When voters head to the polls on May 21 to vote on each school district’s budget, they will also have the opportunity to vote for candidates running for school board.
The Milford Teachers’ Association will provide district voters with the chance to get to know the candidate running for the board of education with a meet the candidates’ night at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. The event will be held in the cafeteria and questions have been prepared by the 12th-grade social studies class.
Four candidates will vie for three seats. Board president, Susan Ward, and vice president, Paul Beisler, will be seeking re-election along with current board member Ken Stanford. William Konchar is looking to become a new face on the board.
Cooperstown will not be hosting a meet the candidates’ night because there will be nobody opposing Mary Leonard and Andrew Marietta, whose terms expire in June.
Cherry Valley- Springfield Central School has two new candidates, Barbara VanSpanje and Gregory Lowry, running for one seat. The seat was held by Corey Webster, who was voted off the board in April because of his frequent unexplained absences. He was elected in 2008 and his term was going to expire this year.
The board is required to appoint an interim member or call a special election within 90 days of the vacancy; however, with the election nearing, the consensus of the board was that they would take no steps to fill the position before then.
Board president Robert Tabor and members Kevin Lennebacker, Hilary Lusk and Jeffrey Wait voted to declare the position vacant. Kathleen Taylor voted against it. Frank McGrath was not present.
According to statistics presented by Wait, Webster had missed three consecutive meetings at least once before, had 23 absences during his five-year term and was absent or not available for full meetings 47 percent of the time.
Webster disputed Wait’s statistics.
“The mandatory board meetings are the ones you are required to attend, not the ones they keep calling every week,” he said. “I work for a living. I have a moderately successful dairy farm. I have six employees. I have a lot of responsibility.
“I made it clear to them that I could not attend every special meeting,” he continued. “I think the people who voted for me would be the first ones to understand that.”
After hearing he was voted off the board, Webster said that he was probably not going to run for reelection adding that he had become disenchanted with the board this winter over a personnel issue.
Webster said he could go about his business with a lot less stress in his life.
“But I can tell you that there are a lot of problems with this board, in my opinion,” he said.
The Cooperstown Crier reported on March 22, 2012 that a member of the community had spoken up at the board’s monthly meeting to request that Webster’s seat be declared vacant in compliance with Education Law 2109. The board did not take any action at that time. The New York law states that a BOE seat is considered vacant if a member misses three consecutive meetings without explanation.
Webster disputed that his absences were unexplained saying that he has been very clear with his fellow members in the past about his attendance issues.