School Board elections, budget votes are May 20

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Bret Boesen

School Boards in Penn Yan, Dundee and Marcus Whitman will be holding elections for board member seats on May 20 at the same time voters consider proposed budgets.

In Penn Yan, incumbents Nancy Scher, Michael Van Wormer and Rennee Thayer will be challenged by newcomer Bret Boesen in a race for three seats. The Penn Yan Parent Teachers Group will sponsor a meet the candidates night at 7 p.m. May 14 in the Penn Yan Elementary School cafeteria.


Scher, of Dresden, has been an early childhood teacher for 32 years, the majority of them in the Penn Yan School District.

In addition to the local school board, she has served on the BOCES Board of Education, the Four-County School Boards Association and the New York State School Board Association. In each of those situations, she has also served on a variety of committees.

She attended Edinboro State, Penn State and Cornell and holds a bachelor of science degree.

“Children and their education have been a passion of mine for my entire adult life. I would consider it a priviledge to be allowed to continue my work on the Penn Yan Board of Education and continue to make a positive difference in the lives of the children in our Penn Yan School District,” she writes.


Van Wormer, of Bluff Point, is the director of facilities at Finger Lakes Health.

He has been on the board of education for four years, serving on a variety of committees in addition to the community ad hoc committee for the Penn Yan School Building Project.

He attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. And Keuka College. He hold a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in management.

Van Wormer says it’s important for the district to apply zero-based budgeting to all areas and it is time to re-evaluate the cost effectiveness of line items and programs. He also feels a strong partnership between the district, board and construction manager can result in bringing the major capital project in under budget.

But he’s also concerned about the educational system on a national and state scale.

“As the only member of the board to challenge textbook selections, I will continue to emphasize that our focus should be on true education, not indoctrination of our student body,” he writes.


Thayer, a graduate of Penn Yan Academy, Keuka College, Elmira College and SUNY Oswego, holds a bachelors degree in education, masters degree in general education and is certified in administration.

She is a Special Education teacher at Dundee Central School and she has two daughters who attend Penn Yan School.

As a board member, she has served on a number of committees.

“I have served as a board member for the past three years and it has been a very fulfilling learning experience. It is my hope to continue with the position in order to maintain some continuity, especially through the building project,” she writes.


Boesen, of Penn Yan, is originally from Elmira. He is a case manager for Steuben County Community Services in Bath and holds associates, bachelor’s and masters degrees.

He has served on the board of The Once Again Shoppe.

His daughter is a ninth grade student in Penn Yan Academy

“I have a desire to serve the community and foster education,” he writes, about his reason for being interested in the board membership.

Penn Yan Voters will be asked to approve a $30,312,757 budget that includes a tax rate decrease on a levy of $15,147,368.

Other propositions include the creation of a reserve  fund for stadium improvements and a reserve fund for technology using $105,000 in tax revenue. Vote in the Penn Yan Academy gymnasium from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 20.


In Dundee, long time board member Jane Lawson has decided to not seek re-election.

But two other incumbents — Joseph Capurso, the current president, and John Fredericks, a retired high school math teacher, do plan to seek re-election to the board. They will be joined on the ballot by Carl Christensen of Dundee.

The Dundee budget totals $13.6 million and carries a tax levy of $4.7 million.

Vote in the public meeting room from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 20.


At Marcus Whitman School, three seats currently held by President Mary Evans and members James Cherness and Carleen Pierce are up for grabs.

Evans is the only incumbent seeking re-election. She’s joined on the ballot by Bill Gowan and Margaret Ball.

Nancy Scher