Sch’dy schools: 1 step ahead, 1 step back

It sometimes seems the people of Schenectady can’t win. In the recent election for two seats on the
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It sometimes seems the people of Schenectady can’t win. In the recent election for two seats on the school board, voters clobbered the two candidates most closely associated with the ruling clique and overwhelmingly elected two dissident outsiders who promised greater openness.

And now what happens just a month and a half after the two new members were seated? One of them up and quits (for understandable family reasons), leaving the ruling clique led by Jeff Janiszewski in a position to appoint a replacement of its choosing, thus, in effect, nullifying the election, or half the election.

And this comes shortly after a challenge to the school district’s notorious budget scam got bungled, so that in all likelihood the scam will stand.

I refer to the concoction of an inflated “contingency” budget, with a 15.8 percent tax increase, used as a cudgel to knock people into voting, by the slimmest of margins, for a budget with a 5.8 tax increase.

An employee of the state Education Department acting ex officio and anonymously put together a petition per Education Law to undo the scam but then collected more signatures from people who were not qualified to sign than from people who were.

And now this. Now the surprise resignation of Joyce Wachala, who got the second highest number of votes in the election, far ahead of the third-place finisher, who had been recruited by Janiszewski, and the fourth-place finisher, who was a sitting member of the board.

She has a child with recently diagnosed health problems she must care for and admitted to me that the board position made greater demands on her time than she expected. What’s more, she and her family may be moving back to Ballston Spa, where they came from not long ago.

So that’s that, and now Janiszewski & Co. will have another crack at filling the seat, at least until the next election, which will be in May of next year. They could simply appoint one of the two losers from the last time around, or they could conduct a secretive process as they have done in the past.

By law they could also call a special election, which would certainly be the fairest way to fill the seat, though it would be expensive and would of course open the door to another rebuff of the Janiszewski team.

Or they could leave the seat vacant until the next election, which wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

If they do appoint somebody, that will also be only till the next election, at which point the seat will be open to contest, as will the seats of Janiszewski and Maxine Brisport, the current president.

So it will be interesting to see how this plays out. The worst of all scenarios, in my humble view, would be the appointment of either of the two candidates who were so soundly rejected by the voters just a few months ago.

Ah, Albany

And then we have the delightful news from Albany that the 35-year-old son of Sen. Pedro Espada has lately been hired as the Senate’s deputy director of intergovernmental relations at a salary of $120,000 a year.

This comes shortly after the senator ended his defection to the Republicans and returned to the Democatic fold, thus permitting the Democrats to reassert their control of the Senate.

Was the job part of the deal? Something like, I’ll come back if you give my son a gig? Similar to, I’ll come back if you make me majority leader, which in fact happened?

Of course not. How dare you suggest such a thing?

Categories: Opinion

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