Thirteen candidates filed petitions Wednesday to run for six School Board seats in Niagara County's three city school districts.
They will face off May 15 in the annual Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda and Lockport School Board elections.
In Niagara Falls, three newcomers are vying to fill the seat that has been held for 15 years by board member Mark S. Zito, who is not seeking re-election.
Running for that seat are Vincent Cancemi, Dolores Marino and Edward Janese, district clerk Ruthel Dumas said. The winner will serve a five-year term.
Zito said he is not running again "because of legal matters beyond my control."
"I've been forced to make a decision to remove myself from any potential appearance of a conflict of interest as a board member because of legal matters between myself and the Niagara Power Coalition," he said. "The School Board is a member of the NPC. I intend to file a lawsuit related to my tenure as executive director of the NPC and I don't think it would be right for me to be on the School Board when I do that."
Zito told The Buffalo News in late March that he plans to sue the coalition for a bonus he said he was promised for brokering a relicensing deal on behalf of coalition members, which include Niagara County and three municipalities and three school districts in the eastern part of the county. The agreement is estimated to be worth between $146 million and $1.2 billion in payments and low-cost power over 50 years.
"I loved being on the board," he said. "I believe it's the ultimate form of volunteerism. I love the board. I love the people of the Niagara Falls School District because they have done a great job under difficult circumstances to make this a very good school system."
In Lockport, three candidates have filed to run for three School Board seats.
Board President Marietta Schrader is running for re-election to another three-year term, while newcomers John Williams and Edward Sandel also are running. All three will serve three-year terms as they are unopposed.
Board member Kevin P. Duffy said he is not seeking re-election "because I have two young children at home and I want to dedicate more time to them. I'm also have a lot going on at work." Duffy is a neuropsychologist at Family Counseling Associates in the Town of Tonawanda.
The third board seat belonged to W. Keith McNall, who left the board earlier this year to serve on the Niagara County Legislature.
Seven people are running for two board seats in North Tonawanda.
Board President Scott Schultz and board member Deborah Wasieczko are running for re-election. They are being challenged by Jeffrey Glatz, Faith Andres, Frank DiBernardo, Martin Burruano and Gary Brosius.
The winners will each serve a three-year term.