PERU — Four candidates want to sit on the Peru Central School Board, with two terms open — one for five years and the other for 12 months.
Incumbents Donna LaRocque and Genie Denton are challenged by Bonnie Berry and Jill Folsom.
Here's how the candidates responded to questions about their intentions should they be elected.
How would you balance the financial needs of the taxpayers with the educational needs of the students?
LaRocque: "Balancing the financial needs of the taxpayers, and the educational needs of the students is one of the hardest parts of being a school board member. During the last 14 years on the board, Peru’s share of state aid has dropped from over 60 percent to around 51 percent. This has put a burden on the local taxpayers. How we balance that with students’ needs is first to examine our precious resources and then to look at the needs of our students. We have a commitment to graduate citizens who are ready for the 21st-century global community. The focus has to be on what the needs of the children are, within our ability to pay for these needs."
Denton: She said she would balance financial and education needs "very carefully."
The School Board's main purpose is to oversee education for the community, she noted, but it also has a responsibility to taxpayers.
Peru Central is in a unique financial position this year, having not fallen into the red, Denton continued, but care must be taken in the future to ensure the district can continue to provide quality education while avoiding spending deficits.
Berry: "I think we have to be an advocate at the government level to finance schools equally and be fiscally responsible. I think we have to be advocates at the state level because that’s where a lot of our aid comes through and if we’re not advocates for our North Country rural children, we lose out. I think sometimes people are complacent about what’s happening. ‘Oh, this was good. Peru made out this year. We have more money that we thought we were going to get,’ but we can’t stop that advocacy of saying our rural North Country has needs just like the large cities.