NIAGARA FALLS – The incumbents who will be replaced this summer on the city School Board will together have spent more than 50 years serving on the board.
That’s a fact not lost on board member-elect Ronald J. Barstys.
“If I could serve for half those years, I would be happy to do so,” Barstys said Wednesday.
Barstys, the director of student services in the North Tonawanda School District, and Anthony F. Paretto, a city electrician, won the six-way race for two open seats in Tuesday’s election.
They defeated incumbents Don J. King, who had been on the board for more than three decades, and Kevin Dobbs, who joined the board in 1997. Herbert L. Lewis and Michael S. Gawel also ran.
Barstys said the service of King and Dobbs “should not be overlooked.”
Barstys, who has master’s degrees in science education and school district administration, said the climate of education has changed a lot in the last five years.
“People realize that if you’re not in it to some degree, it’s hard to keep pace with those changes,” said Barstys, 40.
His wife is an English teacher at Niagara Falls High School.
Paretto has worked for the city for seven years, and has been an electrician since 1991. He said he believed all the challengers faced a tall order in trying to unseat two incumbents.
“I thought I had good support going into Election Day, but I was actually overwhelmed,” said Paretto, 46.
Paretto, who said he believes voters “just wanted a change,” said he also believes going door to door to the homes of voters helped a lot.
He also said he was thankful for the support he received, including from many local unions. He was endorsed by the Niagara Falls Teachers Union.
In the final tally, Paretto received 1,079 votes; Barstys, 957; Dobbs, 883; King, 718; Lewis, 482; Gawel, 344; and 11 write-in votes were cast. The School Board adopted the official results of the budget vote and election Wednesday night.
The two new members are scheduled to take their oaths of office July 2.