Marking a different dynamic from previous years, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) and activist Jose “Toby” Alcantara are backing two of the three separate three-person slates in the local board of education contest.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The “Your Children’s Future” team is backed by Sires and include Trustee Jonathan Castaneda, a former aide to Sires, as well as an ex-chief of staff to Roque, Adrienne Koles-Sires, the congressman’s wife, and Joseph Rodriguez – the husband of Freeholder Caridad Rodriguez (D-7).
Despite needing just 10 verified signatures to get on the ballot, the faction says they submitted a whopping 572 petitions of nomination to the Hudson County Clerk’s Office yesterday.
“The West New York School District is headed in a positive direction with a clear vision for the future. In order to take it to the next level, we need experienced advocates in public education who understand our district, our community, and the needs of our children,” the slate said in a joint statement.
“The ‘Your Children’s Future’ team brings a wealth of wisdom that will add value to the composition of the West New York Board of Education.”
Hudson County View exclusively reported last week that Adrienne Sires was going to seek a return to the BOE.
Her most recent tenure on the board ended in November 2013, where she had served as president for just over two years.
Additionally, Alcantara made good on his word from last week where he committed to challenge the Sires ticket.
His trio of candidates, running as “The WNY Independents,” are Richie Acosta, a lifelong West New Yorker, George Payan, a regular campaign worker for Roque in the past, and first time candidate Cheryl Barona.
Alcantara did not immediately return a request seeking comment.
Finally, the “WNY Cares” faction consists of Trustee Lorena Portillo, Father Carlo Fortunio and Jesus Aristy – the latter two who have never sought office before.
That ticket has been strongly rumored to have the backing of Mayor Felix Roque, but he denied those assertions in a short phone interview this morning.
“I would love to meet with them: I know Aristy very well, his son actually works for us at the police department – he’s [Aristy] a very knowledgeable man,” Roque began.
“I’d love to meet with them, as well as Mrs. Sires who I thought did a great job on the board before she retired, and if they need my endorsement, I’ll decide at that time. But I haven’t had the honor of meeting of meeting them and talking to them yet.”
Meanwhile, two-term incumbent Matthew Cheng is not seeking re-election.