Three candidates vie for Albany school board seat as voters consider $261.6 million budget

Three Albany residents are running for a seat on the Albany City School District’s board of education on Tuesday, June 9. With the state executive order allowing for all New York voters to vote by mail due to the COVID-19 crisis, absentee ballots have been mailed and must be received at the district’s offices at Academy Park (1 Academy Park, Albany) by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9 to be counted.

The incumbent board member, Hassan Elminyawi, was appointed on Sept. 12, 2019 to fill a vacancy created when then-board member Jennifer Lange resigned to accept a position with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The term Elminyawi is serving will end on June 30, 2020.

The board of education is a non-partisan, seven-member board that governs the City School District of Albany. Board members are unpaid and serve in a voluntary, elected role. 

Ballots may be mailed or dropped off in person at Academy Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday until the June 9 voting deadline.

The three candidates are:

Hassan Elminyawi is the owner of Urban Aftermath Books, a bookstore that makes its home on Hamilton Street in Downtown Albany. A parent of two children currently in the district, Elminyawi also works for the New York State Thruway Authority as a senior administrative analyst for E-ZPass Operations. Elminyawi is a graduate of the University at Albany, earning both his bachelor’s and master’s in regional planning. More about Hassan Elminyawi.

Victor Cain is a familiar face to those who have attended Albany city schools. Cain worked for the district for more than 30 years, with 22 years as a hall monitor and 14 years as a home school coordinator. A native of Albany, Cain graduated from Albany High School. Cain was a longtime board member for the Albany Housing Authority, serving from 1995 to 2015. More about Victor Cain.

Edith Leet previously served on the Albany school board from 2010 to 2013. A small business owner, Leet has owned EHL Editorial Services since 1973. Leet is the coordinator for Capital Region Ecumenical Organization. Similar to Elminyawi, Leet has had a child in Albany city schools and is a graduate of the University at Albany. More about Edith Leet.

The three candidates faced off during a virtual forum on June 4. You can listen to the forum here.

Voters will also consider a $261.6 million budget proposal in this year’s annual vote. The proposed budget is up just over $1 million from the 2019-2020 budget – a 0.47 percent increase. 

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