Catskill school board candidates all pro-union
Apr 27, 2011 9:01 am
[caption id="attachment_11010" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Catskill school board candidates William Fiske, Karen Haas (I), Michael Maloney and Ward Osborn at the April 26 Meet the Candidates event put on by Leadership Greene in the Catskill High School library. Photo by Paul Smart."][/caption]Pro-union, pro-teacher, pro-student, and pro-program were the new talking points for all four candidates vying for three school board seats at a Catskill Central School District Meet the Candidates event at the Catskills High School Library on Tuesday evening, April 26. The live-streamed event, put on by Leadership Greene, a student initiative to promote leadership and expose students to local civics, was the region's first gathering of candidates for upcoming budget votes and board elections set for May 17. Incumbent Karen Haas said she was running on her experience of being supportive of the various Advanced Placement and extracurricular school activities she feels has allowed Catskill to escape the difficulties being faced by other neighboring school districts. William Fiske, who was a regular attendee and speaker at recent budget forums held by the current board, said he would aim future cuts at administrative and facilities budgets, and do all he could to protect the strong education base the schools presently have. Michael Maloney talked passionately about his own positive experiences seeing a child with Asperger's Syndrome through the system, and said he wanted to work for greater board and administrative transparency. Ward Osborn, a bluestone contractor with a wife who teaches in the school system, talked about wanting to support what he feels is a strong educational experience, and support education over strict taxpayer concerns. When asked about recent battles over organized labor in Wisconsin and Albany, each candidate said they supported unions, but later added that they would be open to temporary pay and/or benefit freezes, but only as a last, and truly temporary, resort to ongoing budget concerns. The evening's only point of friction came when two standing board members asked candidates how they would make decisions and where they stood with the idea of pay freezes. Attendance at the event was sparse and questions from the public few and far between. WGXC volunteer Town Recorder Philip Grant recorded the meeting, and you can click on the mp3 of the full meeting here.