Letter to the editor: Tony Fletcher runs for re-election to Onteora school board

To the editor:

Having served my three-year term since being elected by the community in 2009, the last year-plus as Vice President, I would like to announce that I am running for re-election to the Onteora School Board.

I am doing so because I believe in accountability: having supported the reconfiguration of our elementary school grades, which will go into effect in September, I desire to see it succeed, and I am willing to hold both myself as an individual Trustee, and the Superintendent of Schools as the Board’s sole direct employee, accountable to that end. I also believe in continuity: after years of rapid turn-over, the School Board has become settled in recent years, allowing business to be conducted in a civil and productive manner. While the elementary reconfiguration was the prominent issue in recent months, our responsibilities as a School Board extend from Pre-Kindergarten to Graduation, from the annual Budget (which has been reduced this year for the first time in memory) to Policy. To that end, over the last three years, as well as District Board and committee meetings and countless school events, I have attended various conferences across the States, been a regular presence with the Ulster County School Boards Association, and met with regional politicians to ensure they understand our needs. The volunteer role of Trustee makes significant demands on our time, frequently taking us away from family, but I greatly enjoy contributing – positively I hope - to the culture and success of the Onteora School District, and to the issue of public education in New York State in general.

I also believe in community. I live in Mt. Tremper, just inside the Woodstock town line, with one child at Phoenicia Elementary and another in the High School in Boiceville; my social, shopping and sporting time is divided almost equally across the entire District. Born in the UK, an American resident for 25 years and a proud citizen of the USA, I have worked throughout my life in the worlds of music and media, with several books to my name. (This September, Random House will be publishing my major biography of the 1980s British band, The Smiths, entitled A Light That Never Goes Out.) I also play in the Catskill 45s, a group of local adult residents (and a high school senior) that only play songs from 45 calendar years ago, and I can frequently be found running the roads and trails of this beautiful region, and skiing the local mountains in winter.

In the weeks leading up to the May 15 election, I look forward to further communicating with residents of the District. I can be contacted directly at tfletcherboe@ijamming.net. I have set up a Facebook page alongside fellow incumbent Laurie Osmond, who is also running for re-election: facebook.com/FletcherOsmond2012. I intend to make myself available every weekend across our District, and would like to invite residents to find me at Joshua’s Upstairs on Tinker Street in Woodstock this Saturday April 21st at noon. And I look forward to participating in public forums with the other candidates across the entire District.

Tony Fletcher

Mt. Tremper, NY