CHAMPLAIN -- Four candidates seek to fill one seat on the Northeastern Clinton Central School Board, with common concerns that include communication with the public, educational standards and district-wide unification.

Incumbent Silva Mary Marnes chose not to run again.

Samuel Blain, Paul LaValley, Lynn Grovine and Dan Letourneau were each asked the same questions by the Press-Republican.

Here are their answers:

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

Blain: "If you go to the School Board thinking that you're going to lower the tax rate and do a lot of things, you're in for a big surprise.

"You have to work within the system and do the best you can."

His plans are to strengthen the system.

"I'd like to see the east and west ends work together."

He said the community in the middle, Champlain, which lost its elementary building a few years ago, should also be included.

"I'd like to see that happen more often."

Education is also a concern of his.

"I believe very strongly in good education."

His daughters are NCCS graduates and have gone on to pursue careers.

"The most important thing we do is educate our young people, and that's what I'll do."

Grovine: "The main thing that I'd like to try to work on is tuning in the district.

"Communication needs to be the start. We need to act as one, not three separate towns."

She feels there is an information gap between the public and the School Board.

"I'd like to stand in that gap, to be a liaison to the public and the school."

LaValley: "I'm going to fight for fairness (in education)."

He wants to make sure that no matter the level of education, everyone is taught by the same standards.

"We need to help the students that need the help and not just take the rest and show them because they make us look good."

Letourneau: "I think the board is facing a lot of big challenges."

The district needs to choose a new superintendent and work to relieve the tax burden, he said.

"I'd like people to see how their money is being spent."

Further, communication is key when the board needs to make a decision. Letourneau cited a recent issue where he felt residents were informed of a board decision after the fact.

"I'd like to see the board put it out to the public first and use that as basis."

As parents are concerned with the standard of education that their children receive, how will you balance that with fiscal concerns?

Blain: "Education of young people is fundamentally flawed."

He said financial allowances are not comparable to the requirements of the state. It's a longtime goal to see changes in Albany, but in the meantime he'd like to do what he can locally.

"Stable taxes is a very difficult job, and I believe it's not a matter of can it be done, but it must be done."

Though he said the School District did a fair job this year, he would like to look at spending, including salaries, to see if that is an issue.

Grovine: "I think we have to start to have the best education within the fiscal means that we have."

She also commented that many residents aren't aware of the reasons for spending or the budgets aren't explained well enough.

Noting the purchase of new buses, she said, "We're reimbursed for that."

It comes back to communication with the public.

"I want them to be informed. I don't mind being that person."

LaValley: "We're the highest school tax, and we've got to be comparable with the other districts for what they offer."

Letourneau: "I think they go hand in hand.

"We are in our second year when our children have been listed on the children needing help on No Child Left Behind."

He also wants to pool ideas from the public.

"That's why I'm here. People have said to me, Look, I think you can carry our voices. Use our ideas ...'"

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