UPDATE: 10 candidates file for Schenectady school board; Janiszewski, Bellick opt out

The powerful former leader of the Schenectady Board of Education has chosen not to run for re-electi

The powerful former leader of the Schenectady Board of Education has chosen not to run for re-election.

Jeff Janiszewski, who led the board from 2004 to 2009, did not submit a petition to get onto the May 18 ballot.

Petitions were due today by 5 p.m.

Janiszewski never announced that he would not run for re-election, but warned repeatedly that he was “leaning against” running.

A second board member, Linda Bellick, also chose not to run. She lost re-election last year, but was appointed to fill the vacancy created when newly-elected member Joyce Wachala resigned.

Video of candidates

To view a video of the Meet the Candidates night held on April 22 at Petta’s Restaurant, click HERE.

Bellick and Janiszewski did not return calls seeking comment.

Ten others submitted petitions to run for the Schenectady Board of Education.

That’s more than twice the number of people who will be seated after the May 18 vote. There are four seats up, and so far, only one incumbent running.

Board President Maxine Brisport is trying to convince voters that she was silenced by other board members and forced to go along with the school district’s lack of openness that many residents are now rebelling against.

She is being challenged by experienced politicians — including a former City Council member and a former school board president. She’s also facing parents who are irate about budget cuts, and other residents who feel the board has not cut spending enough. Some of her challengers say the district doesn’t listen to parents while others say the board is incompetent.

But almost all of them are united in their opposition to her.

Brisport has attempted to put the blame on Janiszewski.

The other candidates are:

— Robert Barnes

— Matthew Brockbank

— Andrew Chestnut

— Charlene Fisher, whose petition was filed 10 minutes before deadline

— Catherine Lewis

— Ronald Lindsay

— Barbara Metcalfe

— Ann Reilly

— And Kennard Singh, whose petition was filed this morning

An 11th candidate has been eliminated because she did not have a sufficient number of valid signatures to get her on the ballot.

Candidates must submit 100 signatures from qualifed district voters, according to state rules.

Nicole Ragone, 29, attended last week’s candidates’ program at Petta’s Restaurant, where she described herself as a single mother living on Hamilton Hill with her seven children.

She said she wanted to bring the board into the 21st century by getting high school students to broadcast the board meetings while board members send out tweets on the social medium Twitter and respond to e-mailed questions.

“I want to make it more parent-friendly, taxpayer-friendly,” she said.

The top two vote-getters will enter in to three-year terms and will be sworn in on July 1, 2010.

The candidate with the third highest number of votes will fill Joyce Wachala’s term, which runs through 2012. The fourth highest vote-getter will fill James Casino’s term, which ends in 2011. Both the third- and fourth-place vote-getters will take office on May 19, 2010.

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