May 15, 2014

Four seek City School Board seats

PLATTSBURGH — Four candidates are running for two five-year seats on the Plattsburgh City School Board. 

Incumbents Tracy Rotz and Fred Wachtmeister are challenged by Kenneth Baker and Walter Peter Chmura. 

The Press-Republican posed questions to each of them. 

How would you balance the fiscal concerns of taxpayers with the educational needs of students?

Baker: "In the final analysis, no balance can be struck until we confront the deadly consequences of the power the teachers union wields over budgets and contracts. Balance and reform means shifting our limited resources away from the teachers' wallets to the students. 

"The first step is to vote the teachers and family off the board. This board has failed miserably and systematically destroyed most aspects of education by focusing on union demands.

"I'm the candidate willing to listen to and reflect the will and limitations of the taxpayers. Insanity is allowing this board a second career mismanaging our tax dollars." 

Chmura: “For years, taxpayers have been abused by this BOE (Board of Education).”

The public has been denied transparency, he said, and the board has not reined in the costs of unsustainable benefits.

“The budget process is a game of ‘smoke and mirrors,’ where many dollars are stashed into line items but not used. All of this denies the students of an appropriate amount of funding for program(s).”

There should be “meaningful dialogue and study of district operations and reorganization,” followed by action, he noted.

“The board has refused to seriously respond to appropriate corrective action or (involve) community members."

Rotz: “There will always be competing interests and priorities within the electorate, and this plays out most commonly in the debate between taxes and programs. 

"The district's tax rate during my time on the board has been quite stable, and, this past year, even decreased.”

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