Arthur Jocoy Jr. and Nicholas Vilardo announced last week they are running as a team for re-election to the Niagara Falls School Board. Jocoy was elected in 2009, Vilardo in 2004.
Prospective challengers have until April 30 to file to run in the May 20 election. Jocoy and Vilardo hold the only seats to be filled this year on the nine-member board.
While Niagara Gazette columnist Ken Hamilton told the Niagara Falls Reporter he is exploring the possibility of running, no challengers have yet declared their candidacy for the positions.
"The past four years have been educational and rewarding for me," said Jocoy, owner of Jocoy Collision. "I am so proud of the accomplishments of our system and the positive direction which we are heading."
Cited among district achievements during Jocoy's and Vilardo's tenure are improved graduation rates, implementation of smart boards, STEM labs and technology in classrooms, increased financial accountability and responsibility for spending, the re-building and expansion of the Niagara St. School, consolidation of schools, and the sell-off of surplus school properties.
Both members say they are involved in the ongoing capital improvement project. During negotiations over the scope of the $67 million project, Jocoy said he lobbied successfully to include athletic fields.
Vilardo, who is the board vice president, and a retired Fire Department battalion chief, said he wants to be re-elected to "assist in straightening out the current "Common Core' standards that are causing controversy all over the state of New York, and to continue pushing (for higher) graduation rates."
Both men supported the board's decision last month to restore the number of polling locations to 23, matching the number of locations used in the general election.
Jocoy and Vilardo are Niagara Falls School District alumni and lifelong residents of Niagara Falls.