Opinion: PHCS Board of Education candidate says he would bring transparency to district
Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 9:29 am

To the Editor:

My name is Jeffrey Yette and I am running for a seat on the Parishville-Hopkinton Central School Board of Education during the May 16, 2017 election.

A little over 13 years ago, my wife Joann and I, both natives of neighboring Potsdam, move to the Parishville-Hopkinton Central School after doing a lot of research on area school districts. After seeking opinions from school faculty and parents of students that we knew in the areas we were considering, the Parishville-Hopkinton area rose above them all.

We liked the favorable teacher-to-student ratios. We liked the availability of extra curricular activities. Our research showed the school ranked well in quality of education compared to other areas we were considering. So we signed the closing on our house the same day that our second child was born and moved in a few months later.

In just a short period of time, we fell in love with our little community … we had great neighbors, our kids could walk to school and the beach, the town hall is across the street, and the post office was just a few doors down. Now years later, we have three school aged children and we are completely invested in the community. Joann worked at the local post office for several years before taking a transfer to a larger office. She has been the local Girl Scout leader for the past six years, and coached little league baseball for many years running. I coached the 5th-6th grade baseball team for two years, am currently a board member of the Parishville Area Recreation Club (PARC), and together with my wife and Amy Guiney, I am coaching the current 5th-6th Softball team this year.

Last year our school was at risk of cutting all sports, cutting music and art positions down to half time, cutting teacher positions, and dropping the school musical. Our communities were kept in the dark regarding these issues, but in the final hours approaching the budget approval, with the help of community members, we were able to rally a large constituent of the public to attend a meeting who expressed their support of a budget that surpassed the tax cap. The result was a record turnout at the polls and a super majority percentage of the public approved the budget and kept these programs and staff in tact. This clearly demonstrated that when the public is kept informed of the issues at hand, they will come together and provide the support needed to keep our school resources for years to come.

If elected as a Board of Education member, I hope to provide better transparency to the community as a whole and serve as a direct conduit for questions and concerns. I believe the board of education can do a much better job of pushing info out to the communities it serves and to help constituents stay informed on issues at hand. As a community, we need to understand what capital improvements need to be made and be assured that a plan is in place to address them in a timely manner.

We need to seek more efficient and cost-effective solutions for things like bus runs, HVAC, and telecommunications. We should do everything in our powers to assure a sustainable future for our art, music, and athletic programs - as the most successful students are well rounded in these areas.

While our school continues to succeed in academics, there is always room for improvement. Our students would benefit greatly from structured study halls, peer-tutoring programs, and advanced placement course work. While we rank high on state testing, we do fall short on college preparedness due to the lack of resources. We need to tap into the vast network of the surrounding colleges and explore options such as distant-learning to give our students a leg-up as they begin their college careers.

I believe academic excellence and access to extracurricular activities, balanced with fiscal sustainability can and will be a reality here with strong leadership and new ideas. We deserve great schools, strong property values and residents who are thrilled with both. This is a beautiful area, filled with talented families. I seek to inject more transparency and common sense into our school system and ask for your support. Please vote Jeffrey Yette on May 16. The polls are open from 1-8 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Jeffrey Yette

Parishville