Prof. David R. Lee, applied economics and management, announced his candidacy for the Ithaca City School Board on Monday.
A resident of the Town of Dryden, Lee has lived in Tompkins County for 22 years. He is the father of two Ithaca High School students and has participated in Ithaca city school initiatives for nearly a decade. Specifically, he served on the Caroline Elementary School and the Ithaca High School Site-Based Decision Making Councils, and considers his commitment to public education his primary reason for pursuing a school board position.
“I have been involved as a volunteer for a number of years and had been thinking about doing this for a while,” he said. “A commitment to public education is very important. For me, [that commitment] means running for the board. It is an important task and one that I’d like to take.”
Lee highlighted equity and budget issues as the school board’s priorities, saying that these areas would be his priorities if elected. Ithaca schools are currently developing methods that integrate “No Child Left Behind” policies into their systems.
“There are different initiatives to make sure that all children benefit from [this] education system,” he said.
According to Lee, teacher training plays a fundamental role in improving the quality of public education such that “No Child Left Behind” standards are realized.
In addition, Lee considered the budget as a central challenge to the quality of the public school system. In recent years, the school board’s budget has been adversely affected by economic recession.
Lee considered Ithaca’s colleges to be valuable resources to the public school system which can help alleviate the difficulties of a tight budget.
“Cornell has lots of resources that can be of service in the school system,” said Lee. “I think those relationships are very important and I hope to look at other opportunities to collaborate.”
Specifically, Cornell lends itself to public schools through tutoring, mentoring, athletic support and in other capacities as well. Lee said that Ithaca College also offers itself as a resource to the Ithaca city schools.
As an academic, Lee specializes in issues concerning the alleviation of rural poverty and resource conservation. He played an important role in organizing the 2003 Cornell Conference on Globalization and Rural Livelihoods, a forum created to explore these issues. Lee believes that his expertise in economics will prove to be an asset to the school board.
“As an economist and as someone who is experienced in budget assessment, I feel that I can make a contribution at this point,” he said.
With the election only a few weeks away, Lee plans on promoting himself as a candidate by talking with people in the community about the specific issues at hand with respect to the school system.
“This is about talking with people and explaining your views,” he said. “It’s not a highly politicized process, and it’s not a partisan process.”
Since Lee announced his candidacy on Monday, five other Ithaca city residents filed to run for the school board’s three available seats.
Additional candidates include Robert DeLuca, Allen Lambert, Wilma Martin, Judith Maxwell and David Shoemaker.
The election is scheduled for May 18.
Archived article by Ellen Miller
Sun Senior Writer