School board and budget elections will be held Tuesday, May 16. Review a summary of the Liverpool Central School District’s 2017-18 budget in the above infographic.
Voters will choose from five candidates for three open seats on the Liverpool Central School District Board of Education. All are full three-year terms. Here are the candidates:
I am passionate about serving our community and believe there is nothing more important than the education and welfare of our children and believe I can still contribute something to its continued success.
I am passionate about serving our community and believe there is nothing more important than the education and welfare of our children.
I am one of the more senior members of an ever-changing board. I am completing my seventh year.
My area of specialty in the law is focused on the care of children.
What I bring to the table is my ability to see all sides of a matter. I am driven to make sure the board always sees the “big picture” and that we see the effect our decisions will directly have on students and their families and the broader community.
I am a tireless advocate for students and those who have their interests at the focus of their work. I speak out, when necessary.
I have been a member of/or chaired the following committees: Policy, Contract, Special Education, Redistricting, Grade Configuration.
I have met with every administrator, been to every building in the district, including Transportation.
I have had “gifted” children and a child with an IEP. It gives you a great firsthand perspective.
Of course, finances are always a major issue; however, we face so many challenges each year:
Son of Mary Anne and Tony (retired reading/writing teacher of 36 years and retired mechanical engineer, respectively). NYS-licensed life and health insurance agent since 2014. Administrative and creative associate and now bookkeeper/business manager at DeSantis Bands & Orchestra, my family’s music contracting business (founded by my great uncle Mario DeSantis in 1947). Former Student Liaison to the Board of Education (2008-10) – including Long Range Facilities Planning Committee and Superintendent Search Committee. Currently: Board of Directors, Liverpool Dollars for Scholars. Professionally-trained classical/opera singer. Resident Cantor, Sacred Heart Church of Cicero. Former choir director, St. Daniel Church of Lyncourt. The Roman Catholic faith is an integral part of my life.
Attended: Eastman School of Music, voice/opera performance. University of Rochester, business marketing. Bel Canto Institute of Florence, Italy. Awarded by: National Foundation for Achievement in the Arts, National Classical Singer Magazine, and CNY & NYS Music Teachers Associations. Winner of the Liverpool Federal Credit Union Scholarship (2010). Proud LHS Marching Warriors Alumnus – as well as Symphonic Band, Concert Chorale, FAME, Casting Hall, Musical and Student Council.
2017 marks 20 years since my parents and I moved into our family home on Ginger Road and began our new lives as Liverpudlians. To put this in perspective: at the time, I had just completed my first month of kindergarten and my best friend was my Grandma who passed away in 2001. Needless to say, a lot has changed since we moved to Liverpool 20 years ago – but one thing has not. My love for my hometown grows deeper with every passing day.
First and foremost, this is my home. It became clear to me during my undergraduate studies that I sure loved traveling across the country, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures and communities. However, it also became clear that I was a hometown boy. Born and raised here in Central New York, my parents and I have lived in thetTown of Clay since I was born. We took full advantage of the extraordinary programs, resources, and opportunities for children, teens, and young adults. I was privileged enough to be able to fill my afternoons, evenings, and weekends with myriad activities which directly enriched my studies at Liverpool.
This is my second time running for school board. Last year, I failed to clinch a seat by a mere 146 votes. My first run was an invaluable learning experience, and I was pleased with my performance given that I was in uncharted territory. It speaks to my character and who I am as a person: I do not give up easily on anything. (It’s a common theme in my Italian/Irish family.) When I set my mind to something, I do everything in my power to use my connections, knowledge, skills, and my ability to engage people of all ages, to accomplish whatever needs to be done.
I would be remiss not to acknowledge that I have lived a life filled with opportunity – largely because I had two parents and an entire community supporting me. Therefore, I feel impelled to do my part in securing a bright future for the educational welfare of all students – of all needs and abilities. I was blessed with two extraordinarily intelligent parents, who happen to be the two hardest working people I know. To say that they constantly pushed me to “always put my best foot forward,” would be an understatement. Excellence wasn’t just demanded in our household – it was expected.
Not everybody has a built-in cheerleading team in their household. We have young people in our district who require extra attention to save from falling through the cracks of public education. I refuse to accept anything less than a 100 percent graduation rate. This is the true “No Child Left Behind,” and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be racing toward that goal.
Simply put, I am a people person. I love hearing from people, getting people’s opinions on the latest current affairs, and trying to understand why they feel the way they do. These characteristics are invaluable to the position of member of the board of education. I read multiple newspapers every day, survey every cable news channel, listen to both liberal and conservative talk radio; and I try to have about three to five non-fiction books in rotation at any given time. I do this for one reason: I constantly yearn to be more informed. I will always be as completely informed as possible to ensure that each and every decision is prudent.
The truth is: there are lots of great ideas on how to better educate our students. It’s not just about coming up with an idea. It’s about seeing it through every step of the way, until it comes to full fruition. We need more closers, we need more finishers. I was always taught to “Be A Leader, Not A Follower.” Leaders don’t lead because they are better than anyone else – they lead because they bring out the absolute best in each and every person. I hope to do just that.
But, don’t take my word for it. It is likely you may have encountered one of the 70 “Blaney for School Board” signs across the district. If one of your neighbors has graciously displayed a lawn sign, please trust their judgment. They were kind enough to plaster my name across their front lawn, so they probably strongly support me – and have probably known me for 15 to 20 years.
I will briefly outline the six major trends & issues in public education, as I see them, which directly or indirectly affect our District and our students. Then, I will briefly review my four-part action plan for moving us forward in the right direction.
We must do everything possible to keep our schools based in our neighborhoods, the backbone of the district. We must always remember that we are educating young people – not manufacturing air conditioners or maximizing profits for shareholders. This is about people.
Now, my action plan.
If I can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to call me at (315) 420-4217 or email Nicholas. Blaney@gmail.com. I would be more than happy to talk with you, and I would appreciate your vote on May 16.
My wife Sandei and I have lived in Liverpool for over 25 years. I am 62 years old and an active Democrat. We have three children, six grandchildren, one of whom, Zachary, lives with us and attends CHM.
I have always been active in the community and desire to take this step to further my involvement. I see a need for an advocate for all the students in the district to ensure the highest quality well rounded education possible is made available to them. As I have talked to various parents and students over the years, it has become apparent that there is a perception that the school district does not always address their concerns and/or is not adequately informed about the issues they believe are important. My goal is to become their means of communication they may not believe is open to them.
I believe my active involvement in may organizations over the years as a former Nate Perry PTA and Liverpool Marching Band Booster president, Optimist basketball coach, Liverpool Little League assistant coach, Chestnut Elementary PTO member and former treasurer of programs in the Arts for Children give me a unique understanding of the needs of our school community. I am not afraid to do the hard work necessary to ensure that our students are well equipped to face the challenges they are facing daily. I also bring an outsider perspective to viewing the issues and problems facing the district and perhaps find creative or different solutions and allow us to provide the best possible environment for our students. I want to make sure that every decision that the board makes has the best interests of all the students as its primary focus and goal.
Inadequate funding from the state has been and will continue to be a difficult problem. Applying political pressure to our local legislators helps some, but it is not enough. The governor must be held accountable for his lack of action in this area. Unfortunately, to the governor, well-educated students do not have the same sense of accomplishment, as does a brass plaque with his name on it at the base of a bridge or a seat on a gondola. Another large problem in my opinion is the graduation rate for our students. Finding ways to keep students engaged in the educational process is difficult, but not impossible; extracurricular activities, services for the disadvantaged and a host of other non-traditional education services can help. Changing demographics, charter schools, income shifting, aging facilities, English as a second language are some of the other pressing issues the district faces. Since additional money can help address these, real political pressure on the governor’s purse strings should and must be applied.
My name is James Michael Root and my wife is Christine. We have two adult children, Kara and Ryan, and seven grandchildren. I have lived in Liverpool since 1974. I am a retired primary (K, 1, 2) teacher that worked in the Liverpool Central School District for 39 years at Elmcrest Elementary.
I have a history of volunteer service to the community during my entire life. Having a passion for helping students reach their full potential as learners, I felt I could use my experience as a teacher to help the school board make decisions that would be in their best interest. Having already served two terms (three years) on the board, I can use my gained insight to make decisions that are both responsible and prudent.
I can use the knowledge of both our community and students to help the school board make decisions to continue to keep all our schools at the highest levels of performance. I am a good listener who is always trying to look at all the components of an issue before making a decision. The best interest of all our learners will always be the guiding beacon for all my decisions. I know that my positive relationships with the community, administration, staff and students make me both a deserving and capable candidate. I know what good teaching and learning should look like and will do all that I can to see that it continues in all our classrooms!
The major issue still facing the LCSD is a financial one. We are still having great difficulty maintaining all that we currently have due to rising costs and lack of implementing a fair and deserving Foundation Aid Formula from New York state. We are being cheated out of money due to us every year and it has to stop now! I will work very diligently with Dr. Potter, the rest of our board, the community and other districts to lobby elected state representatives to make the changes necessary to get all the revenue the is owed to us!
Kevin Van Ness, 57, wife Rebecca with four adult children and a grandson attending WFE. Liverpool resident since 1991. Employed as an administrator with the NYS Education Dept. ACCES-VR office. Education: Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL BA, 1982; Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY MPA, 1987.
Seeking re-election for a third term. I am invested in the mission of the board, which is to provide a vision for the educational growth and development of our young people. I want to provide the current board continuity moving forward as we grapple with a multitude of complex issues facing both our students and community at large.
As a member of a nine-person board, it is not a matter of the “best” candidate; rather it is who can work effectively with others of varying interests and personalities to move the collective board forward. I believe my fellow board members view me as a team player, one who brings introspection to decision-making, an ability to respectively challenge opposing viewpoints and a sense of humor to board proceedings.
There are internal and external issues and challenges facing the LCSD. Internally, I am concerned with the increasing prevalence of negative behavioral and socio-economic factors that create barriers to our teachers in effectively delivering more complex curriculum to all our students. I also strongly believe that the mantra of “college is for everybody” is a falsehood in today’s economic reality. More focus on promoting vocational trade skills for some of our young people will better serve them financially and career satisfaction wise long-term. Externally, fiscal and political concerns abound. The state’s continued resistance in “fixing” the broken foundation aid formula, during an era in which GAP elimination give-backs have crippled programmatic initiatives, will continue to severely hamper future goal achievement. Coupled with this is the shrinkage and aging out of our local commercial and property tax base which, proportionately, we as a district have relied upon more each year as a total percentage of our operating budget. Finally at the federal level, there is the bluster around promoting more charter schools and voucher systems at the expense of public school programming. We as a board need to collectively brainstorm and advocate for solutions that, over time, will afford our students and tax base effective strategies to the delivery of a first-rate public education for all.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.