The Buffalo Teachers Federation will vote tonight on whether to endorse a candidate in the 60th state Senate district race. BTF President Phil Rumore said the union will also consider endorsements in some Assembly races.

If the union decides to endorse, it has traditionally supported Democrats. Buffalo’s Parkside Community Association executive director Amber Small is the Democratic candidate seeking to replace outgoing Democratic Sen. Marc Panepinto, although Republican candidate and Eric County Clerk Chris Jacobs was once a Buffalo Public School board member.

This week, both candidates spoke out about whether community schools or neighborhood schools are right for the district. The union could consider those stances, among other things, Rumore said.

“Basically we’re looking for candidates that truly care about education and will want to improve the teaching and learning conditions,” he explained.

Perhaps more importantly, BTF will also vote on whether to make a recommendation for the state organization – NYSUT – to endorse a candidate. Rumore said the board of directors will consider making endorsements later this week.

In 2014, NYSUT endorsed Panepinto and spent significant resources to help him win. But with the seat open this year, some observers believe the union will opt to stay on the sidelines and see how the race, which could prove crucial in the fight over who controls the chamber, plays out.