May 18, 2013

Two vie for one seat on AVCS board

By FELICIA KRIEG Press-Republican

---- — AU SABLE VALLEY — Two candidates are vying for a seat on the AuSable Valley Central School Board.

Newcomer Charles Potthast Jr. is challenging incumbent Susan Richards.

Here are their responses to questions posed by the Press-Republican:

If elected to the School Board, what would you most like to accomplish?

Potthast: “Taxes are always a big challenge, and state testing and new core curriculum are in their infancy. The district does a good job. I want to see what I can do to help.

“It is also important to realize that the average taxpayer can only absorb so much of the financial burden. I believe that spending can be reduced and taxes held to a minimum through proper management and asset utilization.”

Richards: “I think that my main goal as a School Board member is to make sure that we continue to provide a well-rounded education for the students. We’ve had a lot of issues with state cuts and funding. It’s made it very difficult for the School Board to provide everything that we currently offer.”

Students have varying interests and passions, whether it be music, art or science, Richards said.

“There are a lot of components of school that are so important.”

How would you go about accomplishing your goal?

Potthast: “I think I have a lot to offer with my leadership experience and financial background. I would listen to the community, the teachers and the administration and try to come to a balance.

“If elected, I will ask the questions, I will bring your concerns to the board and school administration, and I will hold people accountable. I will work hard for all the people in the AuSable Valley Central School District.”

Richards: Ensuring that students will have a well-rounded education is a matter of “really staying on top of the fiscal budget each year and really analyzing what is necessary and what isn’t.

“If we have to cut a little from every area, it’s better than cutting something completely.”

Richards said that thoroughly examining the school’s budget with the other board members makes it possible to identify where cuts can be made and where money can be saved.

“There are areas where we can look at the money we are saving and put it back in the school to afford these opportunities for the kids.”

It’s a matter of analyzing every program that you have to offer. It’s a difficult task.”

It has been a challenge for the district to remain within the state tax-levy cap, Richards said, but all board members and Superintendent Paul Savage and Fiscal Budget Officer Scott Brow agree that it is imperative to stay within the allowable cap.

Her work as budget officer for the Town of Jay has given her the experience necessary to tackle the school’s budget every year, she said.

The School Board election and budget vote is set for noon to 9 p.m. Middle/High School cafeteria.

Email Felicia

CHARLES POTTHAST JR. Age: 46. Education: Bachelor's degree in finance from SUNY Albany; Westchester County Police Academy; New York State Police Academy; FBI National Academy. Occupation: Patrolman for the Lake Placid Police Department; retired New York State Police Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation lieutenant. Civic organizations: Knights of Columbus; teacher of religious instruction; coach for AuSable Valley junior varsity baseball team; plays bagpipes for Plattsburgh Police Pipe and Drum; school volunteer and chaperone. Family: Wife, Grace, two children, ages 13 and 10. SUSAN RICHARDS Age: 38. Education: Bachelor's in communications from SUNY Plattsburgh; associate degree in business from Clinton Community College; AuSable Valley High School alum. Occupation: Clerk to the Town of Jay supervisor; budget officer for the Town of Jay. Previous School Board experience: In 2008-90, won unexpired two-year term; 2010-11, won full three-year term on ASVCS Board. Civic organizations: Organization of Town of Jay events; involvement in community theater and music. Family: Husband, Stephen; two children, Sam, 12, and Sara, 7.