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Choices for school boards in Penn Yan & Dundee

Voters in area school districts will elect new members of the board of education and consider the spending plans being presented by the respective boards. The elections will be held from noon to 8 p.m. May 15.

Penn Yan

In Penn Yan, five candidates are seeking election to four seats on the board of education. There are three full terms of three years and one unexpired term of two years to be filled. Board members Liz Warren and Loni Terpolilli are not seeking re-election. The unexpired term is for the vacancy created when Nancy Scher resigned after moving out of the school district.

The candidates are:

Renee Bloom is completing her second 3-year term on the board. She is running again because she says she wants to finish some projects the board has begun working on. During the Meet the Candidates event May 2, she said she feels the school district is doing more than ever before to help students improve their test scores. She also said the school board should not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the district. “Our job is to lead the district in strategy,” she said.

Asked to name something positive about the school district, she said the family counseling program the district offers is helping make changes and improvements.

Bloom is director of Keuka Housing Council.

Emily Dinehart is a Penn Yan Academy graduate who teaches at Hillside Children’s Center, based in Romulus. She’s seeking a seat on the board because she is interested in serving the community and being a positive role model to build student, community, and employee relationships. During the Meet the Candidate event, she praised the school district’s extended school day program. Areas she would like to help the district improve include increasing the professional development opportunities, and becoming a “trauma-informed school.”

Alicen Yonts says she wants to support progress and development for students, and to be a voice representing students, parents, teaching staff and community members, advocating for improving communications. She says while she feels there is always room for improvement, she is proud of the school’s atmosphere that pushes kids to do the best they can. Yonts owns a local salon and is the grant administrator of the Yates Community Center Recreation Complex.

Leslie Elliott is running for the board of education to support positive growth and development for students and faculty in curriculum supportive services and extracurricular activities. She owns Smartnutrition by Leslie Elliott, RDN.

Aimee Perry is running for the board of education to bridge a gap between the business of running a school district and the community.

The budget proposed by the Penn Yan Board of education calls for total spending of just over $36 million, a 2.39 percent increase. Superintendent Howard Dennis says the spending plan includes enrichment in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) and math education in the elementary school, increased learning opportunities for students in the middle school, increased physical education offerings, and increased music staffing.

The school district anticipates over $15.4 million in state aid, using $680,000 in reserves, and $400,000 in fund balance.

The amount to be raised with local property taxes totals $36 million, an increase of 2.39 percent.

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