Trustee, bus purchase on tap for Lake Shore School District residents
On Tuesday, May 15, voters will have the chance to choose who represents them on the Lake Shore School Board as they decide between three candidates running for two vacant seats, both for three year terms.
Of the three candidates, two are incumbents, Richard Vogan, who has served on the board for the past nine years, and Jennifer Wackowski, who has logged six years of service. The other candidate is newcomer Kenneth West. A fourth candidate, David Lopez withdrew his name from the ballot Thursday, May 10.
Vogan has served the Lake Shore School Board for the past nine years, during which time he served on the Safety, GPA Policy, Audit and Technology Committees, and held the offices of vice president and president.
“Schools are the foundation of the community,” Vogan said. “Help us ensure the future of our children and our community by ensuring the success of our children. In my experience the schools in New York State are experiencing an extreme event in their funding, and we, the taxpayers, are approaching an extreme event. While the public might be aware of the symptoms, being higher taxes, they might be really unaware of the cause. So what has caused our taxes to rise? In my opinion, schools are severely unfunded by the state.”
“The schools that need the funding the most are being underfunded by the State. How do you think we can make up the difference? All we can do is cut staff, cut programs and use reserve funds because we are nearly out of other options. What can we do about it? We have to direct our anger to Albany, we have to talk to legislators.”
Wackowski, mother of three, has served on the school board for the past six years.
“I wish to continue as a member of our school board because I am tremendously proud of our district,” Wackowski said. “Our residents bear the burden of the school taxes in our community. We need to attract business to the area, we need to attract families with children to the community, and how are we going to do that if we have to cut vital programs?”
“Being a school board member is huge commitment. It is so much more than attending a couple of meetings a month. I personally serve on many of our subcommittees and spend many hours a month reading to prepare for the many meetings I attend. I believe that there are two things that are critical to anyone seeking to become a school board member. First is an understanding of the commitment you are going to make. It’s not just the time commitment; it’s the responsibility that comes with the position. As board members we are elected to represent every single member of our community. I feel in the past six years as a board member I have done that and will continue to do that if I am reelected for another term.”
West is a veteran, a volunteer fireman, and a parent as well as an active PTG member. West is also a lifelong resident of Derby.
“My vision for the school board is to ensure that it oversees the workings of the superintendant while maintaining a collaborative relationship,” West said. “I’m not a politician, I’m an extremely active and concerned parent, I have a 9 and 7 year old. I strongly believe that our schools have not reached their potential. When the Board works together, the children are better equipped to succeed. If given the opportunity,”
“Last year, less than six percent of the Lake Shore District voted in the general election, and two months ago less than three percent of people voted in the bus referendum. While these numbers represent a disconnect with the voters in general, I also believe it is because of the practice of this district has of putting up to vote the same referendum time and time again until the desired result is reached. This practice should be illegal. I believe that for our children to lead a successful and fruitful life, they need to graduate from a well-rounded and highly qualified educational system.”
Also on Tuesday, voters will have to decide on whether to approve a nearly $52.7 million budget.
District voters – who did not pass a referendum to allow for the purchase of buses in May – will decide also whether to pass a referendum to purchase five, full-size 71-passenger school buses, one 30-passenger school bus, two 24-passenger wheel chair accessible school buses, one Ford F-350 Plow Truck, and one Ford F-350 Service Truck.
The voting booths will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Lake Shore Senior High School on Tuesday, May 15.