Syracuse City School District elections (2013)
Method of election
What was at stake?
Syracuse City School District
Three seats were up for election on the Syracuse Board of Education. Five candidates were selected by town or county parties to run in the November 5, 2013 general election. Democratic nominees Patricia Body, David Cecile and Derrick L. Dorsey defeated Republican nominee Edward J. McLaughlin and Green Party nominee Barbara E. Humphrey to win the three at-large seats.
A significant issue that faced the district prior to the election was its struggles with academic performance based on state testing across all grade levels.
About the district
- See also: Syracuse City School District, New York
Syracuse lagged behind state averages for higher education achievement, median income and poverty rate in the 2010 U.S. Census. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (25.9%) exceeded the state average (32.5%). The U.S. Census calculated Syracuse's median income at $31,689 while the state median income was $56,951. Syracuse had a poverty rate of 32.3% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 14.5%.
Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.
Method of board member selection
The Syracuse Board of Education consists of seven members elected at-large to four-year terms. There was not a primary on September 10 for the board as the number of candidates was sufficient to move on to the general election. Three seats on the board were on the November 5, 2013 and four seats will be up for election on November 3, 2015. Board members must be 18 years old, reside in the district for at least one year before election and not be an employee of the district.
Board elections in Syracuse are partisan with the number of signed petitions varied based on registered voters. The Onondaga County Board of Elections requires a board candidate to receive 1,000 signatures if running on the Democratic ticket, 569 on the Republican ticket, 151 on the Independent ticket and smaller amounts for other parties. Town committees can designate candidates to run on their party tickets prior to the September filing date if county parties do not offer nominations at their spring conventions.
- Retired social worker
- Retired educator
- Director, Community-Wide Dialogue to End Racism
- Bus driver
- Veteran, U.S. Navy
- Graduate, SUNY Albany
- Research development coordinator, Upstate Medical University
Candidates received a total of $7,146.90 and spent a total of $7,259.83 during the election, according to the New York State Board of Elections. Derrick L. Dorsey and Barbara E. Humphrey did not file campaign finance reports.
|Candidate||Contributions||Expenditures||Cash on hand|
|Derrick L. Dorsey||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Edward J. McLaughlin||$2,524.00||$3,426.92||$203.17|
|Barbara E. Humphrey||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
Candidates for the Board of Education and the Syracuse Common Council participated in a October 7 forum at Delaware Elementary School. All five candidates attended the forum sponsored by Brown Memorial Church, the Near West Side Initiative, Syracuse United Neighbors and the Westside Residents Coalition. A major debate during the forum dealt with how board candidates would deal with high rates of disciplinary action in the district among African American and Latino students. Barbara E. Humphrey called for a moratorium on suspensions for "minor behavioral infractions" while David Cecile and Edward J. McLaughlin countered that halting suspensions would encourage inappropriate behavior by students. Derrick L. Dorsey and Patricia Body advocated for further study into the causes of student behaviors in district schools.
Another forum sponsored by Parents for Public Schools was held at the Roberts K-8 School on October 16. The candidates were asked about how they would solve the most critical issues facing the district. Body, Dorsey and Humphrey agreed that poor funding for public schools has led to lagging student performance and discipline issues. Cecile argued that student discipline was a more critical issue than funding as poor behavior impacts the learning environment for other students. McLaughlin suggested that closed schools and increased staffing would ease overcrowding that has led to student struggles.
|Syracuse City School District, At-large General Election, 4-year term, 2013, 2011|
|Republican||Edward J. McLaughlin||11.9%||5,636|
|Republican||Sarah G. Gilbert||10.8%||5,114|
|Republican||Delilah A. Fiumana||10.8%||5,093|
|Source: The Post-Standard, "Election 2011: Onondaga County voting results," November 9, 2011|
What was at stake?
Patricia Body was the only incumbent who sought re-election to the board in 2013 with former members Calvin Corriders and Richard Strong not filing for re-election. Body was joined by challengers David Cecile and Derrick L. Dorsey as Democratic candidates, all of whom won. Edward J. McLaughlin ran as a Republican in the November 5, 2013 election while Barbara E. Humphrey received the Green Party nomination. Both lost their election bids.
Academic performance struggles
A major issue facing district schools in 2013 was consistent struggles with academic performance as measured by the New York State Testing Program. Syracuse City School District was measuring at least 20 percentage points below state proficiency averages across grades 3 through 8 and high school for English Language Arts and Mathematics. In August 2012, the Board of Education adopted a five-year plan proposed by Superintendent Sharon Contreras to address this issue by 2017.
The following dates were key deadlines for the Syracuse Board of Education election in 2013:
|May 21, 2013||Last day for party chairs to file nominations made at county conventions|
|September 10, 2013||Primary day|
|September 17, 2013||Last day for town committees to file nominations made during local caucus|
|October 4, 2013||First required report of financial contributions for general election|
|November 5, 2013||Election day|
|December 2, 2013||Last required report of financial contributions for general election|
Additional elections on the ballot
The Syracuse Board of Education election shared the ballot with city, county and state elections. Residents of Syracuse cast votes for mayor, seven seats on the Syracuse Common Council and a judge for the City Court. The Onondaga County Legislature had seven districts on the ballot that overlap with Syracuse's city limits. Voters also cast ballots on six proposed amendments to the New York State Constitution including proposals to allow casino gaming and increase the retirement age for state judges.
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- New York
- Syracuse City School District, New York
- Onondaga County, New York ballot measures
- U.S. Census, "Quick Facts: Syracuse," accessed September 5, 2013
- New York State Board of Elections, "Voter Enrollment by County," accessed September 5, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- Syracuse City School District, "Board Policies," accessed September 5, 2013
- Onondaga County Board of Elections, "Election Calendar," accessed September 6, 2013
- Syracuse.com, "Editorial endorsements: Our picks for Syracuse Board of Education," October 29, 2013
- New York State Board of Elections, "Contribution Search," accessed December 23, 2013
- New York State Board of Elections, "Expenditure Search," accessed December 23, 2013
- Syracuse.com, "Syracuse residents pepper candidates with questions, mostly about schools," October 8, 2013
- Syracuse.com, "Syracuse school board candidates' top issues: funding, discipline," October 16, 2013
- Syracuse.com, "Big field of candidates line up for Syracuse school board," April 10, 2013
- New York State Education Department, "State Report Card," accessed September 5, 2013
- Syracuse.com, "Syracuse school board adopts five-year plan to improve schools, student performance," August 22, 2012
- Onondaga County Board of Elections, "General Candidates List," accessed September 6, 2013
- New York Board of Elections, "Proposed Amendments," accessed September 6, 2013