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Three incumbents seek re-election to Canton school board

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CANTON — Three seats are up for grabs this May on the nine-member Canton Central School Board of Education.

The three incumbents — Shannon D. Mattice, Victor N. Rycroft and Marianne DiMarco-Temkin — all plan to seek re-election to three-year terms.

The existing terms expire June 30 and will be filled when voters head to the polls May 15 to vote on the 2012-13 school budget and a separate $465,000 spending proposition to purchase four full-sized school buses.

Petition forms for school board candidates are available at the district office, 99 State St., and at the Canton Free Library, 8 Park St.

A minimum of 25 signatures is required and petitions must be filed by 5 p.m. today with board clerk Cynthia A. Whitford.

Mrs. Mattice said she’s a proponent of community service and she can’t think of a better place to donate her time than the school district. She has already served two terms and believes a great deal of work is ahead related to the changes in New York’s public education system.

“The testing, evaluation and reporting mandates have never been higher, the budget gaps have never been bigger and our children have never needed us more,” Mrs. Mattice said in an email. “We need to work hand in hand with our community to develop an educational plan for Canton Central during these tough economic times.”

Locally, the district needs to work on its health insurance program, she said.

At the same time, she said, Canton needs to continue to press the area’s legislators to use current census and poverty data to ensure that the wealth ratios and school classifications — high, average and low need — accurately reflect district demographics and that the state aid formula does not discriminate.

“We need to make sure our students from Canton receive an education that allows them to be competitive for college admission or employment with students from other parts of the state,” Mrs. Mattice said. “We need to see our capital project through so our infrastructure can support a regionalization or merger, should those things come to fruition in the future.”

Despite the challenges, Mrs. Mattice said she is ready and willing to continue her work on the school board.

“I believe in the future of Canton Central School. I believe in our superintendent, our faculty and staff and our board. And I believe in our community. We can weather this storm, but only if we do it together,” she said.

Ms. DiMarco-Temkin has served two terms and said she wants to continue serving the community’s children.

“There is no more important group of people than our children. In light of recent developments in Albany with regard to education funding, I know that we, as a community, have difficult decisions and a great deal of hard work ahead of us,” Ms. DiMarco-Temkin said in an email.

It’s very important that children are considered first in these decisions, she said, adding that the students will continue to be her primary focus as the board makes policies and budgets in the coming years.

“I think I have proven over the past six years that I have the understanding, willingness and the stamina to help shape these decisions working with my fellow school board members and with input from our parents, teachers, students and other members of our community,” Ms. DiMarco-Temkin said.

Mr. Rycroft, a board member for the past seven years, said he would like to see the completion of many projects he’s worked on, including the upcoming capital project that includes replacing the district’s heating system and upgrading the district’s information technology network.

He currently serves as the board’s vice president and is a member of several committees including finance, information technology and facilities.

“As with several past budgets crafted by the board, this year again brings unprecedented considerations for our educational programs and the future of our students,” Mr. Rycroft emailed. “I believe taxpayers of the district this year are keenly aware of the shortfalls in state aid support to our school along with other rural schools in the north country.”

The large amount of input from community members this year has been rewarding and helpful for the board, he said.

“This input will help me and other board members in making some of the tough decisions required when finalizing our spending plan,” Mr. Rycroft said.

He also credited School Superintendent William A. Gregory and community members for their work in advocating for the district by meeting with elected officials about inequities in state aid distribution.

“It has been rewarding to see so many of our students have a firsthand civics lesson on the power of speech and letting your feelings be known to public officials. It can and does make a difference,” Mr. Rycroft said.

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