Today, I post a candidate interview with Virginia Rivette, candidate for the school board. She is one of seven candidates running for two seats on the Whitehall School Board. Voting is Tuesday, May 17th. I mailed candidate questionnaires to all those running in this year’s election and will post their responses in the order received. Below are my questions and Ms. Rivette’s responses.
Could you please tell us about yourself and why you are running for the school board?
My name is Virginia Rivette. I have lived in Whitehall for 39 years. I have three daughters who have graduated from the Whitehall School and a grandson currently enrolled in the second grade. I live on Poultney Street with my husband George. I have served on the school board for 15 years and am seeking re-election to continue my service to the school and the district.
When you were growing up, who was someone you really admired? Why did you admire them?
The person I admired the most while growing up was my father. He was a hard working farmer/logger who raised 10 children. He was always working and never complained about his lack of money. He was a person who truly loved children and loved his life.
Name a leader on the state or national level that you think does a good job advocating to make things better for all of us? Why do you believe this?
I think the person who works the hardest to make things better for all is our former representative Chris Gibson. He is willing to listen and work hard to improve the local economy.
From the 2004-2005 school year until the 2014-2015 school year, total enrollment has declined from 885 students to 736 students. However, the property tax levy increased every one of these years. How will you be an advocate for the taxpayers of the district?
Having served on the school board for the last 15 years; I feel I have been an advocate for the taxpayers of Whitehall. Yes enrollment has decreased and yes there has been a tax increase each year; but there has also been many state mandates without reimbursement. The gap elimination is one example of how the local taxpayer makes up for the state’s lack of funding.
The area that encompasses the Whitehall School district is experiencing serious economic challenges. How would you work on the school board to address these challenges? Do you believe there is a correlation between higher spending, rising property taxes and economic decline?
I think that if the Whitehall School improves than more people will want to stay/move to the district which would increase the tax base. The school needs to improve academically to make this happen. Of course there is a correlation between higher spending; (often unavoidable ie special education, retirement costs, health insurance costs) which results in higher taxes and economic decline. We need to offer the highest affordable education to all our students.
What is your favorite book? Why do you like it?
My favorite book is Gone with the Wind; I like it because it has some historical value but mostly because it shows life struggles and how to keep moving forward.
Editors Note: I would like to thank Ms. Rivette for her answers to my questions. I will post the other candidate’s responses in the order I receive them.