Former school board members eye comeback

There will be school board races this year in the Gloversville and Broadalbin-Perth school districts

There will be school board races this year in the Gloversville and Broadalbin-Perth school districts, but Johnstown will see the three incumbents running uncontested.

The filing deadline in both Johnstown and Gloversville was Wednesday. Broadalbin candidates filed earlier in April.

The four-way race for three seats on the Gloversville board will be particularly interesting because former board president Betsy Simek and former vice president Joan Oare are both trying to make a comeback.

If they win, Oare would have her fourth term and Simek, her third. Simek lost by 10 votes two years ago.

They have a joined a field that includes incumbents Harry Wiggins and E. Lynn Brown. Wiggins is seeking a fourth term and Brown is seeking her second.

Simek was defeated two years ago in a five-way race for three seats and Oare lost her seat last year in another five-way race for three seats. In both years the school budget was also defeated in initial elections. When Simek was defeated there was a documented problem with a voting machine and given the 10-vote margin between her and the third-place candidate, Perry Paul, she briefly discussed challenging the results.

The third incumbent this year, Gino Calandra, was expected to seek re-election but did not.

Simek said she decided to run because she still has a desire to contribute to the district and she knew that Calandra was not going to seek re-election.

Simek said she realizes she is seeking to rejoin the board during another difficult budget year. But, she said, “I don’t think what is happening is unique to Gloversville.” She said districts across the state are facing financial challenges.

The budget problems are not confined to a single year, but will continue to pressure the district in future years, she said.

A board member, she said, “has to walk that fine line … doing right by taxpayers while also protecting the interests of staff and students. I feel I still have something left in me to offer,” said Simek.

Simek is a graduate of the former Perth High School and attended Fulton-Montgomery Community College. She is employed by St. James Lutheran Church and Rainbow Play School.

She and her husband, Gerald, have two children and reside on West State Street Extension.

Gloversville candidates drew ballot positions Thursday. The ballot order is Brown, Simek Oare and Wiggins. Wiggins and Oare have already announced their candidacies.

In Broadalbin-Perth, Paul Chizek and Philip Comini will compete to replace the Rev. Paul Moyer, who died this spring. Moyer’s term would have expired June 30.

In the Greater Johnstown School District, board members Robert Curtis, Scott Miller and Leslie Buggeln-Bosworth are all seeking re-election without opposition.

Categories: Schenectady County

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