Twenty-four school board seats in Niagara County's 10 public school districts are up for grabs in the May 16 elections.
Residents interested in running in the Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Falls, Newfane, Niagara-Wheatfield, Starpoint and Wilson school districts may pick up petitions at the administrative offices in their respective school districts Monday through Friday.
They are currently available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Lewiston-Porter, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Niagara Falls, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Newfane, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Niagara-Wheatfield and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Starpoint and Wilson.
Barker School Board petitions will be available as of Monday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, as of April 1 at the Lockport and the Royalton-Hartland school districts from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and as of Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at North Tonawanda.
Petitions containing the required number of signatures from registered voters must be turned in by 5 p.m. April 17 for central school districts if candidates are to be placed on the ballot and 5 p.m. April 26 for the city school districts of Lockport, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda.
Candidates for city school district seats must obtain 100 signatures, while the number varies in central school districts: Barker, 25; Lewiston-Porter, 69; Newfane, 33; Niagara-Wheatfield, 35; Starpoint, 34; Royalton-Hartland, 27; and Wilson, 25.
There will be two board seats up for election in Niagara Falls and three each in Lockport and North Tonawanda. In the central school districts, there are three seats up for election in Barker and Starpoint and two each in Lewiston-Porter, Niagara-Wheatfield, Royalton-Hartland, Newfane and Wilson.
In Niagara Falls, incumbent board members Carmelette Rotella and Robert J. Kazeangin, the board's vice president, said they will run for re-election to five-year terms. It appears they may have some competition, as five other people had picked up petitions from the district clerk's office as of last week. Two of them ran unsuccessfully in last year's board race: Timothy Jeffs and Myles P. Blest.
The rest of the county's school board candidates will run for three-year terms, except in Newfane, where candidates will vie for four-year-terms. In Newfane, incumbent James Langton said he is leaning toward running for re-election, while incumbent Richard Ruhnel is unsure whether he will try to make another go of it.
Barker School Board incumbents Gordon D. Kenyon and Robert Atwater said they plan to run for re-election, while Cheryl Johnson said she will not after serving two terms.
Niagara-Wheatfield incumbent Mike Murawski said he is not sure whether he will run again after serving nine years on the board. Incumbent Sam Monin, an 11-year member, said he is leaning toward running again but has yet to decide.
Lewiston-Porter incumbent Carol Rogers said she won't run for re-election, while incumbent Edward M. Lilly said he will. Two other district residents, Niagara Catholic High School Principal Robert DiFrancesco and Michael Gentile, an assistant professor at Niagara University, have openly declared their candidacies.
In Lockport, incumbents Allan W. Jack, Beverly P. McDonough and John A. Linderman have yet to decide whether they will seek another term.
In Wilson, incumbent Jack Hanna had no comment to make about his intentions, while E. Campbell Dean said he won't run for re-election.
Long-time Starpoint board member Jane L. Olstad said she does not plan to run for re-election after having served 18 of the past 22 years on that body. Incumbents Mark Domino and Mark Montazzoli have not decided, but Montazzoli said he is leaning toward running.
In North Tonawanda, Dennis Pasiak, a nine-year board member, said he will not run for re-election, while incumbent Robert Arbeiter said he will. Incumbent Joseph Stringaro could not be reached to comment.
Royalton-Hartland School Board incumbent Jean Conley is not sure whether she will run for another term, and Patti Riegel, the board president, said she will seek re-election.