I understand that Jon May’s Q&A from Friday was run over by newsman John Raymond due to a technical issue (read: Leffler screwed up). In an effort to fix that, here’s Jon’s resume …
For Lockport School Board
Vote May 18th
(My name on the ballot will be my full name: Jonathan D. May)
FAQ’S (Frequently Asked Questions):
Who are you and what are your qualifications?
Lockport resident and taxpayer since 1990.
Husband and father whose daughter will enter the Lockport Schools in a few years.
Program Director of FOX 29 and WB 49 in Buffalo
Former Morning Host on WLVL radio in Lockport.
Freelance writer on www.lockport-ny.com and www.pcmastery.com.
Served on Lockport Citizens Advisory Board under Mayors Swan and Sullivan. (1999-2001)
Member of Concerned Citizens for Better Neighborhoods. (2001)
Appointed to City’s Zoning Board of Appeals by Mayor Sullivan (March 2001-October 2002)
Current member of Board of Directors for Hare and Tortoise Child Development Center.
Real-world multi-tasking experience: managing schedules, contracts, budgets and public affairs for two television stations.
Financial experience: Treasurer and business manager of the Four Seasons Players for a combined total of 9 years.
What is your personal philosophy? I believe in self-determination, personal responsibility and living within your means. I believe that a quality education is vital for our children. But, I also believe that securing that quality does NOT have to cripple the taxpayers. I am not one who believes that simply throwing money at a problem will make it go away. We teach our children by example. If we want our kids to be smart, we have to make smart decisions. That includes spending money wisely, not widely. In short, I’m a Pro-Education Fiscal Conservative. Those terms are NOT mutually exclusive.
What do you see as the single biggest problem in the Lockport Schools?
Taxes are too high and we are not getting our money’s worth.
How would you change that? I would look for the “fat” that clings desperately to every school budget and trim as much of it as humanly possible without—and this is important—taking away from the children. Without a budget available for public review (see below), it’s difficult to get too specific, but I would certainly look at administrative costs, which have been skyrocketing even as our enrollment drops. I would keep the necessary and jettison the frivolous. Furthermore, I would support smart fiscal management, which does NOT include the use of the surplus except in extreme emergencies.
What other problems do you see in our District? Our performance has been less than stellar for a number of years. It is true we have improved our district’s overall WNY ranking from 90-something to 55th, but it’s still a failing grade. Two of our schools have done well individually, but the rest are lagging far behind.
But how can you improve things if you’re looking to cut spending? That’s a classic illustration of what’s wrong with the district’s thinking. Any time anyone wants to cut anything, he or she is immediately accused of “taking away from the children”. My own child will be affected by any decision we make. Parents, taxpayers, administration and teachers ALL have to work together with the Board to do what’s best for the children. Nothing should be sacred except education.
What other factors do you feel make you a good candidate? I have no conflict of interest of any kind. There are no teachers or administrators, retired or otherwise, in my family. I am not beholden to anyone or to any special interest group. My decisions will be based solely on what I feel is best, not what I feel I owe others. I am willing and able to work well with others and to listen to their opinions. But, I expect mine to be listened to as well and I am not afraid to express it.
What other priorities do you have? Increasing the tax base. The only way to do that is to attract more residents and support new businesses and expansion. The way to do that is to make the tax rates attractive and make the school system a high quality enterprise. Let’s increase the base, not over-tax the existing base. Another priority is voter information. Many people don’t know or don’t hear about elections, budgets or polling places and that must change. I intend to make school budget details more readily available to the public. I want to see it posted on the District’s website along with general information on elections and candidates. I also support expanded voting hours.
What has been the response to your candidacy? Very positive, I’m pleased to say. People I’ve talked to think that, although there have been some changes in recent years, there is still a long way to go. They want to feel that their interests are being represented. They want to see the entire community working together as one to accomplish these goals, not making wild accusations and irresponsible comments. Cooperation and a positive working relationship with other local officials are vital to this task and I am fortunate to already have that relationship with many of them.
Lockport Mayor MIKE TUCKER
Council President JOHN LOMBARDI
School Board Trustee CLIP SMITH
I live here, I have a child here, I pay taxes here and I care.
And I can balance my checkbook.
I would appreciate your vote on May 18th