Seats open on the library and school boards

GUILDERLAND — Four seats on the Guilderland Public Library board and three on the Guilderland School Board are in play this spring.

Barbara Fraterrigo, who has been on the library board for over 30 years and on the school board for more than 20 years, is up for re-election to both.

Library terms are five years; school board terms are three years. The posts for both boards are unpaid and at-large. The school board has nine members and the library board has 11. Terms begin for elected candidates on July 1, 2019.

Candidates for either board must live in the Guilderland School District and must be registered voters. They must submit, by April 22, petitions with 39 signatures from registered voters living in the school district.

These petitions are included in an informational packet that can be picked up at either the library or the school district offices. As of March 18, three people other than current board members had picked up packets for the library board, and four had picked up packets related to the school board.

In addition to voting for board candidates on May 21, school district residents will also be deciding on school and library budgets as well as on school and library capital projects.

Two of the three library trustees whose terms are up are running again. They are:

— Barbara Fraterrigo: Fraterrigo said this week that she started on the library board in 1988 and on the school board in 1997; she has been on each of them continuously. She started on the board when her last child was a junior in high school.

Her reason for wanting to serve, she said, is “just providing the kids of today with what my kids had and preparing them for the future.” Of the library and the school boards, she said, “The two tie so greatly because it’s all education.”

Fraterrigo works as the business manager for the ophthalmology office of her husband, son, and daughter, all of whom are eye doctors.

— Barry Nelson: Nelson was elected last year to fill out the term of Carolyn Williams, who resigned because of health issues; he was one of three trustees elected last year.

Nelson says that he has contributed to the betterment of the library over the past year, with his experience in budgeting, system analysis, firefighting and health and safety, and that he hopes to continue to do so. Nelson is retired from working for the state, as a health and safety officer and as a budget analyst. He has been a volunteer firefighter with the Westmere Fire Department for 31 years, he said.

Karen Carpenter-Palumbo will complete her first term, she said, but will not run again. She said, “Five years was a significant term that I was happy to serve. I think we accomplished some great work, and it’s time for somebody else to take it on.”

Another library trustee post is open because Chris Aldrich will resign a year early. He has been a board member for nine years, and was president for four of those years, he said. He currently chairs the finance and the fundraising committees.

Aldrich works as a court attorney with Albany City Court, and he and his wife decided, Aldrich said, with their children having graduated from high school, that it’s a good time to move to downtown Albany. “I’ll be five minutes from work,” he said.

The top three vote-getters will win five-year terms on the library board; the candidate who comes in fourth will fill out Aldrich’s one-year term.

Over the last decade, the library has sometimes not had enough candidates to fill the vacant posts turn in petitions, leaving the election to a handful of write-in votes.

School board

In addition to Fraterrigo, one other incumbent is running for re-election on the school board: Gloria Towle-Hilt, currently finishing her fourth term. She started on the board in 2007, after retiring from 37 years as a social studies teacher at Farnsworth Middle School.

She is running again, she said, because she thinks she brings a perspective that is important, as a longtime teacher. She noted that her experience includes working as a team teacher and as a teacher leader in social studies; setting up and running for five years the enrichment program; setting up with Alan Fiero and running for five years a program for at-risk students; setting up the student government and acting as its advisor throughout her time as a teacher; acting as advisor to the ecology club; and starting a program of bringing students to volunteer in Albany soup kitchens, a program that “continues to this day,” she said.

Teresa Gitto said this week that she will not run for a second term because she wants to be able to devote more time to her family and that, during her three years on the board, she has been “stretched a little too thin.” Being on the board, she said, “is very time-intensive.”

She said she would have liked to run for another term, at least, since it takes a couple of years to get to get up to speed, but didn’t think that that would be fair to her family or the board.

Gitto was unopposed three years ago in her run for school board; so were Towle-Hilt, now seeking a fifth term, and Fraterrigo, now seeking an eighth full term.

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