Barber uncontested in upcoming school election

Barber-School Board candidateThere will be a new face on the Whitehall Board of Education.

Dresden’s Frank Barber will run an uncontested bid for a spot on the board and barring the emergence of a write-in candidate, be elected to the position when ballots are tabulated later this month.

If elected, he will replace Bruce Wescott whose five year term expires next month.

A lifelong resident of Dresden and a graduate of Whitehall High School, Barber is a senior executive at Ames Goldsmith in Glens Falls and owns and operates a business in Whitehall. He holds an associates degree in criminal justice and bachelor’s of science degree in accounting.

He also has two children who attend school in the district, which he cited as one of the reasons he chose to run.

“I decided it was time to take a more active role. I want to contribute to the school district a little more,” Barber said. “I also live in the town of Dresden and own a business in Whitehall, so I can appreciate the issue of taxes from both ends—as a parent and a property owner.

“I understand the budgetary problems they’ve had and the challenges they face. Hopefully I can help the board continue what it’s done with taxes without impacting education.”

Barber was the only candidate to submit a petition for a spot on the board, the second consecutive year that has occurred.

Jim Brooks was the only candidate to submit a petition last year despite there being three open seats. He and write-in candidate Samantha Kingsley were both elected to the board. Joyce Corcoran defeated Mark Ives in a special election last June after both finished with the same number of write-in votes on the May ballot.

“I was disappointed more people didn’t express interest,” Barber said of this year’s election. “I think the school is an important part of the community.

I’m looking forward to getting to work and learning from the rest of the board.”

This year’s election of school board members will occur on Tuesday, May 21. The public will also be given a chance to vote on the district’s 2013-14 tentative budget, which was adopted by the board last month.

The $13.7 million spending plan would increase the district’s tax levy by 2.19 percent. Even though the increase exceeds 2 percent, it complies with the state’s 2 percent tax cap because of allowable exclusions.

The budget calls for a 4 percent increase in spending, from $13,205,125 last year to $13,733,984 this year.

But the district will receive $418,000 (5.71 percent) more in state aid than it did last year. It also realized a savings from a number of unanticipated retirements and will use $300,000 from its appropriated fund balance.

A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. on May 13. Copies of the budget are available upon request at the district offices.

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