NIAGARA FALLS – The city School Board on Thursday night rejected challenges to the nominating petitions of two board members who are running for re-election later this month.
Challenges to the petitions of Kevin Dobbs and Don J. King were thrown out upon advice of the school district’s attorney, Angelo Massaro, who said that even if the challenged signatures were disregarded, Dobbs and King would still have enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot.
Massaro told the board that the objections, filed by Ken Hamilton, did not meet all the requirements to be considered under state law and were “insufficient as a matter of law.”
Among the deficiencies in the challenges, Massaro said, Hamilton failed to serve Dobbs and King personally with the challenges, failed to file proof he served them personally and also failed to file a general objection to a second set of petitions filed by the candidates.
The School Board twice voted, 8-0, to reject the challenges, with Dobbs and King abstaining from the vote involving their own petitions.
Massaro said the forms currently distributed by the district do not have a place for some information that is required by law, like the date the signature was made, but also include spots for information not required, like the election district of the person signing the petition and information about the witness to the signatures.
In addition to filing specific challenges to petitions, Hamilton was also required to file a general objection, Massaro said.
Hamilton filed a general objection to petitions filed by the candidates April 28, but not to petitions filed subsequent to that date.
Massaro also said that there were grounds on all the candidates’ petitions that, if they were challenged, would have meant no one would be on the ballot this year.
In addition to Dobbs and King, four other candidates are running for two open seats, which carry five-year terms: Ronald J. Barstys, Michael S. Gawel, Herbert L. Lewis and Anthony F. Paretto.
Hamilton, who attended the board meeting, said he plans to challenge nominating petitions in the future.
The school district election and budget vote is May 21.
In another other district matter, a number of flower boxes outside Niagara Street Elementary School will be removed permanently this summer after ongoing damage and vandalism, most recently this past weekend.
David D. Spacone, supervisor of operations and maintenance for the district, told board members that about 40 pieces of porcelain tile were pulled off the almost-3-foot-high planters in the latest incident.
In the past, pieces of tile were chipped by skateboarders as they slid their boards on them, Superintendent Cynthia A. Bianco said.
The school has a security camera overlooking the area and has reported this and previous incidents to city police. The areas where the boxes are located will be replaced by concrete, possibly colored or stamped, Spacone said.