Schenectady school board President John Foley on Wednesday said he does not plan to run for re-election in May, and board member Andy Chestnut said he still hasn’t decided whether he will pursue re-election.
Foley, who has served on the school board since 2012 and announced his decision to not run for re-election at Wednesday night’s board meeting, recalled how he decided to run for the school board after reading an article that no candidates had emerged for open school board seats. He said he didn’t think it was right for no one in a community as large as Schenectady to step up for such an important position, so he did.
“Our schools are an important part of the community, and I think community is key,” Foley said. “I am confident that someone who cares about our children and (is) passionate about our children will step into the position I’m vacating.”
Foley highlighted steps the district has made in the past nine years to use data in making policy decisions, advocate for increased state funding, emphasize the importance of focusing on equity and invest in student support programs. He said he was not declaring “mission accomplished” but wanted to highlight progress the district has made in recent years.
“[Serving on the school board] has been rewarding, but it also takes a significant amount of time and energy,” Foley said.
Two school board seats will be up for election May 18 when district voters are also asked to approve the proposed school budget for next year. To qualify for a position on the ballot, a potential candidate must live in the district for the year prior to the election and submit a nominating position with at least 50 signatures. (State lawmakers recently passed legislation setting the number of required signatures at 50 for small city districts like Schenectady for just 2021.) The nominating documents are due to district clerk Martha Morris by April 28 at 5 p.m.
Andy Chestnut, who was elected to a two-year term in 2019 to replace a departing board member, on Thursday said he had requested the nominating paperwork but had not yet decided whether he intended to run for re-election. He said he planned to make a decision within a couple of weeks after talking with people in the community about it.
Samuel Rose, who joined five other candidates in a crowded school board election last year, has announced online that he plans to run again this spring. Rose, a 2006 Schenectady High School graduate and lifelong Schenectady resident, last year emphasized the importance of the board in providing public accountability over what is taking place in the school district.
“Yes, I am running again this year for a position on the Board of Education for the Schenectady City School District,” Rose wrote in a Feb. 27 Facebook post. A digital flier attached to the post highlighted “board and administration accountability,” “workers and students first,” “quality education for all,” and “safe reopening” as his priorities.