Opinion: schools need larger candidate pool for school board, says Massena resident
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 6:53 am

To the Editor:

The Massena Central School Board of Education will be looking to fill at least four and possibly five positions during the May 16 school board election and budget vote.

Over the last three years that I have been a board trustee, we have had to use board appointments to fill short-term vacancies three times. Currently, the board consists of seven elected members, while two trustees have been appointed to fill unexpired terms of elected members who have had to step down for various reasons.

My reason for bringing this issue up is that in the last several years there has not been a large pool of candidates to choose from at school board election time. Last year, there were three vacancies on the board and only three candidates stepped forward. The year I ran for the board, there were two positions available, only three candidates, and no press interviews of the candidates.

In order for us as a community to provide the best education possible for our children, while at the same time having as many constituencies and points of view as possible represented at the table, we must have at least enough candidates willing to serve as there are vacancies, and ideally enough to have a truly contested school board election.

If you have a few hours a month that you can devote to required board trustee training (must be completed in year one), some basic preparation and material review prior to meetings, and have a desire to serve the community and an interest in the educational process, and if you live within the Massena Central School District, I encourage you to pick up a nominating petition and gather signatures to become a candidate. For those of you outside the Massena district, who may be reading this, please consider running for the Board of Education in the district in which you live.

Back to Massena, there are many issues to be considered in the next several years, including a possible district consolidation, a capital project, and of course, figuring out how to provide the resources needed to educate our students year-to-year with ever more limited financial resources. I feel we have a great team of administrators and the best group of education professionals in the region working on behalf of these and many other goals.

But we also need concerned, open and team-minded citizens to play their part as board trustees. The first step in that process is throwing your hat in the ring and being willing to serve. Petitions will be available from the District Clerk, Candace Prairie, starting April 3.

Thank you for considering service to your local school district as a trustee.

Paul Haggett