Dear SEEN Community,
Local elections matter – we know this, but it bears repeating. This year is no exception – the school board election is contested and the impact of the outcome will be felt for years to come. In recent years, and also as recently as last night, we have observed the direct impact of our chosen school board trustees on our school system and our children. Last night’s meeting showed us that even one trustee can delay needed progress, pushing vital equity initiatives back to committee.
We are here to help you get informed so that you can make an educated decision AND so that you can help spread the word to friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who asks – this is how we multiply our impact!
Here is a brief overview:
- The election will be held in person on Tuesday, May 18.
- There are 5 candidates running for 3 positions. The candidates are Casey Putnam, John Ellis, Christina Kraszewski, Connie Woytowich, and Amanda Ellithorpe (see below for more information about each candidate).
- You can vote for up to 3 candidates but we suggest you only cast votes for the candidates who you strongly believe will represent your interests if elected to serve on the board.
- Get involved. Electing trustees who promote diversity, equity, and inclusion across the district is critical to our mission of dismantling systemic racism, promoting intersectional justice, and confronting bias in the Saratoga Springs City School District – this work is necessary to ensure each and every student is seen. The campaign season is in full swing, and please consider volunteering to support campaigns whose values align with these goals. At this time, SEEN is not endorsing any individual candidates, but is happily serving as a conduit to connect volunteers to like-minded candidates. This list will be used to help organize volunteers as individuals only.
- Find out where to vote. The Board of Education Election and Budget Vote is Tuesday, May 18, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voting occurs at all six Saratoga elementary schools, but your voting location might not be your “home” elementary school. Look here to find out where your voting location is.
- Reach out! In such a small election, every vote counts. Please reach out to friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances – especially those who may not be as up to date on the election – and encourage them to get informed, find their voting location, and VOTE!
- How many candidates should you vote for? School board elections are won by “plurality”, meaning that winners are the candidates with the most votes (not necessarily a majority of votes). In this case, there are 3 open seats and each voter can vote for up to 3 candidates. But, you do not have to vote for 3 candidates. You can “bullet vote” for only the candidates that you really support. This tactic ensures that candidates you do not really support will not accumulate votes (toward a plurality).
- Take a look at the results of the 2019 and 2020 elections to see what was at issue and the vote totals by candidate. The margins between candidates can be very close, and every vote matters!
Learn about the candidates and what they have to say on issues relevant to SEEN’s mission.
- Casey Putnam – Casey has been endorsed by CSEA and recommended by the Saratoga Springs Teachers’ Association (SSTA). She supports the proposed district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy and Regulation. She thinks it helps make the shift in how we think about fairness, pointing out that each student has different needs. Casey approaches school safety from the perspective of the whole child by devoting resources to preventive measures such as mental health care.
- John Ellis – John is running for his 3rd term on the board. If he wins, he will be one of only two trustees who will not be in their first term. John has been endorsed by CSEA and recommended by the SSTA. He supports the proposed district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy and Regulation. John thinks the school is currently doing a fantastic job on school safety balanced between our two Student Resource Officers (SROs), facilities updates, and drills, and does not support hiring additional SROs.
- Christina Kraszewski – Christina thinks that every child should have access to an equitable education, but is not sure if she supports the district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy and Regulation. She wants to do more research and listen to everyone’s concerns. With regards to school safety, Christina thinks that currently everyone is safe, but she would want to reevaluate if that changes in the future.
- Connie Woytowich – Connie has been recommended by the SSTA. She did not express full support for the district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy and Regulation. She says it is important to note that this policy is just proposed, that it’s a living document, and there is more work to be done. Connie supports the arming of SROs as an option for the district. She also expressed support for increasing our investment in surveillance. At the League of Women Voters forum, Connie made the contention that students feel safer with armed guards in schools.
- According to their campaign materials, Connie and Christina are supporting each other’s campaigns.
- Amanda Ellithorpe – Amanda has been endorsed by CSEA. She has stated her support for the district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy and Regulation. Amanda supports “safety”, and wants to see SROs at every school. Amanda also has a leadership role in the Saratoga County Libertarian Party.
Please reach out to us, either individually or at SaratogaEEN@gmail.com, if you would like any additional information or have any questions regarding the election or the candidates!
~ The SEEN Team