PERU -- The Peru Central School Board has one vacant seat and two candidates.

Roderick Driscoll is the School Board president now, and Darcy Purick is continuing her campaign to get elected to the School Board.

Here is how they answered the following questions:

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

Driscoll: "The primary reason I want to return is we have made a great deal of progress while we faced a number of pretty daunting challenges. We have lost millions of dollars in cuts to state and federal aid. We have had rapidly expanding unfunded state and federal mandates. We have avoided massive tax rates to compensate for lost aid and cost increases.

"Another challenge is pursuing excellence for all students despite the aid cuts, and last is to ensure our facilities are safe and provide a suitable living environment for our students.

"I would like to continue to build on the good work the board and district have done, and I strongly feel, as does the rest of the board, that we represent all of the people in the district. As a parent of a fifth-grader and a taxpayer at Peru, I know firsthand how the decisions of the board affect us all. We have worked hard to find creative ways to meet the demands of everyone."

Purick: "My focus would be to continue student achievement at an affordable cost to our community. Peru has transitioned to be goal-oriented, and this helps to keep everyone focused on raising standards, and our test scores show this is working.

"We need to ensure all of our students can succeed and master the concepts being taught. Not all children learn the same way, so being flexible in meeting those different needs should be built in to guarantee all children are successful."

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

Driscoll: "I feel it is a balance between parents and students to demand a school where children do best and taxpayers who have a right to demand we use their dollars carefully. I believe we have the best of both worlds. We have an excellent school system at a reasonable cost, student achievement continues to progress, and at the same time our tax rate has been at or near the bottom for Clinton County, and it will be zero this year as far as an increase goes.

"Lastly, we have really worked hard to get input from all parts of the community to help us make good decisions and continue moving the district forward. I really enjoy the work, and I feel like we have made a lot of progress, and I would like to continue that."

Purick: "Quality education needs to be at the forefront of any decision made by a board member, but we also need to be aware of the financial burden we are asking the community to support. Many people are on a fixed income, so this necessitates being creative in our financial processing. We should look at all areas in our school budget and move monies appropriately to support quality education.

"We need to ensure when we vote on an issue we not only consider how it impacts the current budget but how we will support it in future budgets."

sbartlett@pressrepublican.com

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