Two vie for one school board seat in Tupper Lake
Election, budget vote on Tuesday
TUPPER LAKE — There are two candidates running for one three-year term on the Tupper Lake Central School District board of education in Tuesday’s election — David Dewyea, who is running for reelection, and Korey Kenniston, who is seeking a seat on the board.
Both candidates grew up in Tupper Lake schools, have children in the district, and both said if people like their ideas and approach, they should vote for them.
Kenniston said he’s coached youth sports for around 10 years. In that time he’s talked a lot with students and he said it had helped him understand what makes them happy. That’s valuable knowledge he said he’d like to bring to the board.
After all, he said, happy kids means happy parents.
Kenniston said he has no issues with the current board. Dewyea is a friend and he’s not running 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 fell short of earning a seat against two incumbents. This time, he said he’s making more effort in his campaign.
In the last election, he said there were only 338 voters. That 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 draw in more residents and families, he said, and a good school district is an important part of making that happen. When families are researching places to live, he said parents often look at the school district first.
He said he wants to build “Tupper pride,” and believes that starts in the school.
He wants to connect the school to families more to improve transparency and increase student performance.
Kenniston said he cares about the kids and wants to see them want to come to school. To do that, he said the school should support programs they enjoy, like athletics, trades programs and life skills courses. He said students get good trade training through BOCES, but he’d like to see Tupper Lake offer some more classes in its buildings.
He went went through Tupper Lake schools as a kid himself, and he knows what he enjoyed. He was involved in sports, the school band, theater and National Honors Society.
Kenniston said he does not take good teachers for granted. He wants to listen to them and learn what they need to also be happy and successful in their work at the school. They know what they need best, he said.
He said he wants to make sure students feel safe at school, whether that is through an ongoing pandemic or in the perpetual epidemic of school bullying.
Kenniston has two children in the high school now, and his son and stepdaughter graduated from TLCSD.
Dewyea is running for a third term because he said the board is still “in the middle of stuff” and he wants to see it through.
He said the district’s been through the craziness of the pandemic, and now, as things are getting back to normal, he’s ready to pick up things put off 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 still feels like the “junior guy” on the board.
Dewyea said being on the board has widened the range of who he knows in the community and helped him realize many people have different opinions, but they’re not always wrong.
It’s sometimes contentious, he said, but they’re all there for one goal — giving the town’s kids the best education they can.
Dewyea said being on the board is community service. It’s not a job, but its a “full-time deal.” He said he thinks about the decisions he makes on the board every day.
Being on the board means being an example, he said. His actions and decisions reflect on the district and community. It’s a serious position to him, he said.
The district needs a lot in the upcoming years, he said. It is hard for the district to find and retain teachers.
Dewyea said he does a lot of listening, but also speaks up to keep the community’s desires in mind.
Dewyea said it’s the graduations that stand out to him. He graduated from TLCSD but doesn’t remember his well — that was a long time ago, he said. But when he thinks about recent graduations, they’re “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 kids, all in the district’s schools.
Voters will also vote on whether to approve a proposed $22.7 million budget, which would raise taxes to just below the state tax cap. More information on the budget can be found at https://bit.ly/3wdhQG8.
Voters will also vote on a proposition for purchasing two new buses. The proposition, if approved, would allow the district to borrow money for the 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-High School Library on Chaney Avenue will be open on May 17 from noon to 8 p.m.