Three people are running for two seats on the Fulton Board of Education today.
Brian Hotaling is the only current member of the board who is running for reelection. Fellow incumbent Robert Somers is stepping down.
“I got on the board to look after the interests of the students,” he said. “I never shy away when things get tough and see no reason to walk away now.”
He cites the advisory program in the high school, which provides daily contact between students and advisors, and the implementation of new academic programs as highlights of his term.
Hotaling admits it’s been “a whirlwind”, coping with the efforts to improve school test scores and deal with the loss of state aid.
He’d like another term to continue sorting out educational programs that are working from ones that are not and to keep the focus on “providing what’s best for the students, while keeping in mind what the community can support.”
“I have no agenda,” he says. “I am beholden to no one. I make decisions based on the best possible information.”
Hotaling works for the state Labor Department in Fulton helping unemployed people.
Dan Cunningham, 40, is making his first run for any elected office. He’s a special education teacher in the Oswego school district.
“I look around the district and see a lot of fat that could be trimmed,” he said. At the same time, he’s critical of some of the cuts made in the proposed budget. “The district just came off the (state’s In Need of Improvement) list and yet they’re cutting a math teacher. You’re going to be back on the list because your class sizes are going to jump.”
He’d like to make sure that the district is using or making money with the property it owns, such as the Erie St. School, which houses BOCES programs.
Cunningham would press for a report on the new advisory program at the high school, to make sure the district is seeing results from the money it is spending on the program.
“I always find more positives than negatives in this district,” Cunningham said.
He said that as he campaigned, he talked to people about the district. “Their number one thing was ‘We pay too much’. I said, ‘Tell me something good about the district’, and they didn’t know.”
“There’s a lot of teachers who don’t get recognized for what they do,” he said.
Janet Truong is seeking a second term on the board, after a period away from the Board of Education. She works part-time at Michaud Nursing Home, restarting her career after leaving a management job with another agency.
“I want to get closer to my community. Part of the way I could help would be to be back on the board,” Truong said.
She said she was an active board member during her term and recently received her Master of Boardsmanship certificate from the New York State School Boards Association. She said she served on and later chaired the audit committee and pushed hard for the district’s current construction project.
“I want to be a good representative and make sure that with my conservative roots that we don’t overspend, we don’t overtax and get the biggest bang for our buck and a quality school for our children,” she said.
“I’m hoping that if I do get back I can use my expertise to effect change,” Truong said. “I may be just one of seven people but I never underestimate the power that one person has.”