May school board races may attract excitement

May school board elections are shaping up to look competitive — and could determine governing control of the billion dollar a year district.

In the North District, Jay McCarthy is seen as a strong incumbent who has performed strongly at the polls. The union organizer Larry Scott is rumored to be planning a run. He ran against McCarthy before and lost badly. Typically many candidates run from North Buffalo, which is populated heavily by teachers and charter school parents. Additional candidates are expected to enter the race.

In the West District, James Sampson — a liberal Democrat whose alignment with the developer Carl Paladino has become strained in recent months — is being challenged by Adrian Fitzgerald Harris, a school counselor. Sampson won the district narrowly and the race is expected to be competitive. It’s unclear if the longtime board member Ralph Hernandez, who Sampson defeated, will enter the race.

In the Central District, Mary Ruth Kapsiak is expected to seek reelection but has not yet declared. Some obverses have suggested that she may be considering retiring. Joe Mascia is rumored to be considering the race, but has not made any commitments.

In the Ferry District, Sharon Belton Cottman is well known and has the strong support of the political club known as Unity Coalition. It’s unclear if Grassroots, a rival political club with a strong presence in the Masten neighborhood, will field a candidate against her.

In the East and South districts, incumbents Theresa Harris-Tigg and Carl Paladino do not yet have challengers. It was rumored late last week that parent activist Carolette Meadows would challenge Paladino, but she has since declined to run.

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