three-years in 2015.

Celani is the sole board member who said she may run again.

“I’m thinking seriously about it,” she said.

Her involvement in several other organizations, including the Slate Valley Museum and the Lions Club, Celani said, presents a time issue.

“I am involved in a lot of things, so I have to make some choices time-wise,” she said.

Celani, the board’s current vice president, has served six nonconsecutive years on the board. She was elected in 2004 and again in 2015.

“I enjoy working on the board,” she said. “I also feel that as an educator myself, I help people who aren’t teachers understand about education.”

The three seats up for grabs are for three-year terms.

 

Hartford

There is one seat up for grabs this year on the Hartford Central School’s Board of Education. It is the seat of Ron Smith, who has served one five-year term.

“The past couple of years, the board member who has been seeking re-election has run unopposed,” said school superintendent Andrew Cook.

Voting will take place on May 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the school library. In the past, voters have cast their ballots in the gymnasium.

“This year we are proposing to move it to the library. It’s a more central location and a quicker access for community members,” Cook said.

Residents will consider school board candidates as well as the district’s 2018-19 budget. A public hearing on the proposed budget is set for May 2.

Prospective board members should pick up a petition at the district office, starting April 2. Petitions require at least 25 signatures and are due back to the school before 5 p.m. on April 25.

Candidates must be at least 18 years old and reside in Hartford. Proof of residency is required.

The same requirements apply to voters.

Cook said about 150 voters turn out at the district’s annual vote.

“In terms of community influence and taxes, school budgets are one of – if not the only – public vote for their taxes,” Cook said of the importance of voting. “The community members have a direct vote and voice in the tax levy.”

Added Cook: “As a district, we certainly understand that and we respect that. When we draft the budget that is something that we keep in the forefront of our minds. Not only do we want to create a budget that provides for all of the academic needs of our students, but also respects the community and their large investment in the school.”

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