Tag Archives: Vote

Vote on May 16, 2017

Polls will be open from 7am to 9pm on May 16, 2017 for the Kingston City School District Board of Education and School Budget Election.  Voting takes place in the local elementary schools.  If you can not remember where you vote for the school elections, click here.

Read details about the proposed school budget for 2017-2018 and the proposition to use capital reserve funds to renovate Meagher here.

Five candidates are running for three seats on the KCSD Board of Education.  Hear from each candidate and pose your questions to them at Meet the Candidates Night on Tuesday May 9, 2017 6:30pm at Kingston High School.

Your voice matters

New York State voter registration deadline – October 14, 2016

This year’s election on November 8, 2016 will have far reaching implications for education as well as many other issues.  If you are not yet registered to vote and you live in New York State, you have until October 14, 2016 to register.

You may register to vote online

School Boards

On May 17, 2016 voters in the Kingston City School District will be electing three members to the school board.

With the upcoming election in mind, check out this excellent description of the responsibilities of both the school board and the community with regards to public education.  The author Alice Wellborn is a school psychologist who writes to strengthen parent/teacher partnerships.

The structure of American public education is grounded in local control, and that control is administered through a locally elected (or, in some cases, appointed) Board of Education.  Citizens (or their elected representatives) select school board members, who then oversee the public schools and serve as the liaison between the community and the school system.

Community members can express their ideas and opinions about public education through voting, communicating directly with school board members, attending board meetings, or even running for the school board.

Note that while Ms. Wellborn refers to some school board members being paid, school board members in Kingston are volunteers and do not receive payment for their service.  You will also find other relevant information in my Parent Guide to Kingston Board of Education Meetings.

Anyone wishing to run for a seat on the KCSD board of education should contact District Clerk Camille DiPerna at cdiperna@kingstoncityschools.org or (845) 943-3009 to obtain a candidate packet.

Ulster County primaries today – go vote!

If you are registered in a political party, today is the primary. Please go out and vote. EVERY vote counts!  
UPDATE 9/11/15 – Report on the results of the primaries herehere and here
The last Mayoral election for the City of Kingston was decided by fewer than 10 votes. There are primaries for mayor, alderman-at-large, and several of the Common Council wards in Kingston. There are also primaries for several of the Ulster county legislative seats.
You can make a difference!
Polls are open from Noon to 9pm.
Your voice matters

If you are short on time, stop reading and go vote!

Otherwise read on.

You might wonder why I am posting about town and county voting on an education blog but who we have in our local elected offices does make a difference to education.  The local elected officials might not have direct control over education but they can have an impact on what happens in our schools.

Several education-related questions came up in the Mayoral debate two weeks ago and whatever actions are taken regarding the Building a Better Broadway plan will have a big impact on Kingston High School.

The Ulster County legislature passed a unanimous resolution last November urging the New York State legislature to work to stop Common Core.  With this resolution ALL of the county legislators, both Republican and Democratic, acknowledged the adverse impact that Common Core is having on our children and our schools and took action for the voice of Ulster County to be heard.  Press release – Ulster County Legislators Voice Opposition to Federal Common Core Initiative

As you vote, please consider who will best support and continue to protect the children of our school district and our county.

Kingston Mayoral Debate

The two Democratic candidates for Kingston mayor, Shayne Gallo and Steve Noble, debated at Temple Emanuel on August 24, 2015. The entire debate is available for viewing here along with the list of questions.

Two of the questions are likely to be of interest to parents within the Kingston City School District whether you live and vote in the City of Kingston or not:

  • Question #3 Do you believe the City Mayor should have more input or oversight into the Kingston school district and their budgets and board of education?
    20:52 – 21:55    Shayne Gallo
    21:57 – 23:50    Steve Noble
  • Question #7  Do you support initiatives such as the Rail Trail, ‘Building a Better Broadway’ and the Riverport?
    37:15 – 38:40  Shayne Gallo
    38:47 – 40:55  Steve Noble
    41:00 – 41: 28  Shayne Gallo rebuttal

Question #7 impacts KCSD and specifically Kingston High School due to the parking concerns recently raised associated with the Building a Better Broadway project.

At a meeting Wednesday night, the Board of Education had requested a 30-day extension of the comment period on the transportation council’s proposed Building a Better Broadway Project, which would use $4.5 million in state and federal aid to improve traffic efficiency and safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians along Kingston’s main business corridor. Board of Education Trustee James Shaughnessy said the proposal would affect Kingston High School but has not yet been evaluated by school district administrators.

“If there is no parking on the south side of Broadway all the way past the high school, it’s really going to have a detrimental impact to drop offs and pickups, parking during the day, parking during the evening, and events,” he said.

Daily Freeman August 19, 2015

Neither candidate addressed the Broadway plan in any detail as part of the debate but you can read more about it here.  If you have any concerns associated with the loss of 55 parking spaces around KHS as part of the Building a Better Broadway project, submit your comments to Brian Slack bsla@co.ulster.ny.us by Friday September 4, 2015.

KCSD passes school budget and re-seats incumbents

Thank you to those who exercised their democratic rights and voted in today’s school board and budget vote.

Results are in and the incumbents were re-elected to the KCSD Board of Education with Robin Jacobowitz, Danielle Guido and Jim Shaughnessy winning 3 year terms and James Michael winning the remaining one year in Matt McCoy’s outstanding term.  The paper mistakenly reports this term as having two years left.  The school budget passed as well as the proposition to establish a new Capital Reserve Fund.

Budget 2015 vote tally

Dr. Padalino predictably stated that the vote indicates that the community is happy with the KHS project in spite of the extension in time frame and reduction in size and that the community is pleased with the way the board is running the school district.

District Superintendent Paul Padalino said the re-election of incumbents was an affirmation that district residents support the high school renovation and expansion project, even though it will take longer than expected.

“Both propositions passing and the incumbents being reseated, that is a message from the community that they’re pleased with the way the board is running the district,” Padalino said. “It really is a vote of confidence.”

Kingston City School District was not alone in passing our school budget.  In fact the budget in every school district in Ulster County passed – read here.   I don’t know if most districts re-seated incumbents or not.  I do know that the challengers swept the election for the Saugerties school board of education.

Perhaps the budget vote does indeed say that all communities are happy with the way their local school districts are being run.  In fact I hope that is true.  I would like it very much if all parents are happy with their local schools.  However I know that 200,000 New York State TEST REFUSALS says that parents are NOT HAPPY with an awful lot about education in New York State!

Do NOT forget to vote – May 19, 2015

The Kingston City School District budget vote and board of education election is tomorrow Tuesday May 19, 2015.  Do NOT forget to vote!

KCSD Sample Ballot 2015

Six candidates are running for four seats on the KCSD board of education.  Read information here and here about the six candidates which include incumbents Jim Shaughnessy, Robin Jacobowitz, James Michael and Danielle Guido and new-comers Tim O’Brien and Fred Wadnola.

The KCSD budget for the 2015-2016 school year is up for a vote as well as Proposition 2 to create a new Capital Reserve Fund.  Read information about the budget and the new fund on the district website here.

Vote at your local elementary school.  Click here to determine which school you vote at if you are unsure.  Polls are open from 7am to 9pm tomorrow Tuesday May 19, 2015.

Election 2014 Wrap-up for the Kingston City School District

The November 4, 2014 election is over and before I put all my campaign posts to bed, I wanted to summarize regarding the various candidates and their educational stands.

For some reason I never posted this after writing it back in November 2014.  I am posting it now (May 2015) even though quite a bit of time has elapsed.  I thought it might be interesting to look back on what the various candidates had to say about education now that we are almost six months into their current term.

Some of the candidates who I have advocated for won and some did not.

Regardless of who won and who lost, our job as citizens is not done.  We must continue to interact with our elected officials and make sure that they are representing us properly in government.  We need to remember what they said during their campaigns; make sure they are sticking to the promises they made; work with them to determine if we can change their perspectives or come to satisfactory compromises if they have stands with which we do not agree.  We can not just wait until the next election and then vote.

New York State Governor – Andrew Cuomo defeated Rob Astorino but by a much smaller margin than many would have anticipated.  Rob Astorino actually ‘won’ the majority of the vote in Ulster County (46.6% for Astorino versus 41.7% for Cuomo according to politico.com) by a slight margin and the margin increases if the votes for Green party candidate Howie Hawkins (11%) are included.  These leads me to conclude that a number of people in Ulster County are not thrilled with Governor Cuomo and I like to think at least some of that discontent is due to his educational policies.  Governor Cuomo stated right before the election that he intends to ‘break the public school monopolty’ (read here) and his actions regarding education is an issue that we will need to keep an eye on in the upcoming months.  I personally liked many of the aspects of Rob Astorino’s education platform and will be keeping it in mind to see if there are ways they can be incorporated into New York’s educational policy even though Rob Astorino did not win the position of Governor.  Astorino-Moss Education Plan 2014

New York State Senator – 46th Senate District:  George Amedore defeated incumbent Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk.  Senator Tkaczyk made education a significant part of her focus during her time in office so George Amedore is going to have to step up and take a stand on the educational issues as he moves into his new position as Senator for the 46th Senate District.  He ran on the new StopCommonCore party line and will be held accountable in that area.  There are many areas of concern in education beyond Common Core that he will also need to address including school funding and unfunded mandates.

New York State Assembly – 103rd Assembly District:  Incumbent Assemblyman Kevin Cahill defeated challenger Kevin Roberts to retain his seat as representative for the Kingston City School District.  As with the governor position, I would like to see if there are ways that we can work with Mr. Cahill to change some of his perspectives on education to achieve the goals that Mr. Roberts would have taken with him to Albany had he won the assembly seat.  This  video provides a clear distinction between the two on their education stands.

U.S. Congressman New York State’s 19th Congressional District:  Incumbent Congressman Chris Gibson defeated newcomer Sean Eldridge and will be returning to Washington D.C. to represent the 19th Congressional District.

Smart Schools Bond Act (proposition 3):  The Smart Schools Bond Act passed and we will have to wait and see how Kingston City School District will use the money and how much it will cost the taxpayers.

StopCommonCore party line:  The new StopCommonCore party line received just over 50,000 votes and is therefore eligible to be its own party and to appear on the ballot as a party for the next four years.

Read here for a summary of campaign platforms and campaign videos about the various candidates.

This summary is focused on the Kingston City School District but I would like to highlight one other post that has Ulster County wide information regarding the Assembly candidates for four districts (assembly districts 101, 102, 103 and 104) since the candidates had such clear and differing stances regarding Common Core/education.  Click here to access the post.

Come meet the candidates for school board tomorrow May 12, 2015

On May 19, 2015 four members of the Kingston City School District community will be elected to the Board of Education.  Who will you vote for?

The terms of current board members Jim Shaughnessy, Robin Jacobowitz, James Michael and Danielle Guido will be expiring.  These four incumbents as well as Tim O’Brien and Fred Wadnola are running for the four seats up for election.

You can read bios for each of these candidates on the Kingston City School District’s website here but please pause for a moment and think about what you want to see in the board members elected on May 19.

Do you realize that the Kingston City School District is the equivalent of a $150 million business and that the volunteers who are elected by the Kingston community are responsible for that business?  What do you want to know about the candidates who are running for school board?  What school district issues are most important to you that you want to ask the candidates about?

While I do not want our schools run as a ‘business’ with competition between the students or the teachers, we as parents and community members need to realize that it is vitally important that we elect people to the school board who will run the schools in the way that we want them to be run.  The only way this will happen is if we are fully engaged in the election process and know who we are voting onto the school board.

Tomorrow night Tuesday May 12, 2015 you have the opportunity to attend Meet the Candidates Night at Kingston High School.  You will be able to hear what the candidates have to say in response to questions asked of them by the community.

I am disappointed that many parents from Edson and Graves would have to skip their children’s music concerts tomorrow night in order to attend Meet the Candidates Night.  I would not expect parents to do this.  However I hope that parents who do not have children in the two concerts and parents at the other schools in the district as well as community members will avail themselves of the Meet the Candidates Night opportunity tomorrow night.

Meet the Candidates Night  hosted by District Wide Parents’ Council

Tuesday May 12, 2015  6:30pm – 9:00pm

Kingston High School auditorium

How the Senate Republican Majority Leader debate affects education

Regardless of your political persuasion, the current situation regarding the Senate Republican Majority Leader in Albany matters if you are concerned about education in New York State.

Senator Skelos, who has been the Senate Republican Majority Leader, was arrested on federal corruption charges last week Monday May 4, 2015.  He indicated right after his arrest that he would not step down as Majority Leader despite the charges.  Since then as some Senate Republicans including Senator Amedore have called for him to step down, Skelos has gone so far as to threaten that he would resign his Senate seat as well if he is forced to step down.  This would put the Senate Republican majority in danger which of course the Republicans want to avoid.  Read here and here.

Senator Skelos is innocent until proven guilt and will have his day in court, however I do not believe that he can adequately serve any longer as the Senate Majority Leader.  He will be distracted by defending himself and so will everyone around him.  Proper attention will not be placed on the work that the New York State Senate should be accomplishing if he remains as Senate Majority Leader.

The next question is who should become the new Senate Majority Leader and the story just keeps getting crazier!  Both Senator Skelos (who has been charged with a crime) and Governor Cuomo believe that they should have a say in the selection of the next leader – read here.  Their pick is Senator Flanagan who has consistently stood in support of the current education reforms/Common Core in New York State.  I am sure you can see why I am opposed to Senator Flanagan becoming the next Senate Majority Leader.  As Senate education committee chair, he has been stifling any bills that would bring relief from Common Core and if he becomes the Senate Majority Leader, he will just have more power!

A number of the Republican Senators are leaning toward selection of Senator DeFrancisco as the Senate Majority Leader over Senator Flanagan.  Read about Senator DeFrancisco here and here.  I do not know where Senator DeFrancisco stands specifically regarding Common Core but my hope is that he will at least be open to listening to the concerns of parents and teachers, concerns which Senator Flanagan has essentially ignored.

Please contact Senator Amedore and let him know that you want to see a new Senate Majority Leader and that you support the selection of Senator DeFrancisco over Senator Flanagan as the next Senate Majority Leader.

Senator George Amedore  518-455-2350

UPDATE May 11, 2015 11:30pm  I am disappointed to report that Senator Flanagan has been selected as the new Senate Republican Majority Leader – report here and here.

It appears the vote was unanimous based on this letter from Senator LaValle so that means Senator Amedore voted for Senator Flanagan?

LaValle unanimous for Flanagan