Niagara Falls School Board Election on May 17; Two Seats Up for Election

By Gia Arnold


The Niagara Falls City School District election will be held on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Not only will the annual budget be voted on that day, but there are also two [out of a total of nine seats] for the School Board up for re-election.

Incumbents Robert Restaino and Carmelette Rotella hold the current seats. Both have announced they will seek reelection.

Traditionally, school district elections have low voter turnout. For example, in 2014, 2741 voters turned out to vote out of 26,000 registered voters in Niagara Falls [10.5 percent]. In 2013, only 1730 people voted [6.6 percent].

Classified as “very needy,” the Niagara Falls School District has nearly 75% of it students receiving free or reduced lunches, and a lower than New York State average (78%) graduation rate of 70% in 2015, according to the New York State Education Departments website.

Last year’s approved budget exceeded the tax cap, however this year’s proposal does not include a tax increase, and includes plans to add after-school mentoring, summer activities and health services for needy students.

Besides the two incumbents, Johnny Destino, a former school board member, has announced he is running.

Also mentioned in local media as possible candidates are Ken Hamilton (columnist for the Niagara Gazette), Colene Melson (instructor at Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology), Diane Quarantello (executive director of the Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club), and Earl Bass (Niagara Falls firefighter).

The highest two vote-getters will be elected to the board.

Polls are open from noon until 9 pm.

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