JE 5-8-2019

Jordan-Elbridge Central School District Board of Education candidate and board vice president Karen Guerrette spoke at a candidate forum and budget hearing Wednesday.

JORDAN — Jordan-Elbridge Central School District Board of Education candidates stated their cases at a candidate forum and budget hearing Wednesday.

Board vice president Karen Guerrette and Jodi May and William Childres spoke at the event. Three three-year spots are available out of the seven-member body. Board members Michael Jorolemon and Pat Starratt-Baum are not running again.

Guerrette, who has two children in the district, spoke first, saying she feels her work with the board isn't done yet.

"I think there's so much that we can offer and so much that we're doing in terms of some great long-term planning, so I just want to see that through," Guerrette said.

May went next, saying she taught at the district for 34 years before retiring.

"Now that I'm retired, I've got some time to give back and be a part of this again, the school community," she said.

Childres, who has three children in the district, was the last candidate to speak. He said he moved to the area in 2016 and is at a time in his career practicing general medicine in Auburn where he has some time to get involved.

"I'm a really big proponent of education," Childres said. "I think if you give the kids the chance to shine they can do whatever they want, so I'm hoping to be a member of the board and get our children as far as they can go."

Before the candidate event, district Superintendent Jim Froio went over the district's proposed 2019-20 budget, which he said is unchanged since it was approved by the board at an April meeting. The proposed spending amount is set to be $31,825,000, a 2.57% hike from the current year, with a 1.65% tax levy increase, below the district's 4.24% tax cap from the state.

After Froio gave his presentation, audience member De Villo Sloan expressed concerns about potential declining demographics and if the district has looked at those numbers. Froio said the district uses a program that allows it to calculate enrollment several years ahead. He said the district's school population is set to be largely level for at least five years out.

Sloan said after the event that he believes the district has done an "admirable job" of keeping the budget at responsible levels in the face of increasing costs.

On May 21, residents can vote for candidates, the budget proposition and propositions for the creation of a capital reserve fund not to exceed the cost of $3 million and a spending increase for the Jordan Bramely Library and Elbridge Free Library.

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.