Published Date Written by Gail OberGILMANTON — With the retirement of long time School Board members Frank Weeks and Ella Jo Regan, towns people got to see a new slate of prospects at the candidates night forum Wednesday night.
Two people, incumbent Malcolm Macleod and Krystny Fischev, are vying for the two-year spot.
MacLeod has been serving on the board for a few months agreeing to fill a vacancy that occurred earlier in the year.
"My goal is to increase communications," he said, adding that he would like to put out a newsletter to help both the taxpayers and the parents get a better understanding of how the district works and the decisions make by the board.
He said he has four children and know what it's like to have to balance a budget and make financial decisions.
As to what seemed to be the question of the evening, which was whether or not the candidates supported the teaching one-half hour of Spanish to elementary students weekly, he said he supports the program that exposes children to a second language early in life.
Fischev said she supported exposing young children to a second language early as well. She said she has lived abroad, is married to a Russian and had to learn Russian as an adult.
She also said one of her goals would be to get textbooks for younger students to take home so their parents can help them study.
"Not everybody has access to a computer, or iPods or electronics," she said, adding she believes in the written word and supports text books over digital information distribution.
Robert Carpenter is one of three candidates seeking the two three-year seats on the board. When asked what skills he brings to the board, he said he had been a budget analyst for both the federal and state governments.
He said his goal was to ensure Gilmanton students were as prepared as they could be for high school.
As to Spanish, he agreed exposing children to Spanish at a young age helps "broaden their minds" and helps them understand that other languages are important in an ever-growing global world.
Adam Mini said he has been both public and private schools. He is a graduate of Laconia Christian Academy.
He said he wants to balance financial issues against education issues and help the board identify what is a need and what is a desire.
He said some exposure to a different language at young age is good but he likes the idea of more exposure at the middle school level.
Sally Sykes has lived in town for 23 years and her husband is the school district facilities manager.
When asked she said she didn't think she would have any conflict of interest issues regarding her husband's job and said if a topic arose that she and other members of the board were uncomfortable with her participation she would recuse herself.
As to Spanish, Sykes took a slightly different tack and said she would like to see children in kindergarten through second grade do something different with that half hour a month but would like to see more intensive Spanish beginning in third grade.
"Spanish in America is the next language other than English," she said, adding she supports children being bi-lingual and only wished their small district could offer more languages to its students.