The two remaining candidates running for one open seat on the Miller Place Board of Education opened up to the community Tuesday night during the district’s meet the candidate night.
Mike Manspeizer, 55, a former board member and Keith Frank, 50, an attorney running for the first time, answered questions from roughly 20 people in the audience during the 45-minute event.
Tom Brischler, a retired high school English teacher, announced he was withdrawing from the race on Tuesday.
Manspeizer, 55, a program manager for Cisco Systems, said board members do a lot and he wants to be there to review sensitive issues, like those discussed in executive session.
“I want to make sure we’re thoughtful about the things that we do so when personnel issues come up, we want to make sure we address that,” he said.
Frank said he is running because he’s seen how well the district has met the needs of his three children and he would like to be part of helping others as well.
“I think the main reason I wanted to run for the board this year is because I live it everyday [with his own children],” Frank said.
Residents at the meeting wanted to know what the two candidates would bring to the board. Both men felt their careers would assist them.
“What I will bring to the board is my 25 years experience working with businesses, working with management, working with unions, working as a labor and employment attorney, working to make everybody work together,” Frank said.
Manspeizer highlighted the contractual work he does with his company and the technology knowledge he could bring to the board. Manspeizer said his business in the tech world has given him a somewhat worldly background.
“I work with people from all over the world, different cultures,” Manspeizer said.
When a question on education reform was asked, things got tense, as Manspeizer stopped mid sentence to address an audience member who may have rolled their eyes.
“Like I said before, things are changing the world is changing. Education may stay the way it is for a while, but forces will break it eventually. So you have to … ,” Manspeizer said with a slight pause. “Yeah I mean you can come up here and you know talk if you want to if you want to roll your eyes that’s fine.”
Manspeizer went on to finish his statement. He said that because the district is a state institution, they must adhere to the law.
Frank expressed similar sentiments.
“What it really does come down to is we are guided by the law, we do have to follow the law,” Frank said. “However parents can feel the way they want to feel [and] parents can do what they feel is necessary for their child.”
In their closing remarks, the candidates thanked the community for coming out to the event and encouraged residents to come out more often.
The school board election and budget vote will be held on Tuesday, May 19 at North Country Road Middle School from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.