Unprecedented Funds Raised In School Board Races

The Times Union and the Gazette ran stories about the school board candidates’ fund raising efforts.

The Saratoga Parents for Safe Schools raised $33,000.00.  They have spent over $17,000.00.  They used the money to do automated calls to district residents and to purchase lawn signs.  Their endorsed candidates are Dean Kolligian, Ed Cubanski, and Shaun Wiggins.

John Brueggemann raised over $4,700.00.  He spent nearly $1,500.00 so far.

Connie Woytowich, Heather Reynolds, and Natalya Lakhtakia raised under $500.00.

Candidates are only required to file financial reports if they raise over $500.00.  The Gazette reported that district officials did not recall a time before this when candidates had to file financial reports.

Brueggemann and Reynolds both have been critical of the candidates accepting money from the Saratoga Parents for Safe Schools because they believed it would undermine the candidates’ independence.

This criticism seems to me to be opportunist by playing on people’s appropriate resentment about groups funding candidates in general.  Normally such contributions come from business groups with financial interests in influencing government policies.  In the case of these school board races the money is not coming from big corporations but from people who support using armed monitors as a security resource in protecting schools from shooting incidents.  

32 thoughts on “Unprecedented Funds Raised In School Board Races”

  1. Clearly, safeguarding our children’s safety in schools is very important, but to what end (or beginning) do we feel safer with armed guards in school and what does that say about us? What happens then at the playgrounds, the athletic fields, the movie theatres, our public gatherings, our places of worship? Should we then, not also be promoting building walls for protection? This initial reaction requires better thoughts than to immediately assume that our world is so dangerous and out of our control, that promoting a culture of weapons is better than promoting legislation regarding weapon ownership. On the issue of veiled PAC money … we saw this in our last referendum to influence opinions, by those who should (and do) know better.


      1. Thank you for clarifying this, John. There are a few on the “other” side still attempting to put this out there as fact. Add to that, their insistence on referring to anyone who is supporting armed monitors (security) as pro-gun is erroneous and seems to only work to divide and label. I am in favor of armed monitors yet clearly not pro-gun in a more general way. I am a passionate advocate of universal background checks and red flag laws. And, I know I’m not the only one!


      2. Also it sounds like Gayle is in favor of more police.

        If you want to hire cops to do this job I don’t see a problem other than the budget, but we need people who can be trusted to follow the law.

        A group that wants to spend a bunch of cash putting armed felons in our schools isn’t a group that’s got a good idea.

        If you don’t agree that breaking felony laws and admitting to it publicly makes you a felon, then I want some case law to back that up from SPSS.


      3. Section 265.01-a of the NYS penal code says “A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds when he or she knowingly has in his or her possession a rifle, shotgun, or firearm in or upon a building or grounds, used for educational purposes, of any school… (other stuff thats also a “school” removed) without the written authorization of such educational institution.

        Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds is a class E felony.”

        I’m not a lawyer if you have something better let me know, but that reads pretty clearly to me. It also looks like it’s been that way since at least 2013.

        Again could be wrong, not a lawyer.

        As far as who was doing it nobody really knows do we?

        We’ve been told some grounds monitors were doing it, and that they’re not allowed to anymore.

        You’ve got the journalism blog. If I’m not wrong about the law maybe check it out?


      4. Don’t you think that characterizing the retired police who worked for the school for thirty years as monitors as being felons while technically true is a bit on the harsh side. You are not asserting that they knowingly violated the law?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. John, fist of all I’m glad we’re in agreement now that a pattern of serious criminal behavior has been established. Will you be looking into who these criminals are so the public can be informed?

        Second, I would like to ask you if now that we agree rearming these individuals is “technically” putting armed felons in our schools, that you “thoughtfully reviewed,” the situation as you “cannot imagine” the BoE did?

        If you feel that way, would you be willing to write a part 5 of your gun series discussing which laws we should ignore, what “technical felons” should not have their rights to carry firearms in our state restricted, and who is allowed to commit a pattern of serious crimes?


      6. Inspector Javert (Dear No More Fake Dems)-my lawyer friends tell me I misspoke when I said that the monitors being felons was “technically true”. They reminded me that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and that there have been no charges brought against the monitors let alone a felony conviction.

        If you are concerned about this threat to our children I would urge you to contact the state police or maybe the FBI and keep us informed as to how this evolves.


      7. John, I appreciate you leaving up your first response expressing your genuine thoughts.

        Let’s set aside the felon term. You clearly agree that whether or not charges are brought a crime was being committed. You said so before someone reminded you acknowledging the truth looks bad for SPSS.

        Are you truly not troubled that these people think so little of the law they enforce or their accountability to our community that they either knowingly violated state laws (it’s the penal code, cops know the penal code) or were so far outside of appropriate training guidelines or administrative controls that they didn’t knowingly violate them because their knowledge was years out of date?

        Are you satisfied filling our schools with people who ignore our laws? I haven’t seen, “Be a criminal when it’s convenient,” anywhere in my children’s curriculum and it’s a lesson I’d rather they not learn from school employees.

        If you disagree I’d like to know if you’re planning to write that 5th article I suggested? Maybe with a section I can use to tell my kids which laws don’t matter?


      8. Full retreat rather than answering a few legitimate questions about your thoughts? Nice.

        Are you sure you didn’t mean to write “Kaufmann” on that post about guys named John who have problems with the truth?


    1. Hey Betty Darlink–

      NRA money? We’re NRA and we have money (lol).
      Got a problem with upland birding?
      Love you but, seriously?
      After all these years, we’ve admired your good fight for the good cause but now?

      What is going on people?
      We survived W (miss Move-On) and then got taken by O.
      (love to see HIS tax returns).
      Now what?

      The party of my father is gone.
      And dad had guns.
      He wasn’t a pacifist democrat.
      Dad was a Teamster.

      A war veteran that received 2 purple hearts and a silver star for defending our freedom and your right to voice your opinion. The more I read these comments, the more I see the real threat to our liberty.
      Useful idiots comes to mind.

      You’re all supposedly proud members of this Sarartoga academic-intelligentsia.
      I’m embarrassed to share several degrees of academia with all of you.

      And Gayle–
      Red flag laws are unconstitutional.
      You support arrest and confiscation of personal property without due process?
      Are you kidding??

      Final word:
      Are you Americans or what?
      And by being American we don’t mean capitalist.
      We mean nationalists. NOT globalists.
      Saratoga Springs comes first.
      Saratoga County comes second, and the interests of greater NYS state; third.
      And America? It’s more a concept than a country. It’s called liberty.

      We MUST be doing something right.
      So many are risking their lives to come here. So few leave.
      Get it?

      You gals need to take a break and watch this:

      -JC in disgust

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Justin 😦 – I would be of the opinion that because you are such a proud and decorated war veteran, that you would be self-respecting enough to write under your full name. Transparency might measure your responses so that they can be as respectful as those retorts directed to you. I sincerely thank you for your service and hope to learn your full name soldier.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Justin – Not sure why I’m responding as I don’t think you really want anyone’s opinion other than your own. However, I’ll try (I have been counseled on my insistence on attempting to be logical with those who don’t value logic).

        “And Gayle–
        Red flag laws are unconstitutional.
        You support arrest and confiscation of personal property without due process?
        Are you kidding??”

        A red flag law does not in any way suggest arrest of anyone. So, please, the drama – please! It also does not indicate immediate confiscation of any personal property – in this case, guns. It is not dissimilar to our current child welfare laws. As a mandated reporter (teacher and former therapist) it is my duty to report ANY suspicious case of child abuse. (Note: anyone can make that call – it’s just that in my case I’m required to make that call) In NYS OCFS (and in NYC, ACS) is then obligated to investigate. Then, only – repeat only, if there is very serious PROOF of child abuse would any action take place with removal of the children being the last resort. (And, in case you are considering challenging me on this, I both wrote curriculum and trained on the topic, for NYS and nationally since 2001).

        The red flag law, if written well (and yes, I fully agree the wording must be clear and careful) would do pretty much the same with guns. If someone suspects that another person in possession of weapons has become a danger to self or others they could then report that potential danger. Then, the local agency – likely the police – would investigate. If and ONLY if they have serious reason to believe the person possessing the firearm has intent to harm another or himself, would the guns be temporarily removed to remove the potential danger. Further investigation would take place to determine if the guns should be returned or remain confiscated. Again at NO time would someone be arrested for simply owning the guns (assuming they are owned legally).

        Perhaps you would rather that someone who has had suicidal tendencies that someone is aware of being ignored and allowed to keep their weapon? Or, that person who has been abusing a spouse or other be allowed to keep them even when others are aware of the potential for harm? Have you not read the news recently of the murder/suicides taking place because – “well, we knew there were problems but….”?

        And, yes, I am passionate about this topic as my parents would likely have lived a significantly longer life if a law such as this was in effect – and followed in Arizona about 20 years ago. To prove that point, my brothers and I sued the VA and took a settlement based on non-reporting of potential for harm to self or others – that, however, did not take the place of losing our parents.

        So, please, please stop with the drama based on poor facts or no facts.


      3. PS: Just to point out that the topic of red flag laws is not the actual topic of this initial blog post. I shared that information to contradict those who want to paint any of us who are in favor of armed security in our schools as “pro-gun”. That label seems to be more for the effect of fear mongering division. It is unfortunate that those who insist on using that term don’t have the ability to disagree without being so divisive.


    1. So, since you are so intent of making this point and John – who I think does his homework quite well – has stated that it is not the case in this situation, what is your proof?


  2. I’d like to second Jim Martinez’ss suggestion to “Justin” and add to that “No-More-Fake-Dems” – Jim and I have no problem owning our thoughts publically. You both have a lot to say yet seem intent on hiding behind a pseudonym. If you are really secure in your opinions why the “hide”?


    1. No_More_Fake_Dems is clearly a false name that protects this writer from personally owning up to his opinions. Shame, that anonymity gets a bad rap from what can only be viewed as a cowardly approach to communicating on this blog thread. If anonymity provided the reader with a focus on a subject without involving the messenger, then unattributed balanced material would not be unwelcomed. What we have here, as Strother Martin once made famous, “Is a failure to communicate” because only one side of the conversation provides a decorum of respectful discourse while the other can choose to be aggressive, impatient, disrespectful and down right accusatory. Totally unnecessary unless that writer does not care to affect opinion. No_More_Fake_Names.


    2. Committing crimes in our schools while working in them.

      Problem or no problem?

      If no problem, please explain.


    3. Hey fellow users!

      So Gayle, you want us all to identify ourselves.
      Why do YOU choose to be (figuratively) naked?

      Those choosing to use their real names on this blog are those with high levels of ‘trust’ in the community or are those whom feel comfortable doing so.
      Maybe some jousting with the ‘trust,’ et alia, prefer to go out clothed.

      Ah, the writer’s weapon is his pen! His shield, is anonymity.

      What if this is not a level playing field?
      What if the writers and commenters are not of the same class or strata or resource?
      Some may lack the luxury to mount a formidable defense if challenged.
      A pen name allows some the luxury of options and flexibility.

      Lack of transparency, James?
      Not entirely.
      The host can identify the users through respective IP addresses.
      But hey…all is good.

      If we were to expose our identities, how would ya’ll react?
      There might be bias in them-thar replies!

      It’s just a game.
      A big, goofy game is a small club called Saratoga.
      And this wonderful platform is the most cherished, invaluable means to exchange the ideas needed to better the game.

      If some of you wish to run around naked, be our guests ! (lol)
      Just respect that others of us prefer to be clothed & we’ll all get along just dandy.

      Thank you JK, for all that you do.

      G-d bless everyone this Passover and of course; “He Is Risen.”
      Pax Vobiscum… and Zei Gezunt to the chosen!

      “Just-In-Case”…you never know! (Big smile.)


  3. Gayle, I suggest you and any other reasonable respondent, resist commenting on those negligible voices who argue their rights to opine on this blog anonymously, using pseudonyms as hoods to hide their identities in order to communicate unbridled – with little respect for the readers. This is not acceptable behavior and not worthy of either the time or the effort. Additionally, I know of no soldier who would use his service as a badge of honor while at the same time cowardly disguising his identity in order to speak his mind. Saratoga’s politics is not “just a game”, nor is concealing one’s identity for the sole purpose of spinelessly responding to another’s honest presentation of thoughts and concerns. It’s just unattributed graffiti.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. James,

      You said; “I know of no soldier who would use his service as a badge of honor.”

      You did not read my comment thoroughly.
      I was speaking about my father’s service, not my service.

      And politics is what it is.
      George Carlin explains it all too well:

      Some of us choose a pen name to limit liability & risk.
      It’s like watching a show on an old black and white TV.
      We know it’s filmed in color but we still watch the show.

      BTW- “Leave It to Beaver” is on every morning on ME-TV (13.2 Albany).
      Knock yourself out, kiddo!

      Thank you for all the good you do,



      1. I stand corrected, but I choose not to evoke the memory of my WWII Air Force veteran father to make a point. Arguably, anonymity has its place for reasons that do not mask a writer from brazen and disrespectful discourse. Imagine, as proud that you are of your father to write of his memory, you do not respect yourself to voice your own opinion. There are no ‘deep throats’ here, only public commentary that is shared in order to bring more to the table. A respectful tone will always gain converts. And yes, the extraordinary George Carlin was an incredible wordsmith, who started out in a plaid jacket and a crew cut.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Jim. And, I’ll work to take your advice. I have been counseled before, and seem to still struggle with my tendency to attempt logic with those who are illogical.


  4. James,

    You said; “Imagine, as proud that you are of your father to write of his memory, you do not respect yourself to voice your own opinion.” –A tad INSULTING, eh?

    Time to lighten up buddy!!

    Here’s good holiday joke for you:

    Easter Friar Joke

    A bunch of friars try to raise money for the church all sorts of ways. After the bake sale fell short of expectations once again, they began selling cut flowers at a discount. This was a great success. They did this every Sunday after mass.

    Across from the church, stood Patrick’s Flower Shop. Patrick had been selling flowers successfully for quite a few years and up ’til now, got along w/the friars quite well.

    The friar’s flower sales were now taking a big bite out of Patrick’s business and he began falling behind on his rent. He tried to persuade the friars to stop selling flowers telling them that their efforts were ruining his business, but they stood fast and refused to budge. The florist was nearly bankrupt.

    He had to resort to drastic measures.
    Patrick phones his old childhood cousin Hugh. Hugh was a stout mean ol’ Irishman w/ a short temper and convincing knuckle sandwich.

    He asked his cousin Hugh to help persuade the friars to change their ways.

    After a brief meeting w/ the friars, Hugh manages without incident to persuade them to stop selling cut flowers & restart the old tried & true bake sales. Patrick the florist was very pleased.

    Moral of the story:
    Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent Florist Friars!

    Gotta get back to work,

    -JC 😉


    1. I would enjoy sharing my opinions with you or anyone, but you seem as some others to enjoy riffing back and forth endlessly providing little more than sarcasm and humor, when it suits the false face. The internet is full of that. In fact, there is another site that can barely be taken seriously for its poorly written threads and its management by someone who shelters behind a super hero moniker that is no more than the antithesis of his creation.

      I would prefer you stated your opinions in agreement or disagreement in a forum that does not include your wearing a proverbial mask, in order for those words to have greater meaning. You have a name, why not use it? It may surprise you to realize that people will have a higher opinion of your published voice more than they do of the standard blog trolls who find solace in hiding behind the camouflage of a pseudonym.

      You admire George Carlin because you identify his brand of sarcasm and glorious wit with the man. That could be you, not necessarily the wit because after all he was the master, but the respect that comes withstanding on your opinions however agreeable or disagreeable they might be for some. I would respect that.


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