School board and budget elections will be held Tuesday, May 16. See the infographic above for a summary of the North Syracuse Central School District’s 2017-18 budget.
North Syracuse voters will go to the polls to choose from four candidates for three open seats. All are full three-year terms. Meet the candidates:
I have been married 22 years to my husband, Mike Kasch. We have three children: Michael Jr., Matthew and Nicolette. Michael is a freshman at Onondaga Community College. Matthew and Nicolette are eighth-graders at the North Syracuse Junior High. I am a substitute teaching assistant for the OCM Boces SKATE Program. I am 46 years old and a registered Democrat. We have lived in our home within the district for 19 years. I obtained a bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in drug and alcohol counseling from SUNY Oswego. And we are members at Northside Baptist Church.
I originally ran for office to have an opportunity to make an impact in our community. I want to continue to be the voice for our students. We have many issues facing our district today. There is an old saying: “be a part of the solution, not the problem.” I want to continue to help create solutions for our current students and future generations. Our voices can be heard the loudest when we continue to work together, with one common goal — to better educate our students. I will continue to work diligently to make sure our students and staff have what they need in the classroom to succeed. Working collaboratively with the staff and administrators to meet this goal is key. My goals continue to be focused on getting the students of this district what they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. There are many challenges that our students face today that didn’t exist a few years ago, and our staff helps navigate some of those challenges with our students. Both need the resources that we don’t currently have to give them because of budget constraints. I will work hard to ensure that we continue to fight to get the funding and those resources put into place.
Having been actively involved as a past PTO president I was in the unique position to see, up close, firsthand, what the school(s) need to help educate our students. In the last three years, serving on the school board and numerous committees, I have been able to view the same needs and solutions on a broader scale. Serving as the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) chairperson for the past five years, I have been able to facilitate a dialogue with the parents and the leadership of the district to address the needs of the NSCSD community. I am uniquely positioned to be the voice of the parents and students as the PAC chair, and also be able to disseminate the solutions, programs and vision of the NSCSD leadership. Serving as the chair and co-chair for the Legislative Committee I have helped push for the restoration of our funding. I also served two years on the Policy Committee. This experience has given me insight as to why the policies are in place, plus I was able to give my input on those policies. And serving on the Sub Budget Committee I have helped in the decision making process of our budget and restoration of co-curricular and sports this year.
The greatest issue facing our district at this time is the lack of full restoration of our Foundation Aid. This funding is necessary for everything we do in the district. Everything from jobs to class offerings, technology to co-curricular activities, and all of our sports programs are at risk from year to year because we are not getting our full aid. It would be nice to plan for the future instead of worrying year to year whether we will have the funding to even cover the basics. Our students and staff deserve better, they deserve more. It is necessary to restore what we have cut from our staff positions, i.e. teachers, social workers, counselors, school psychologists, etc. but cannot because of our lack of funding. And we cannot look at the plans to include our ninth-graders at the high school, as they were set aside because our funding was cut. Again, we cannot plan ahead when we have just enough to cover now.
The lack of support we have comes from Albany, more specifically from the governor’s office. The governor has withheld approximately $148 million from our district the last 10 years. He refuses to adhere to a court order to give us the aid we are due. We must continue to keep putting pressure on the governor. There is so much more we could do for our students and the staff, if the governor would put students first. This is why I have helped to organize our legislative forums the last three years, to call attention to this problem and call upon our legislators and governor to fully restore our funding. We as a community need to be vocal in letting the governor know where we stand on this issue. I am passionate about getting our funding restored and driven to continue to push until this happens. And if you elect me for another term, I will continue to fight for our students.
Editor’s note: Instead of responding to the questions provided, candidate Erin McDonald submitted the following statement:
I am Erin McDonald, and I am running for the North Syracuse school board. I am a resident of Clay, the eldest child of Kay and John McDonald who were both 30-year educators in the North Syracuse school district. I am a graduate of Cicero High School and SUNY Cortland with a B.A. in social sciences.
I am a retired teacher with 31 years experience from the Texas public school system, having taught history, AP history and special education at both intermediate and secondary levels. I have earned certifications in special education and an endorsement for emotional disturbance/autism spectrum disorder.
My career would not have been possible were it not for the excellent education I received in the North Syracuse Central School District. It would be my privilege to serve the community in which I grew up. Delivering a quality education to each student is at the core of my beliefs, and in doing so we strengthen the connection among classroom, school and the community.
As with most districts in New York state, issues revolve around school funding, student progress and parent involvement. My professional experiences will enable me to work with our board members and multiple stakeholders to ensure all students in our district will be able to meet academic, social, and emotional needs, ensuring a fair and equitable education as they pursue their life goals and become contributing members of our community.
If elected, I will work diligently for the students, educators and the community, in the North Syracuse Central School District, by keeping the students as our primary focus. I will listen with civility to all members of the school community to continue to ensure that every child is able to achieve their goals.
I am a lifelong resident of Cicero and a 2010 graduate of the North Syracuse Central School District. I graduated from Le Moyne College in 2014 with a degree in political science. I’m 24 and currently work for OCM BOCES as a LAN tech, as well as for Apple as a computer technician. Local school boards are nonpartisan entities. My political affiliation has no bearing on the work I do to better the education of students and respect our taxpayer dollars. I have a great sense of pride that myself and my colleagues on the school board work on a nonpartisan level.
I am running for office to continue to give back to my community. As a lifelong resident and graduate of the district, I want to provide the same opportunities for others that they had provided me as I grew up here.
I, along with everyone else on the board, bring unique experiences and knowledge bases to the table. Being a recent graduate of the district, I feel as though I have a unique connection to the current educational system. Aligning with our district mission statement to help foster 21st-century learners, I help provide an understanding of technology and college expectations that are necessary for our graduates.
Currently, the North Syracuse Central School District, along with all other districts in New York state, are continuing to fight New York for proper educational funding for public schools. Over the past 10 years, our school district has lost more than $150 million owed to us through the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. I will continue to advocate on behalf of the school district and its taxpayers to fight for the funding we deserve. We can’t continue to allow the local taxpayer to pay for what the state has promised and failed to provide.
My family has attended schools in North Syracuse for several generations, I myself am a graduate of C-NS High School. I was employed by Verizon for over 16 years and have recently taken an early retirement to return to school and pursue a career in education. My wife, who is a reading interventionist in Syracuse City School District, and I are proudly raising our six children in the North Syracuse Central School District. Three of them currently attend my childhood elementary school, KWS Bear Road Elementary. My oldest two daughters are currently at Gillette, while one is on her way next year to the junior high. Our youngest son is 18 months and currently stays home with me. They are all very active and participate in swimming programs, soccer clubs, as well as riding our horse Tucker in competition.
I am 38 years old, and have lived on Topsfield Lane for 11 years, while living on Willow Road in North Syracuse prior to moving to our current home.
I am running for NSCSD BOE to help provide the best possible education for our districts children. I have enjoyed advocating for a fair and equal education for all students in the past, and would like to continue to serve in that capacity. I originally ran for the BOE, in my previous terms, because of the pride I feel for NSCSD as well as a desire to give back to our community.
I feel as though I am fair and can objectively serve, while putting personal interests aside when necessary. In my previous terms I was faced with decisions that required me to make difficult decision, but feel that I made the best decision for the entire district based on the information that I had at the time. Having taken a year off from serving on the BOE I feel I have had an opportunity to be reflective and can serve refreshed with a deferent perspective than when I left.
Having been mentored by previous BOE members I feel I can serve with a historical knowledge of past decisions as well as serve with an open mind to make informed decisions in the best interest of all residents and students.
Funding…one of our major issues is funding. Our state has shifted the burden on funding onto our local taxpayers, all while limiting how the money needed can be raised.
I plan to continue to advocate, whenever possible for our schools, thru positive relationships with local government.
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.