YORKTOWN, N.Y. – James Carroll Jr. has served a dozen years on the Lakeland Board of Education and says the school district has never been in better hands.
"When I first started I was concerned because the board was floundering," he said. "Now we all work together and have a common vision. Our biggest concern is people who get on the board who impact it negatively. That is not a good thing because that can lead to chaos."
Carroll, 57, has lived in the district for 25 years and works in pigment research at BASF Corp. He is one of three incumbents running for three seats on the Lakeland Central School District board. Terms are for three years.
"We always approach it kind of as a team, because while the board is a team and just because we're running as a block, nothing is guaranteed, " he said.
Carroll said the district is "very strong" financially and doing well educationally, although he conceded there is room for improvement, particularly with student test performances.
"Mainly in what we're teaching and how we're teaching with new goals established by the state," he said. "We have to bend to conform to it."
He said one of the challenges facing the board and the district is keeping the public engaged in the process, noting that an average of 3,000 voters go to the polls annually in a district with 30,000 residents.
"There's a lot of people who are happy, and since they're happy they don't worry about voting," Carroll said. "The budget this year is very low, so people would say we don't have to vote, it's a slam dunk. It's always good to make sure people come out to support it."