All five were asked to tell district residents why they deserve their vote.
1. FRANK KOLBMANN
Why's a regular guy like me running for the board? I feel wanted real people should run government not professional special interests. We’ve all seen the dysfunction with board of education pros arguing against and micromanaging over the pros we have employed in our district. I further feel that the philosophy of a board member’s duties and priorities should first be to the children’s education, second to the teachers that provide that education, then to the staff and facilities to maintain that education, and last but not least be representative for and liaison to the community as a whole to cooperatively and responsibly provide that education. Over the last four years we have not seen that philosophy displayed by some of our board members. Listening to board members over the years we have heard and seen more about financial plans than educational interests. Many of the fixable problems we have now could have been solved by listening and cooperatively working with the employees of the district and the community members passionately trying to participate. Many people over the years have heard and seen my personal passion for many issues beginning with the board’s curious rejection of millions of dollars in donations and grant money to the wasteful disposal practices regarding 72 laptops in the school’s basement, and twice now (although justified in intent) the inappropriate transfer of taxpayer funds. Some are saying the only reason I am running is to get Holland a Football program. Although we have proven inarguably a football program would help our children’s education both mentally and physically, now is not the right time to push for such an effort. We cannot push for the icing on the educational cake while some board members are cutting back on the meat and potatoes. As I have done in the past with that and so many other issues I feel it is important for a board member to be open to discussion with everyone in the community and not just their personal circle of friends. I have put my personal phone number out for anyone to call me and discuss issues not just for campaign season but for the last 4 yrs or more. And every decision I make shall be prefaced with, “how will this improve our children’s education?”
2. WILLIAM THOMSON
I feel that I can make a difference in the educational system in Holland. More emphasis needs to be placed on the education of the students. I will do everything I can to encourage parental and community participation both at the school and board level.
We are in a very difficult time as a community. Board members must come up with creative solutions to deal with the current economic crisis. These solutions must be educationally and fiscally responsible. We must try to work within the finance means of our community while providing a quality education to our children.
As a board, as a community, as a district we have an obligation, not only to the students, but to ourselves, to ensure that every student is prepared to succeed in life; educationally, emotionally and physically.
3. JOSEPH LEVESQUE
I believe it is important for people to be involved in their communities. Too many people are not taking part. If I don’t, who will? With all the cuts in educational funding by New York State, our mission must be to figure out the best way to sustain our school so that we can educate our children. When elected to the school board, I will keep the taxpayers in our community better informed and create more transparency of the district’s expenses.
Life taught me the value of education. I believe a good education was vital for my success. We in Holland must ensure that our students are provided a good education. As a member of the Holland School Board, I will recommend that we conduct a systemic review of our district and create more checks and balances to promote efficiency.
4. KELLEEN KENSY
During my first term on the board, from 2008 to 2010, I voted to reduce our school taxes with a 26 percent return to the taxpayers. I voted to right size our teaching and administration staff. While reducing the tax, I helped add advanced placement classes, music equipment and industrial arts equipment. I helped stabilize and secure the future of our children and our school system with an independent curriculum audit that insures a cohesive curriculum that carries from grade to grade. I voted to commission a five-year building conditions study that will help evaluate our needs for the future. During my second term on the board, I want to ensure this school district remains the centerpiece of Holland I intend to keep the public informed of our educational and fiscal needs I will demand fiscal accountability.
5. TAINA ARMSTRONG HOFFMANN
I am interested in running for a seat on the Board of Education for many reasons. I believe in education, and that education should be the primary focus of a school district. I also believe that a member of the Board of Education should be compassionate and represent the needs and wishes of the community that elects her to the position. One should not bring an agenda to the boardroom. It is time that integrity is restored to the board and I believe that it’s time for a change here in Holland.
Children and education must come first. I am very aware of the financial situation that we are facing. I have made it a priority to attend monthly board meetings as well as committee meetings. There is no doubt that tough decisions lie ahead. I am ready and willing to make these decisions, but I will do so with the utmost compassion and sensitivity for those affected. After all, this school system is one of the richest resources that we have in the community that I call home.
There will be many bridges to cross over the next 5 years. As we move forward, it will be a board member’s responsibility to navigate the safest and most productive route for our children and our community. My ultimate wish for our school district is to thrive, not just survive.
I will bring integrity and good judgment to the Holland Board of Education. As the mother of two young boys, education and opportunity for our children is very important to me, as is this school district. I know we can do really great things with excellent leadership and board oversight.