May 20, 2013

Five run for Beekmantown School Board


---- — BEEKMANTOWN — Andrew Brockway, Michael Hagadorn, Kenneth Maurer Sr. and incumbents Richard LaVigne and Ed Marin are competing for three Beekmantown Central School Board seats. 

The two with the most votes will fill two five-year terms, while the candidate with the third-most votes will fill an unexpired term, from May 21, 2013, until June 30, 2015.

The Press-Republican asked the candidates what they would most like to accomplish and how they would go about reaching those goals. Here’s how they responded:

Brockway: “I think that there is a need for more transparency on the board.”

He suggested using the media, newsletters and sending out agendas far in advance so that interested parties can attend meetings.

“I would like to develop a long-term forecast of the financial outlook of the district so that we can start planning now instead of relying on mass layoffs or tax spikes. I am also in favor of reducing class sizes in order to allow teachers to spend more one-on-one time with students.”

He also favors “consolidating services where feasible and eliminating unnecessary expenses, such as adding administrative positions.”

Hagadorn: “I believe the district can be more efficient with the resources it has.”

He noted inefficiencies in teacher scheduling and bus routes, and said transportation and fuel costs could be reduced. He’d like to see natural gas extended to district buildings for more savings.

“Significant savings could be found in providing an excellent supplemental health-insurance plan for our well-deserving (over) 65 retired employees,” he added. “Let me be clear — I believe the retired employees, who are often on fixed incomes, should not suffer in any way; however, currently, there is double coverage for services with the existing plan and Medicare.”

LaVigne: “I’d like to maintain the current staffing, programming and services and stay under the tax cap, which the state has imposed.”

He said the board has been working to bring savings by maximizing bus ridership and has been looking at natural gas for the buildings.

The board, he said, is researching the possible savings of consolidating grades kindergarten through two in one building and the rest of the elementary grades in another.

“So there’s a lot of things in the pipeline that we’re doing,” he said.

Lavigne added that the district’s current contract negotiations are important in determining future expenses.

Marin: Marin said he would use his leadership and team-building experience to “advocate in the best interest of the students by listening to all stakeholders and participating in district performance improvement ... continue to foster a cooperative and effective board by maintaining respect between members and productive dialogue ... (and) implement standard business practices and accountability measures by continuing as a member of the Finance Committee and work(ing) with business staff to integrate private-sector methodology.”

In addition, Marin said he would like to improve transparency and the flow of information to the public, and “assist faculty in the pursuit of improved education by communicating with teachers for their recommendations and feedback.”

“We have to continue to work with the administration to improve dollar efficiency and reduce costs, while ensuring that we provide a quality and well-rounded education.”

Maurer: Maurer said he would work with the board to make the school “the best it can be (through) open communication with staff, administration, parents, taxpayers and political leaders.”

He would assess “the educational needs of the children and supply that data to the taxpayer for input as to what is fiscally viable in these economic times.”

Email Ashleigh

ANDREW BROCKWAY Age: 32. Education: Bachelor's degree, SUNY Potsdam; Widener University School of Law. Occupation: Attorney. Civic organizations: New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, past member and alternate executive board member of the Plattsburgh AM Rotary. Family: Engaged. MICHAEL HAGADORN Age: 44. Education: Bachelor's degree in economics; Physician Assistant Certificate; Masters license of motor and auxiliary sail vessels of 100 gross tons, U.S. Coast Guard. Occupation: Physician assistant, CVPH Medical Center Emergency Care Center. Civic organizations: Valcour Sailing Club, Adirondack Bobsled Club, United for the Kids. Family: Wife, Shannon; children, Patrick, 6, and twins, Olivia and Carly, 4. RICHARD LaVIGNE Age: 54. Education: Three years of college. Occupation: Rural letter carrier for the U.S Postal Service. Previous School Board experience: Seven years on the Beekmantown Central School Board, four years on the Champlain Valley Educational Services Board. Civic organizations: Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans. Military service: Army, seven years. Family: wife, Sue. ED MARIN Age: 45. Education: Bachelor's degree in aeronautical & astronautical engineering with a minor in Spanish literature; master's degree in aerospace engineering. Occupation: Owner of Gradients, LLC and CEO of AWR Energy, Inc. Previous School Board Experience: Four years on BCSD; current member, Champlain Valley Educational Services Board. Civic Organizations: Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute Advisory Committee, Plattsburgh Rotary and BCSD Support Staff Supervisors Contract Committee and Cafeteria Committee; chairs Finance Audit Committee; CVPH blood and plasma donor; Eagle Scout; previous member of the Learn-to-Earn program and former mentor at Cumberland Head Elementary; and previous member of BCSD Teacher Contract Committee, HS Counseling Advisory Council and Committee of Nine. Military Service: Air National Guard pilot. Family: Married with two daughters, 6 and 10; son, 8. KENNETH MAURER SR. Age: 63. Education: Associate degree in criminal justice. Occupation: Retired State Corrections sergeant. Civic Organizations: North Country Alliance Church. Military Service: Navy, six years; Army National Guard, four years. Family: Wife, Ruth; eight children.