May 18, 2009 Ami Olson Uncategorized
I was born in Marcellus, grew up in Lafayette and moved back to Marcellus 25 years ago. I have been on the MCS school board of education for nine years (three terms). All three of my children have attended Marcellus schols. I first ran for MCS board of education when my youngest child began kindergarten and committed at that point to be active with the school as long as my children were in school. My business is located in Marcellus and I am very active with the community. My commitment to the MCS BoE has provided an opportunity to give back to a school district that has provided a great experience for my three children.
Briefly describe your involvement with the school district in the last five years.
I have been on the Marcellus BoE since 2000. In my first year we formed the MCS Facility Committee. I have been an active member of this committee as we have created and implemented five- and 10-year plans for the physical plant. We are very proud of our campus and work very diligently to maintain our history, while meeting the needs of our future leaders. This committee meets every week. We have created plans to be ready for any state or federal aid that may become available and allow us to advance with very little or no tax implications to residents. In the Marcellus community I have been involved in Marcellus youth soccer, basketball and baseball. I have been very active with donating labor, equipment and materials to the youth soccer facility and Marcellus youth playgrounds at the park and school. Prior to MCS school board involvement, I was a member of the Town of Marcellus Steering Committee.
What is your motivation for running for a position on the school board?
My motivation has always been to provide a balance between the community and the school administration. As a member of the board, it is our job to assure all concerns and conflicts are resolved in a timely fashion. While we provide the education for tomorrow’s leaders we must also assist in making tomorrow’s leaders great citizens.
With two meetings a month, the board is relatively limited in what it can accomplish. How should the board decide what is most important?
The board meets twice a month with a very detailed and organized agenda. Every question regarding the education of children is important to the BoE and our administration. We have two scheduled meetings every month but this board has been very committed to addressing all issues. If more frequent meetings are needed they would definitely be scheduled.
What are the current challenges facing the board?
Our biggest challenges will continue to be the NY State Aid formulas that are attempting to shif the tax burden to local taxpayers. This will require community support and involemtn to lobby state officials to maintain and implement equitable school aid formulas. State and federal mandates for school districts with little or no aid continue to burden the local taxpayer. (An example would be if the state were to implement full-time kindergarten.)
One of our biggest challenges is maintaining a safe facility. Substance and alcohol abuse at younger ages is a huge concern. We must work together as a school district and community to communicate and address this devastating issue.
What do you think will be the board’s biggest challenges in the next three years?
During the next three years the biggest issue will definitely be the state aid issues. Every year a school district must create a budget, not knowing what their state aid formula will be until the last minute.
We must work to update you five- and 10-year facility plans and continue to provide a safe learning environment.
If it becomes necessary to make significant budget cuts, to what extent should the community be involved in deciding where such cuts should be made?
The community should be involved in all decisions at MCS. The budget process will begin again in July as we reconcile the previous year. All community members should have input on both the town and school budgets.
I am and will continue to be very passionate about our MCS education. I believe the community shares this passion and with community involvement we can continue to maintain a common sense approach to all our important decisions.