From left, Lake Placid School Board candidates Joan Hallett Valentine, Patricia Gallagher, Martha Stahl and Mary Dietrich at a recent candidates’ forum.
Photo by Tim Follos.
Lake Placid Lake Placid School Board candidates Mary Dietrich, Patti Gallagher, Joan Hallett Valentine, and Martha Stahl attended a candidate’s forum at Lake Placid Elementary School on May 3.
About a dozen other people, the majority of whom are teachers, joined the candidates for a wide-ranging conversation.
The teachers were wary of the reporter present, repeatedly asking to go off the record and indicating that they would prefer their comments to be unattributed.
“I like my job,” one explained.
Dietrich, Gallagher, Hallett Valentine and Stahl are all seeking one of the three available school board seats. Current board members Cathy Johnston and Jill Cardinale Seeger are not seeking re-election, and Hallett Valentine is presently serving on the board.
The school board election will be held on May 15. The vote on the school budget will be held the same day.
The teachers at the forum expressed strong disapproval of the elimination of an elementary school classroom teacher’s job, which is part of the proposed budget.
They also questioned the information the school’s administration provides to the board, saying the board needs to become more active in fact-checking data and more proactive in communicating directly with teachers and observing day-to-day school activities.
Gallagher said that it is important for the board to establish regular visits to the schools and to communicate directly with teachers. She agreed that too often the school board has been provided with incorrect or unspecific information.
“There are three seats up (for election),” Gallagher commented at one point. “No matter what, there’s going to be a significant change to the board.”
Teachers: Tech spending is off-base
The teachers also discussed their concerns about the school’s technology spending, expressing reservations about both the amount allocated and about the way that money is spent. They said money is being spent on little-used machines while teachers are being laid off.