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Waters seeks seat on Massena Central School Board

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MASSENA - A Massena woman is making another run for the Massena Central School Board of Education and says she just wants to do what’s best for the students in the district.

“I personally like to see a lot of the changes that have taken place recently. I like to see the fact that they have more programs. They’re trying to raise the graduation rate and trying to help the kids as far as bringing up the test grades,” Eva Waters said.

Ms. Waters, who has unsuccessfully run for a board seat in the past, said she could provide a balance on the board.

“I would like to run at this time because I personally think that I could put a good balance on the board here, because I’m not connected with anyone that has ties working in the school district. I don’t have a relative working there,” she said.

Ms. Waters, 50, is a full-time mother of two adult children who have gone on to college, and one daughter who is still attending school in the district. She also holds a bachelor’s degree, has taken some master’s level courses and went to business school.

She said, with state finances in their current shape, it’s getting more difficult to operate schools. But she’s willing to do what she can as a board member to ensure students are getting a quality education.

“The economy is tough. They have increased the requirements, and the state is saying we need to do more, more, more with less. The board has a tough time because they have to try to keep stepping up the standards here with less and less,” Ms. Waters said.

“You’re trying to educate the kids as best you can. You’re trying to keep as many programs as you can. You’re trying to keep as many employees and teachers as you can. It’s a very tough balance to do, all with less money. I think that’s what’s hard, keeping up with the standards and trying to keep things going as best you can with a lot less money. It’s a definite balancing act,” she said.

In Massena Central’s case, she said school officials have been successful in keeping valuable programs for students, such as the International Baccalaureate and Tech Prep programs, Alternative Education and partnerships with colleges that allow high school students to graduate with college credits under their belt.

No positions or programs were cut in the 2012-13 budget that will be presented to voters on May 15, although four positions were transferred to the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

“I think the district honestly is going in a real good direction,” Ms. Waters said.

If change is needed to accommodate budget concerns, she suggested board members and district officials could look at other avenues to continue providing a sound education.

“You have to try different things sometimes if this doesn’t work, but you have to be willing to be somewhat flexible,” she said.

Communication is also key to helping people understand why change is necessary and to seek their input.

“You have to communicate a lot better all around and listen to everybody. Input’s a good thing and should come from your employees, it should come from the board, it should come from the superintendent. It should also come from people in the community too,” Ms. Waters said.

With a couple of prior school board runs under her belt, she said the reason she’s running this year is the same reason she ran in past years.

“I’m honestly doing it because I care what’s happening. I’ve grown up in this town. I went through the Massena Central School District. I had two kids that grew up in the school district and I’ve got my third one. I honestly care how things are going. I don’t have any connections to employees or people that are in the school district,” she said.

“If I were to get on the board, I would do my damndest to try to be fair to everybody. I don’t care who it is, I would work my hardest to try to be very fair to people and I hope they would be fair to me,” she said.

Joining Ms. Waters on this year’s ballot are incumbents Gregory Fregoe and Cristen Halladay, as well as newcomers Loren Fountaine and Patrick Serguson. Voting will be held May 15 at the Massena Community Center.

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