Area school district elections are set for May 19

Gwen Chamberlain The Chronicle-Express
Penn Yan Central School Board of Education incumbents Elizabeth Warren and Loni Terpollili (standing left and right) are being challenged by a newcomer, Pam Whitford (seated left) and two former board members, Renee Bloom (standing center) and Bonnie Barkley (seated right).

Five women are seeking three seats that are available on the Penn Yan School Board of Education in the May 19 election.

School board terms are for three years.

Incumbents Elizabeth Warren and Loni Terpollili are being challenged by a newcomer, Pam Whitford, and two former board members —Renee Bloom and Bonnie Barkley. Barkley has also been an employee of the school district.

The five faced a small audience of mostly school officials and employees at last week’s Meet the Candidates event, where they introduced themselves and answered a few questions submitted by audience members.

Bonnie Barkley says she wants to build a stronger relationship between the school district and the community it serves. “I am seeking a position on the board because I believe that all BOE members need to work well together to achieve all common goals.”

She and her husband Dan, both graduates of Penn Yan, have two sons. Ryan, who graduated from PYA in 2008, earned a Civil Engineering degree at Clarkson in 2012. Kyle, who graduated from PYA in 2009, earned a degree in Business Economics at SUNY Cortland in 2013.

She is a volunteer with several local organizations, such as YCRR, SUNY Brockport Special Olympics, Seneca Lake Duck Hunters Club, Little League, and Women’s Softball.

Renee Bloom wants to return to the board after being defeated in last year’s election. Bloom, who is the executive director of Keuka Housing Council, says through the many initiatives she’s been involved in she has learned the solution to ending poverty is through education. She says her former experience on the board is valuable, and she has no agendas.

Loni Terpolilli, an occupational therapist at Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, has served on the board for two terms. One of her sons graduated from Penn Yan Academy in 2011, and her second son is a senior. She has previously served on the Principal’s Advisory Board for St. Michael School, and on the Little League Board.

Elizabeth Warren has served on the board of education for nine years. During that time, she has worked with three superintendents, two interims, and three business officials. “Throughout all the changes, my goal has always remained the same: to ensure the highest quality education for our children, ensuring that they are college and career ready, while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of Penn Yan.”

She has two sons at Penn Yan Academy—a sophomore and a senior. Her older five children are all college graduates.

Pamela Whitford a graduate of Keuka College and an 18-year employee of the Yates County Sheriff’s Department, says she has the time to spend on school issues. She says she has always been interested in educational issues.

Each of the candidates said their focus as board members would be to make sure the district is preparing students for college and careers. Bloom said she would also work to strengthen links with community non-profit organizations.

When asked about re-instating jobs that had been eliminated over the past few years, Warren and Terpolilli said they felt the changes that had been made were correct. “We needed to right-size,” said Terpolilli.

Barkley and Whitford said they did not support the elimination of a staff person in the Academy computer lab. Barkley said she felt none of the programs should have been eliminated. “To take the computer lab away was wrong,” she said.

Bloom and Terpolilli said technology has moved beyond the computer lab.

“The computer lab is a thing of the past. Computers should be in every kid’s hands at this point. They need technology in their hands every day, We have the correct number of staff for the students we have now.” said Terpolilli.

The election and vote on the proposed budget will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 19 in the Penn Yan Academy gymnasium.

In addition to the board member elections, Penn Yan voters will consider the proposed 2015–16 school budget. The proposed spending plan calls for $33.6 million in total spending and a $17.5 million total property tax levy, an increase of 1.42 percent.

Voters will also consider a proposition to purchase two school buses and two 7-passenger Dodge Grand Caravan vehicles.

Dundee

Dundee voters will elect two new members of the board of education. They will choose from three candidates: Wendy Gibson, Andrew Simmons, and Nickolas Source.

The two top vote getters will fill seats being vacated by Matthew Camacho and John Frederick.

The budget in Dundee calls for total spending of $17.3 million, up 4.7 percent, and a tax levy increase of 3.9 percent to just over $5 million, an increase of $188,343.

Passage of the budget will require the support of a 60 percent “supermajority” of voters due to the state’s tax levy cap.

Marcus Whitman

At Marcus Whitman, all three incumbents—Sheila Brown, Cindy Hall and Sue Campbell—are running unopposed.