May 19, 2013

Three candidates up for two Tupper School Board seats

By KIM SMITH DEDAM Press-Republican

---- — TUPPER LAKE — Tupper Lake Central School Board President Dan Mansfield is seeking reelection, as is incumbent Dawn Hughes, with board hopeful Patricia Anrig’s hat in the ring as well.

The two available positions are three-year terms.

The Press-Republican asked the candidates what they believe is the most pressing issue the district faces and what they would do to address it. 

Here’s what they had to say:

Hughes: “Because of the fiscal climate, the most pressing issue is keeping the budget as low as possible. I’ve served on the board two terms, and we’ve tried to keep the taxes low.

“It (budget planning) has been very upsetting this year because we do have to raise the taxes, even though we keep taxpayers in mind. But, we don’t want to cut what the school does. Being on the School Board, to me, is all about the kids and giving them the best education possible. We don’t want to face having to lay teachers off again. I would like to see us start working on the budget earlier in the year to see where we can cut costs, where we can save money.”

Mansfield: “The biggest issue is our financial situation with the reduced state aid. What I’m planning to do, as we have last year, is continue petitioning the executive branch of the (state) Education Department to reevaluate the school-aid formula and gap elimination. Then, lacking any more increases from the state, we will be using the other half of the reserve funds to keep the levy as close to the 2 percent cap as we can. The one area for possible revenue increase is in grant-writing, and we are doing that.

“We are also trying to look at ways to make the Civic Center (owned by the school) more profitable. We are also trying to not increase the lunch rates, but to make that a zero cost to the district — it currently is not. We are really trying hard not to reduce staff. I understand the purpose behind the 2 percent tax cap, but the issue the school has with it is in the fact that the state didn’t do anything for mandate relief, such as compensating for retirement funding. The district does a great job of supporting our budget. The school really appreciates that.”

Anrig: “Our budget is our biggest issue, and we need to restructure the support systems in the school with declining enrollment. I don’t see that we’re getting any more state aid, so we have to live within our means. I would focus on the non-instructional positions.

“I would want to maintain the school programs. It is a basic corporate restructure process, where you would maintain the programs, but do it more efficiently. I do want our School Board to be more open. The new policy prohibiting community members from asking questions during the public comment period of the board meetings needs to be changed.”

Email Kim Smith Dedam:

PATRICIA ANRIG Age: 58 Education: Bachelor of Arts in computer science, SUNY Oswego. Occupation: Unemployed, previously technology coordinator for Tupper Lake Central School District. Civic organizations: Member, Tupper Lake Arts Council Board of Directors. Family: Husband, Bruce; son, Christopher. DAWN HUGHES Age: 54 Education: Some college, North Country Community College; graduate, Tupper Lake High School. Occupation: Development assistant III, Sunmount. Previous School Board experience: Two terms, six years on Tupper Lake School Board. Family: Four grown sons, Martin, Christopher, Michael, Elliot. DANIEL S. MANSFIELD Age: 55 Education: High-school graduate. Occupation: Biomedical equipment supervisor. Previous School Board experience: Current board president, 10 years served on Tupper Lake School Board. Military service: Eight and a half years active, U.S. Army. Family: Wife, Jeanette; two children, William and Brittany.