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Heuvelton Board of Education race see three challengers

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HEUVELTON – There are two contested board of education seats in Heuvelton this year, one full five-year term and a two-year term.

The two-year term is left over from the resignation of Richard Moore’s December.

Thirty-year veteran of the board and current Vice President Dr. John P. “Jack” Zeh is running for reelection this year.

A resident of Heuvelton since 1979, Dr. Zeh, a veterinarian, had two children who grew up in the Heuvelton district.

“It did a tremendous job for them,” Dr. Zeh said. “I definitely think they got a good basic education at Heuvelton.”

“I think that right now is one of the most challenging times in education in my 30 years on the board,” he said. “We’re trying to explore a lot of different options for what’s best for children and tax payer. I’d like to see them through.”

Faced with financial pressures and possible regionalization, Dr. Zeh said, “Things can’t stay the way they are right now, it’s just not doable. I want to make sure that when changes do happen the community has as many options as possible.”

Michelle A. McGaw is also running for election to the board of education this year.

Mrs. McGaw was appointed to the board Jan. 23 in order to fill the seat left by Mr. Moore.

The mother of four, Mrs. McGaw has three children in the district and a baby who is still at home.

Mrs. McGaw could not be reached for this story.

The final candidate for the board of education this year is Darcy L. (Perry) Backus, a lifelong resident of Heuvelton.

The Center Manager at Lincare in Ogdensburg, Mrs. Backus supervises a staff of 12 and is responsible for providing respiratory care to more than 1,000 customers in the county.

“I’m responsible for the budget, cost controls, staffing decision… everything from sales and marketing all the way through,” she said, adding that she believes this responsibility has prepared her for the challenge of serving on the board.

Mrs. Backus is also planning on sending her children to Heuvelton when they’re old enough. She is expecting her second child on Monday.

“It’s nice to know that I’ll have an impact before they get there,” she said.

“I think I have a lot to give,” Mrs. Backus, a former volunteer EMT with the Heuvelton Fire Department, said. “I look forward to taking the opinions of parents and teachers and finding the compromise that works.”

Polls in Heuvelton will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Poulton Auditorium.

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