NIAGARA FALLS – Seven candidates, including the two incumbents, filed petitions by Wednesday’s deadline to run for election to the Niagara Falls School Board.
Ken Hamilton, Arthur L. Jocoy Jr., Nicholas S. Vilardo and Thomas R. Vitello Sr. filed petitions that were accepted by the school district clerk’s office. Petitions submitted by Angela J. Bray, Steven P. DiNieri and Herbert L. Lewis were still in the process of being validated.
Candidates will compete in the May 20 election for two seats that carry five-year terms.
Bray, 34, is a self-employed disability rights advocate.
DiNieri owns Precision Auto on Niagara Falls Boulevard. He’s 46.
Hamilton, 61, retired as a chemical operator from Olin Corp. and is a freelance columnist for the Niagara Gazette.
Lewis, who ran for school board last year, works in security at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. He’s 42.
Vitello, 62, is a former teacher and coach in the district, and also worked for the Niagara Falls Water Board.
Jocoy and Vilardo are the incumbents, with Jocoy seeking his second term and Vilardo his third.
Jocoy, 46, owns Jocoy’s Collision on Packard Road, while Vilardo is a retired Niagara Falls Fire Department battalion chief. He’s 67.
The election and budget vote will take place May 20. Earlier this year, the school board restored more than a dozen polling places that had been eliminated for last year’s election and budget vote.
The school board is recommending a proposed spending plan for the 2014-15 school year of $126.4 million, a 1.9 percent increase over the current school year’s budget. Board members are also proposing to keep the tax levy at $25.8 million, the same as the current year. That means taxpayers as a whole will pay the same amount for the city’s public schools as this year.
The overall tax levy in the district is already at the maximum level set by the state’s tax cap. Any proposal that would have sought to increase the amount of taxes to be collected would have required approval from 60 percent of voters.