Three of the four candidates running for the Cooperstown Board of Education participated in a League of Women Voters organized forum on May 12.
Although the forum didn’t feature much in the way of fireworks, candidates did get to discuss their views on a number of issues, including the school budget, possible school consolidation, negotiations with teachers over health care co-pays and programs they’d like to see implemented.
Moderating the forum at the secondary school was Maureen Murray, voter service chair of the League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown area.
Participating were candidates Theresa Russo, Tim Hayes and Jean Schifano. Murray said that David Petri, the fourth candidate running this year, was unable to participate in or provide a written statement for the forum because he is recovering from an injury.
Russo and Schifano are both incumbents. There are two positions up for election on the board on May 20. The CCS BOE is a non-partisan body.
The candidates began by introducing themselves in opening statements. A common theme in all the candidates introductions was their praise for the school itself.
Russo, who has served on the BOE for six years, has two daughters enrolled at CCS.
“I think that we have done an excellent job in terms of the quality of our education,” said Russo, while noting that schools were changing because of things like data driven decision making and diminishing state aid.
She also praised teachers, crediting the school’s transition to the Common Core Curriculum as being smoother than many other area communities because of the teachers.
Hayes, a 1996 graduate of CCS, talked about how he and his wife, a 1997 CCS and current first-grade teacher, had boomeranged back to the area. Hayes attended Bowdoin College in Maine, where he graduated in 2000.
“This school is really a bright spot,” said Hayes, who has two girls in the elementary school.