To The Editor:
My name is Lorie MacKenzie, and Im running unopposed for the Massena Central School Board. I write today to introduce myself and to ask for your support at the polls on Tuesday.
I grew up in Massena, and my husband Keith and I have two sons attending school in the district. I believe in the importance of public service and believe I have relevant skills to bring to this board.
My career has been sent mainly in higher education, at St. Lawrence University, where my work as an administrator has given me direct experience with problem solving and with evidence-based decision making focused on finding the best possible balance between maintaining fiscal responsibility and maintaining diversity of programming.
This is the current challenge for our school board, a challenge made much more difficult by the ongoing financial and educational issues stemming from the New York State government.
One of my main goals as a board member at Massena Central would be to work to close the current rift between the community stakeholders and the school board, I believe we can begin to do so by showing increased transparency in our decision making: in particular, by beginning the budget exploration process earlier, by involving the community stakeholders who have made it clear they wish to be involved, and then by presenting difficult decisions early enough to gather feedback from all groups.
Without a doubt, there are difficult decisions to be made, and certainly cuts cannot be avoided, but I believe that presenting the public with the evidence upon which decisions are made, including specific program costs and outcomes, early enough to gather response, would quell the suspicion and distrust that exists on both sides.
Were all on the same side: we need to work together productively to ensure that our children, growing up in an area without much diversity, are able to receive the best and most diverse educational opportunities we can offer them in preparation for productive futures, and we need to do so in a way that also highlights fiscal responsibility.
Its a tail order, but Im more than ready to join the current board in taking on this tough work and in the mission, which Im sure they all share - trying to make a difference for our children.
Lorie R. MacKenzie