Press-Republican

May 16, 2013

SLCS candidates share views

By KAITLYN AFFUSO
Press-Republican

---- — SARANAC LAKE — Two three-year seats are up for vote on the Saranac Lake Central School Board.

Incumbents Tracey Schrader and Clyde Baker and newcomers Shir Filler and Esther Arlan are running for election.

The Press-Republican asked each of the candidates what they would most like to accomplish if elected, their stance on fiscal concerns and what they believe is the biggest challenge facing their district.

Here are their answers:

Shir Filler: The biggest challenge, she said, is “resistance to change.

“I would really like to involve the community and faculty in a conversation about different ways to deliver education.”

When asked on how she would go about pursuing it, her main point was communication. 

“I have a lot of ideas of my own to change things, but I think it’s really important that ideas come from everyone involved, not just the board.”

Filler thinks more resources should be incorporated to help with the budget. She feels that utilizing programs such as those offered by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services can help prepare students for the modern world. 

“Why not try to share services through an organization that already exists?”

Clyde Baker:  Baker wants to get the new superintendent (Diane Fox) comfortable with the community and wants to do his part giving back.

“I grew up here, so I know the village very well. I’d like to give her help and input as she puts her feet on the ground and gets rolling.”

Baker feels funding will be the biggest challenge but said the students and their education always come first.

“We’re a business of educating kids, so that’s always the priority. I think we do a really good job with balancing the needs of the kids and the taxpayers.” 

Baker feels that, through collaboration with other local schools and voicing their concerns, many of the funding issues can be resolved.

Tracey Schrader: She believes that one board member alone cannot make a difference. She feels strongly that communication and collaboration are needed.

“I want to keep the balance between offering the programs we still have in the district and keeping (the budget) within the 2 percent (tax-levy cap).”

In order to accomplish this, “we’re going to have to look for very creative ways to educate.”

She said a “think tank” needs to stay in motion in order to be “creative with the money we do have.”

Esther Arlan: “I want to see communication between all of the various people in the community. We need to get the community involved. It’s not just a school building; it’s the whole community.

“I would like to see town boards and (the School Board) collectively look at what we can do to make our school district even more of a shining star.”

Arlan said she wants to establish library resources in rural areas where access is unavailable.

To achieve her goals, she has begun reaching back to her roots in the Rotary Club and establishing international communication. Arlan said these conversations have produced multiple ideas and have expanded her knowledge on how to go about making wise changes and coping with fiscal concerns.

“We have to advocate for education. We have to be visible.”

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SHIR FILLER

Age: 45.

Education: Bachelor of Science in earth science with minor in writing from Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Master of Arts for creative writing and literature from New York University.

Occupation: English teacher at North Country Community College.

Civic organizations: Town of Franklin Scholarship Committee; founding member of the Saranac Lake Parent Faculty Education Alliance.

Family: Husband: Bruce Young; daughter in fourth grade.

CLYDE BAKER

Age: 50.

Education: Accounting and law degree from Clarkson University.

Occupation: Partner in small business, Rice Furniture, in Saranac Lake.

Previous School Board experience: Incumbent, five years.

Civic organizations: Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee member and, as of July 1, committee treasurer; adviser for High School Winter Carnival; former member Town of Harrietstown Board for Assessment Review.

Family: Wife, Susan Rice; son, Samuel, sophomore at Quinnipiac University.

TRACEY SCHRADER

Age: 47.

Education: High-school graduate and 21 credit hours at North Country Community College.

Occupation: Owner of Schrader General Contracting Inc.

Previous School Board experience: Incumbent, five years.

Civic Organizations: Saranac Lake Parent Faculty Organization member; founding member of Petrova (School) Parents Club.

Family: Husband, Randy Schrader; son, SLCS senior Dylan Schrader.

Esther Arlan

Age: 70

Education: Temple University; associate degree in conflict resolution at University at Massachusetts.

Occupation: Retired; worked in career education in school district in Lexington, Mass.; marketing and coordination for medical technology.

Previous School Board experience: Area 6 New York State School Board Association director.

Civic Organizations: Past president of Saranac Lake Rotary Club; Rotary International literacy chair; Lake Placid Synagogue vice president; past member, Planned Parenthood Board of Directors.

Family: Husband: Lionel; three grown children; six grandchildren.