Tonawanda News


May 15, 2013

NT budget, school board candidates debated


Tonawanda News — Incumbent Art Pappas, a board member for more than 15 years who serves on a variety of committees in the city, said at a time when challenges to educational system are at a peak, the board needs an individual who can provide understanding of the intricacies and leadership in addressing problems.

“An experienced educator is necessary on a school board now more than ever,” the retired teacher said, adding that the district is encountering “fewer supplies, fewer resources” in recent years. 

Colleen Osborn, who served the last two years on the board and works in the medical industry, said it was her son’s battle with cancer that first led her to run for a seat, a role she has evolved into after admittedly encountering a learning curve during her early tenure, before establishing herself as an outspoken board member.

“I’ve been the voice of reason, I’ve made decisions that made people very unhappy,” she said of her time on the board. “I’’ll fight for our children’s education.” 

Robert Schmigel, Randy Bradt and Susanne Williams, who have never run for a slot on the school board, said it is their experience as parents of children in the district that should make them a top choice for voters, along with a professional background dealing with management and finance. 

Bradt, an accountant and financial advisor with an Amherst firm, said he has spent years as president of the North Tonawanda Athletic Association, and believes his financial background could be an asset to the board. 

“Many times I have heard people ask, ‘where does all the money go?’” he said, referring to the district’s finances. “We need better results.” 

Schmigel, a manager at CVS Pharmacy in the Mid-City Plaza, also cited his experience overseeing budgets and managing people. 

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