TUPPER LAKE — Two candidates are running for three-year terms on the Tupper Lake Central School District School Board in Tuesday’s election — David Dewyea, who is running for re-election, and Korey Kenniston, who is seeking a seat on the board.
Both candidates grew up in Tupper Lake schools, have kids in the district, and both said if people like their ideas and their approach, they should vote for them.
Kenniston said he has been coaching youth sports for about 10 years. During this period, he talked a lot with students and he said it helped him understand what makes them happy. It’s valuable knowledge that he said he would like to bring to the board.
After all, he says, happy kids mean happy parents.
Kenniston said he has no problem with the current board. Dewyea is a friend and he’s not showing up to replace him, Kenniston said, but he wants to be part of the process and “give back.”
He ran for the board last year but failed to secure a seat against two incumbents. This time, he said he was trying harder in his campaign.
In the last election, he said there were only 338 voters. It concerns him. It’s very low, he said. He wants to see more people involved in the school community.
The Tupper Lake community is trying to attract more residents and families, he said, and a good school district is an important part of that. When families are looking for places to live, he said parents often look to the school district first.
He said he wanted to build “Tupper’s Pride,” and believes it starts at school.
He wants to connect the school more with families in order to improve transparency and increase student performance.
Kenniston said he cared about the kids and wanted them to want to come to school. To do this, he said the school should support programs they value, such as athletics, trades programs and life skills classes. He said students get a good business education through BOCES, but he would like to see Tupper Lake offer more classes in its buildings.
He himself attended Tupper Lake Schools as a child, and he knows what he loved. He was involved in sports, the school band, theater and the National Honors Society.
Kenniston said he doesn’t take good teachers for granted. He wants to listen to them and learn what they need to be happy and successful in their work at school. They know what they need most, he says.
He said he wanted to make sure students feel safe at school, whether through an ongoing pandemic or in the perennial epidemic of school bullying.
Kenniston now has two kids in high school, and her son and daughter-in-law are TLCSD graduates.
Dewyea is running for a third term because he said the board is still “in the middle of things” and he wants to go all the way.
He said the district has been through the madness of the pandemic, and now, as things are getting back to normal, he’s ready to pick up on things postponed by the pandemic.
When he first joined the board, he said, he had no idea what a school board did, but he thought joining would be a good way to learn. Now, six years later, he’s learned a lot, but he still feels like the “junior boy” on the board.
Dewyea said being a member of the board has broadened his range of knowledge in the community and helped him realize that many people have different opinions, but they are not wrong. still.
It’s sometimes controversial, he says, but they’re all here for one purpose: to give the city’s children the best education possible.
Dewyea said serving on the board is community service. It’s not a job, but it’s a “full-time contract”. He said he reflects every day on the decisions he makes on the board.
Being a board member means being an example, he said. His actions and decisions have an impact on the district and the community. It’s a serious position for him, he said.
The district needs a lot in the coming years, he said. It is difficult for the district to find and retain teachers.
Dewyea said he listens a lot, but also speaks up to keep the wishes of the community in mind.
Dewyea said it’s the degrees that set him apart. He graduated from TLCSD but doesn’t remember his well – that was a long time ago, he said. But when he thinks of recent degrees, they are “Magic.”
Dewyea said he’s been around the world “twice” through his time in the Marine Corps, but he chose to raise his children here. He has four children, all in district schools.
Voters will also vote on whether to approve a proposed $22.7 million budget, which would raise taxes to just below the state’s tax cap. More information on the budget can be found at https://bit.ly/3wdhQG8.
Voters will also vote on a proposal to purchase two new buses. The proposal, if approved, would allow the district to borrow money for vehicles and pay off its debt over five years. The debt for these bonds is included in the budget.
Polls at the Tupper Lake Middle School Library on Chaney Avenue will be open May 17 from noon to 8 p.m.