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Seaford School Board Candidate Profile: Susan Ruona

Second time candidate stresses the importance of moving past contingency budget.

Seaford resident Susan Ruona is running unopposed in the 2012-13 school board election with hopes of providing a better educational atmosphere for the students of the community.

"I believe the district can do better for the students," said Ruona, who also ran for school board in 2010. "I have not always been in agreement with the decision past boards have made regarding program cuts and priorities in spending."

Ruona is running unopposed for the Seaford school board along with current trustee . The top vote-getter between Ruona and Wink will receive a full three-year seat on the board with the second place finisher filling out the remaining year of John DelGuidice's unexpired term. 

After the proposed 2011-12 budget , the Seaford School District was forced to go with , a move that Ruona feels absolutely can't be repeated in the upcoming year.

"The biggest issue facing the district is the need to get off the contingency budget," she explained. "Restoring educational programs is essential for both the good of the students and the community. Another year on a contingency budget would be devastating to both."

In Ruona's opinion, another vital issue Seaford must tackle in the next year is the negotiations with district unions.

"I hope to be a part of a board that can successfully negotiate contracts that result in some savings for the district so programs and teaching positions can be restored," Ruona said. "The 2 percent tax cap helped to keep certain spending limits in place...but it did, in my opinion, prevent programs from being restored."

The Seaford school board race and budget vote will be held this Tuesday, May 15 from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. at  and .

To read a profile on the other Seaford school board candidate, Jeanmarie Wink, click . 

Chris Wendt May 11, 2012 at 03:54 PM
The big prize in this election in Seaford is the full, 3-year term for the candidate who gets the most votes; the second-place vote getter will have a one-year term. The huge difference is that the person serving the 3-year term will definitely get to participate in the next teacher contract negotiations. Of course, if every voter considers both candidates to be "running un-opposed", then they will both get the same number of votes, and the election will end in a tie. I am not sure of the current tie-breaker. I do not recommend considering this an uncontested race. Therefore, voters should consider carefully which one of the two candidates they want to represent their interests (as taxpayers) during the next teacher contract negotiations, and then vote for that ONE candidate on Tuesday. But, you also should at least consider the possibility of the budget being defeated. As unfortunate as that would be, indeed, it could happen. Therefore, you should also consider longer range structural solutions to that possibility, and factor that into your decision as to which candidate better represents your thinking on that score. (I do not get a vote in Seaford, and I do not know either of these candidates.)
Wayne Smith May 11, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Chris - Let me take this opportunity to beat a fallen horse. The problem from the perspective of this voter is that I don't really know as much as I think I should in order to make an informed decision about either one of these two candidates. That's why the "Meet the Candidates" night should not have been cancelled. I don't mean this as a reflection on either of the candidates, but a couple of articles in The Patch or The Citizen just doesn't cut it. The issues touched upon in those articles - restoring programs, getting off contingency, etc. - are things that most people can agree to. Left unstated is much in the way of any kind of detail concerning how to accomplish those goals in a world of a 2% tax cap, burgeoning pension costs, and an economy that is unlikely to continue to generate much in the way of real income growth for taxpayers.
Chris Wendt May 11, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Certainly understood, Wayne. I think Seaford may actually have a magic bullet, meaning, selling that school. I get both sides of the Meet the Candidates cancellation.
Full-Time Mom May 12, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Please share Chris: why would Seaford cancel Meet the Candidates night? Thanks.
cfordmom May 12, 2012 at 03:19 PM
There has not been much public discussion re the two candidates, although there has been some, ie PTA meetings where they were introduced by BC and where each had a chance to speak to the very small audiences. I will say where they have BOTH been highly visible....at BOE Meetings. Mrs. Wink has been on the BOE for some time now. If one was interested in her stance on any issue, they need only to attend meetings to hear her speak and ask questions of the BOE, with the hopes she would answer. (Technically, questions should only be addressed to the BOE Pres, although any member can answer.). Having the opportunity to watch the BOE at work, whether at a regular meeting or a workshop ( and there are MANY throughout the year) gives the audience insight into the person's values and abilities. Mrs. Ruona has also attended BOE meetings for years AND ran for the BOE years ago. She speaks at the microphone at nearly every meeting. Again, not even being a member of the BOE, she has spoken enough so that a member of the audience could ascertain what values she holds dear and what abilities she might possess via her ease at speaking intelligently and logically. Her family also donated a substantial amount of money to startup a club at the HS. (This is info that was announced AT a BOE meeting and is in the Meeting Minutes on the BOE website.)
cfordmom May 12, 2012 at 03:22 PM
My point is....the information is all out there for the taking. One just has to decide if they are willing to put in the time and effort to get it, or sit at home,( while others attend almost every (or every) meeting to inform themselves) and then complain about the lack of info when it's voting time.
Wayne Smith May 12, 2012 at 03:38 PM
cfordmom - With respect I would have to disagree with you. Speaking as someone who has also been to a few BOE meetings, there's a big difference between drawing inferences based on what happens at these meetings versus explicit statements on key issues. Apart from this, it goes without saying that a lot of people don't attend BOE meetings regularly but will still be called upon to vote next Tuesday. You could argue that they should attend BOE meetings - and I would even have some sympathy for that point - but the truth is a candidate for any public office ought to be obligated to explain his or her positions. It shouldn't be up to voters to figure it out based on incidental comments or behavior.
cfordmom May 12, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Wayne, I do agree with you, and I do not think Meet the Candidates night should have been canceled. The candidates should have had (and wanted!)) the opportunity to speak in a public forum. However, with Seaford's recent history and, in my opinion, lack of transparency, we can't sit back and wait for info that may never come. We have to seek it out and question it, if we see fit. That includes issues related to the budget AND the candidates.
Wayne Smith May 12, 2012 at 04:03 PM
cfordmom - Agree with you totally - it's just that I don't think BOE meetings are appropriate venues for direct questioning of candidates, and again, none of this takes into account the fact that there's a whole lot of people who never show up at these meetings at all, but they sure will be voting next Tuesday.
Chris Wendt May 13, 2012 at 11:10 AM
@ Full-Time Mom & why cancel the event: I said I got both sides of the cancellation, but I was NOT in on the specific decision to cancel the event. The simplest reason for cancelling would be weighing the time and effort required to hold the event versus the (misleading) appearance of both candidates running "unopposed" for the same (not true) prize. The candidates may have acceded to the suggestion to cancel it, or they could even have requested the cancellation. We had a meet & greet for the three candidates contending for the one Board seat in Wantagh. I went, prepared with specific questions for each candidate. As a result of my going to this get-together, I changed my mind about for whom I had leaning to support. I then felt so strongly about what I had learned that I published a blog supporting the ultimate candidate of my choice, here: http://wantagh.patch.com/blog_posts/deciding-the-wantagh-school-board-race-ca807e91
Lorraine DeVita May 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Chris, the cost is minimal and is typically run in Seaford by the League of Womens Voters. This could have easily been sponsored by the local PTA's if they were given sufficient time to prepare. This was canceled abruptly with no reason given,save for "only two candidates for two positions" Once again unless we are given ALL the facts there will be a shadow of concern. This community is forever ASKING for transparency and ignored. When our Board and Administration place obstacles in our path when we want ALL the Facts, when they are not forthcoming in a transparent manner then that leaves me with the question we all should be asking. WHY? As both of these ladies will be on the Board next year I hope one of their goals will be for a TRANSPARENT BOARD.. insuring ALL the information is disseminated in clear concise lang. so this community can for once base their decisions on FACT rather then assumption and innuendo.Something we havent been able to do in years. It is more imperative now then ever with Teachers contracts and the Contract of the Ave School sale lurking out there. By the way what is the Staus or outcome of the contracts that were negotiated THIS year have we been told that information and what impact it has on the current budget? Anyone know?

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