By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Just three months after resigning from the Tonawanda City School Board, Lynn Casal announced Wednesday she will challenge Heather Little for her First Ward council seat in November’s election.
Casal resigned in January following the board’s selection of Dr. James Newton, the former Middle and High School principal, as the district’s new superintendent.
In her letter at the time of the resignation, Casal said she disagreed with the board’s choice and how the decision was made.
“Due to the numerous board leaks and the fact that they appointed the person with the least amount of experience for the job, I hereby resign my seat as a board of education member effective immediately,” Casal wrote in the letter, which she submitted to a the district clerk before walking out of a board meeting while it was in session.
Casal served on the board for five years, and previously resigned in 2010 while she was serving as vice president.
In a statement announcing her candidacy Wednesday, Casal said she stepped down in light of her colleagues being driven by “politics and personal agendas” and cited her experience in managing the district.
“My hope is that people will be less interested in the fact that I resigned and more interested that in my five plus years on the board I served as vice president for two years, president for one year and helped successfully pass multiple responsible budgets while holding the line on taxes,” she said.
Casal said that despite her recent resignation, she still wishes to serve her city.
Her opponent, Little, is a registered Independent and narrowly beat out incumbent Chuck Gilbert in the 2011 election, in which she was endorsed by the Democratic and Working Family parties, as well as the Independents and Conservatives.
At the time of her election in 2011, City of Tonawanda Democratic Committee Chairwoman Gail Syposs said Little ran one of the hardest working campaigns she’s ever seen.
Little said Wednesday she enjoys serving on the council and looks forward to running in November, but has serious concerns about her opponent.
“I have heard she has quit the school board twice,” Little said. “I am afraid that if she was under pressure, she would not be able to deliver. It seems like if she doesn’t get her way, that she tends to walk away.”
Little said she will seek the same endorsements again for this year’s race, and Casal interviewed for the Democratic endorsement Wednesday night. If she does not receive it, Casal said she is prepared to challenge Little in a primary race in September.
If elected, Casal said she plans to work closely with the district and “come up with ways to share services, which would decrease taxes.”
“I have no ill will toward Heather, I simply believe I can do a better job,” Casal said. “I will represent the City of Tonawanda residents and will do so proudly and with respect.”Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150