Four candidates vie for Penn Yan School Board seats

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Four candidates are seeking election to seats on the Penn Yan School Board of Education. They are incumbents Nancy Scher, Anita Maroscher and Michael Van Wormer and newcomer Renee Bloom.

The candidates will participate in a Meet the Candidates event at the Penn Yan Elementary School on Wednesday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in the Penn Yan Elementary Cafeteria.

Terms for the board are three years.

Nancy Scher is in her 12th year as a school board member. A retired first grade teacher, she says she first ran for a position on the board so she could stay connected to her former pupils. Her last class of first graders will graduate this year. Now Scher wants the board to focus on seeing that every Penn Yan student graduates prepared to be productive members of a democratic society. “Get back to academics making sure we do all this with fiscal responsibility to all our stakeholders,” she says, adding that she wants to put all the training and experience she’s gained to work to benefit the school district. “A lot has been spent to get me up to speed. I’d like to give back,” she adds.

Michael VanWormer is in his seventh year as a school board member. He is employed at Finger Lakes Health in facilities management. VanWormer says his priorities include fiscal responsibility, asserting, “We’re trying to do the job of maintaining good educational programs with limited resources.”

He says the board and administrators need to be prepared for more challenging fiscal years ahead, and educators around the state will be addressing the facts that test scores and graduation rates are down. “We’re looking to find some kind of approach to getting an educational program that works,” he says, explaining the challenge will be to improve scores and improve curriculum, and “finding new ways to do what’s been done in the past.”

Renee Bloom, whose youngest child is a ninth grade student in the school district, has been attending school board meetings for over a year, and now she thinks she could offer the district something a little different.

“It’s going to be very difficult for the next few years,” she admits, but she thinks she can offer some business insight.

“We need to start discussions with the unions, not just about pensions and insurance. We’ve got to start paying our teachers for performance. I really believe in merit pay for teachers and administrators,” she says.

Anita Maroscher, who is in her seventh year on the school board, says the priorities remain the same, but staying on top of them gets harder and harder.

“In my opinion, it has always been quality education for our students so they are prepared for a place in the community or for their own personal career and success stories, but we’re challenged by the shrinking resources,” she says.

Maroscher is CFO of Steuben Arc, and she says that gives her a perspective on benchmarking educational costs, noting Penn Yan’s per student costs are the lowest in the four-county area. She says with the district’s history of trying to do more with less, the recent budget cuts have a bigger impact.

Commenting on the current board of eductaion, Maroscher says, “I think we’ve tried to be responsive to the community. I like our board. I think we represent a good cross section of careers and we try to find each other’s strengths.”

She says she’s looking forward to the Meet the Candidates event Wednesday evening. “It’s a time to see what concerns people,” she says.

The vote will be held Tuesday, May 17 from noon to 8 p.m. in the Middle School gymnasium.

DUNDEE

In Dundee, incumbents Dr. Joseph Capurso, currently the board president, and John Frederick are joined by newcomer James Hill in their bid for election to the three seats up for grabs.

Carl Christensen is not running again.

The vote will be held on Tuesday, May 17 from noon to 8 p.m. in the school’s Public Meeting room.