Niagara Gazette — Citing some of the decisions made recently by both former Niagara-Wheatfield school boards and many politicians in Albany, Town of Niagara resident Darren M. Sneed said he’s looking to be the needed change.
He announced his candidacy for the district’s oversight board, saying the choices and mandates have the district in a position where it may no longer be able to improve upon or sustain the quality values that area residents relocated or stayed to receive.
Sneed said the current fiscal position and his fears that cutting the quality programs the district’s youth sorely need may put both children and residents in a position where the students may lose their competitive edge for the jobs of the future.
The most imminent problem is the state not ending the Gap Elimination Adjustment that has unfairly hamstrung not just Niagara-Wheatfield but districts across the state into not being able to adequately fund quality education, he said.
“We must be aggressive in encouraging our state legislature and governor to restore full funding to our education systems if ever they want to improve the economy of the state,” he said. “It is not enough to entice new employers into the state if, once they get here, they don’t have a top-notched workforce waiting to make them successful.”
Secondly, Sneed said he’d like to see the board working closer together in a coordinated fashion with the superintendent to solve the local level problems as best possible.
As a war veteran with two children currently serving, he credits the Army with helping him to develop strong leadership skills that he’ll employ up and down the district’s command chain, including the top of the list where parents and taxpayers demand attention.
Sneed’s also setting his sights on student performance with his decision. Not only must the district compete nationally and statewide to produce top notch students, he said, but it must also battle locally to improve ratings and compare more favorably with neighbor districts in western New York and especially Niagara County.