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Cato-Meridian Central School District

From the 2022 Cayuga County-area school district ballot previews series
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Polling: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, at the elementary school cafeteria at Cato-Meridian Elementary School, 2851 NY-370, Cato

Proposed budget: $23,127,972 ... + 3.0%

Estimated tax levy: +2.5%

Tax cap: Below cap, simple majority needed for approval

Special ballot propositions: 1. Proposition to purchase two 65-passenger school buses. 2. Proposition for a proposed 10-acre land purchase, allowing the school district to correct a six-year state Department of Environmental Conservation violation. District plans to build a sewer system large enough to handle all school buildings’ outflow. The proposed lot is directly behind the district's home bleachers, and the district has a $40,000 land purchase agreement with the owner. 3. Proposition to establish an additional $5 million capital reserve fund for future projects.

School board candidates (three three-year seats available):

Kathleen Bratt

Age: 67

Family: Married; Six children, ages 36-45

Residence: Meridian

Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing

Elected office and community service experience: I have been elected to the Cato-Meridian City School District Board of Education since 2003, and am a past president. I am also currently the district's representative to the BOCES Board of Education. I am a volunteer emergency medical technician with CIMVAC, the local emergency medical service, and serve as the treasurer of the organization. In the past, I was active with the Sports Boosters for 33 years, as well as volunteering at school in other capacities. When our children were younger, I was active in Little League. I am active in our church.

Top three priorities:

1. The best academic opportunities for all learners.

2. Safe updated facilities and environment for students and staff.

3. Providing the first two priorities while maintaining fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.

Why did you decide to run for school board?

I decided to run for the school board again as we have some important work that is ongoing I want to continue to be a part of, such as the Strategic Plan. We have some facilities work that will be coming up. I hope to be more involved in some committee work. As a team, the school board has a lot of work coming up and I'd like to be a part of that and keep our community involved.

Kristin Cox

Age: 47

Family: Married; four children, ages 14-23

Residence: Ira

Education: Freehold High School Medical Sciences Learning Center, 1992; Cornell University degree in animal science, 1996

Elected office and community service experience: 

Current: Cato-Meridian School Board, Odyssey of the Mind coach, Pre-K swim teacher, 4H leader. Past: Board Member of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition, President of Cayuga County Farm Bureau, Young Farmer and Rancher State Board Member, Town of Ira Comprehensive Plan Committee, Recipient of New York Farm Bureau State Young Famer Achievement Award, Rotary Exchange host parent, Girl Scout leader

Top three priorities:

1. To educate our students to succeed in the environment which is presented to them today. As a district we need to have high expectations for all our students. As a small district there are many opportunities out there for all ages of students and we need to encourage our students and teachers to take advantage of them.

2. To increase the literacy of our students is a priority of our district. The success of our students depends on it.

3. To balance the needs of the school and the community by developing a responsible budget and utilizing all grants and outside resources available. We all want our children to have an excellent education but it is important the district understands our community in the process.

Why did you decide to run for school board?

I am running for the board of education because I believe that it is important to use your skills to serve your community. My husband and I have owned and operated a dairy farm in the Town of Ira for the last 21 years. As a business owner, an employer of high school students and a mom of four I have a good financial background and a strong interest in the quality of our school system. The last three years that I have served on the school board have been filled with COVID mandates from the state and true uncertainty. Despite this we have been able to maintain and even add programs for our students. I know many of our community members were excited to hear that an Agriculture Program had returned to Cato-Meridian. Next week our first students in over 30 years will attend the State FFA Convention wearing Cato-Meridian jackets to compete and gain leadership and job skills. The week after we will send four Odyssey of the Mind Teams to the World Finals at Iowa State. I am excited for the future of our Cato-Meridian students and look forward to representing my community.

Timothy Hulbert

Age: 45

Family: Married; four children, ages 4-14

Residence: Ira

Education: Associate's degree in criminal justice from Broom Community College

Elected office and community service experience: Coach Little League sports; a member on the Cato Meridian School District Safety Committee; Cato Meridian school board member

Top three priorities:

1. School safety and making the Cato-Meridian campus as safe a facility as it can be

2. Actively pursuing state and federal grants to upgrade our schools and their facilities while being fiscally responsible

3. Community Involvement — Better integration between the community and schools, especially parent involvement

Why did you decide to run for school board?

I am running for re-election because I still believe that I bring an honest and common-sense approach to my position on the school board. I believe that a school board must be responsive and receptive to parents, staff, students, and the community at large encouraging an open dialog. I still believe that a strong public school district benefits the entire community. This is the third year that I have been on the school board and the last two and half years have been almost entirely engulfed in combating the Covid Pandemic. With the pandemic finally winding down I am excited to get back to what will help our school district grow. With a strong school district, it will encourage families to stay in our community and send their children to our school district.

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