LP Quinn Elementary School.
Four people are running for two positions on the Tupper Lake Central School Board this year.
Jane Whitmore will be seeking re-election for her three-year seat, and School Board President Mike Dechene will be leaving the board. The newly elected person will fill his two-year unexpired term. The three other candidates are Patricia Anrig, Paul Ellis and Fred LaMere Jr. Voting will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 at the middle/high school.
We asked each candidate a set of questions. Here are their answers.
Why are you running for school board? I’d like to see some changes, better communication between the School Board and the community. I’d like to see more project planning and follow up.
What experiences do you bring to the board? I was an employee of the school district for six years. I was the technology coordinator until a couple of years ago when they outsourced it to BOCES. My background is in computer technology. With project management, I was a project manager in an engineering firm. My mom was teacher at Fayetteville-Manlius for 20 years, so we have a background in education.
Key issues for the school district? I think one of the key issues is making sure that we’re getting the most out of the resources that we have. We’re not a rich school district, so we really need to make sure the money we spend is well spent. We’re one of the schools that got a slight increase in state aid instead of a decrease this year, but we’ve had big cuts, as everybody else has, and it just makes it more evident of the importance of spending wisely.
Final comments: One of our best assets and resources is the community, and the ability to freely communicate with the School Board and the district administration is a key point on being able to use that resource.
Why are you running for school board? Because of my background as a former school business official. I also taught for three years. I feel I have the qualifications that could help the school district over the next several years because I anticipate that we’re going to have some continued financial difficulties across the country and I feel that my background and expertise can help the school district move forward.
What experiences do you bring to the board? I worked for the school district in Tupper from 1991 to 1998 as the school business official and had an active role in developing the budget and developing the tax rates and compiling departmental budgets. I’m very aware and knowledgeable with how budgets work.
Key issues for the school district? I just think the poor economy is going to continue to mean less state aid which, in turn, means tighter and tighter budgets going forward.
Final comments: Education is a very important part of anybody’s life. Schools are an asset to the community. And that has to be balanced against the needs of the taxpayers.
Fred LaMere Jr.
Why are you running for school board? I started to think about it three years ago when I met with the superintendent about Tupper Lake being in violation of Title 9. And up to this point, nothing’s changed. I didn’t agree with the superintendent/principal position … And I don’t believe in the 17 percent raise they gave him. This community is not a rich community and cannot afford that.
What experiences do you bring to the board? I was on the board for five years before and with negotiations and stuff like that. I guess common sense. I just don’t know where this board is coming from. They say they want to bring these administrators up to what the other areas are making. You can’t compare us to the other areas because we don’t have that kind of a tax base.
Key issues for the school district? They’ve doubled up on a lot of the teachers. Instead of teaching one grade, now they’re teaching two because they had to lay off so many before.
Final comments: I’ve lived here in Tupper Lake all my life, and most people know me.
Why are you running for school board? After the first year of a three-year term, you kind of have it figured out and know which direction you’re going. I have two young children in the district. I am a huge advocate for children in our community, and I’m not only involved in school board, but I’m also involved in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting … I’m involved with the parent-teachers group at the elementary school level, the Wellness Committee at the middle/high school. And I just think that it’s so important to pour time an energy into our youth.
What experiences do you bring to the board? I taught at Paul Smith’s (College) years ago in their restaurant management program. And day-to-day life experiences. It’s all about the kids.
Key issues for the school district? Albany. State budgets. Tupper Lake Central School system took a big hit two years ago; we had a lot of layoffs. And we’re kind of in a recovery mode, even though the economy still hasn’t come back. We as a board this year were unified in directing our superintendent to see if we could restore some of those positions that were lost … and with some creative pencil pushing, our superintendent and our business manager came up with some nice solutions and hopefully the taxpayers recognize that. We’ve restored some positions.
Final comments: I’m a taxpayer, too. I live on the lake. I pay big taxes. What I pay in taxes I couldn’t send my kids to a private school for. What we get for our tax dollar is insurmountable. It’s a wonderful thing, and it goes to the kids.