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Apr 29 - May 07, 2014

Former Teacher Seeks Niagara Falls School Board Seat

April 29, 2014

Thomas Vitello

Former physical education teacher and union president Thomas Vitello Sr., will challenge two incumbents on the Niagara Falls School Board for one of two open seats. Former fireman Nicholas Vilardo and businessman Art Jocoy, are running "as a team" for re-election to the non-paid school board. Board members serve five-year terms. Vilardo is running for his third term, Jocoy for his second term. The election is Tuesday May 20th.

Vitello is a lifelong resident of Niagara Falls. Two of his children were educated in the Niagara Falls School District. Vitello holds a bachelor of science degree from Niagara University and is a former physical education teacher in the Niagara Falls district where he also coached football and baseball. He also worked for the Niagara Falls Water Board and served as president of Steelworker's Local 9434-00. "My educational background and work experience gives me an understanding of the problems the Niagara Falls School District faces," said Vitello. "I want to improve our schools and school system and share my experiences to help in that effort."

Typically about 10 percent of the city's 25,000 registered voters turn up at the polls for school board elections. The school district, much like the city itself, has shrunk considerably during the last few decades. One of the poorest in the country, there are only about 7,000 students enrolled in this district. At the turn of the 21st century, enrollment was 9,100. The district currently has 11 schools and a budget of around $120 million.

Vitello believes that the district faces difficult financial times and tough decisions must be made. It is his contention that "we must make those decisions based on the facts that will not only benefit our community but, most importantly, give our children the education they deserve."





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