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Candidate profile: Earl F. Bass, Niagara Falls School Board

earl-bassSchool district: Niagara Falls

Age: 28

Town (current residence): Niagara Falls

Current occupation and/or community involvement:

I am a Niagara Falls firefighter I work on Engine 3 which protects the neighborhood I grew up in. I volunteer with the Fire Fighter's Toy Fund which donates toys and winter clothing to over 600 families annually serving as a co-host for the Annual Telethon . I co-chair the Toy Fund 5k/10k Run/Walk. I give talks with students when asked and I serve as positive role model throughout the city. I have presented workshops for the Niagara Falls Housing Authority's Male Summit and Let's Talk Conferences teaching teens the importance of hard work, discipline, and self-branding while sharing my life experiences. I am the youngest Trustee at my church St. John AME and participate in ministries there.

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 28

Incumbent: No

Have you run for office before? No

Please tell us about yourself:

I am a 28 year old born and raised in Niagara Falls and I am deeply rooted in my community. I recently took in my 8 year old cousin DaSon who attends Hyde Park Elementary after my aunt passed away, his future along with his peers are important to me as they are the role models for my future children. I invest in my hometown because it has invested greatly in me. I was raised on the importance of being a servant to your community especially young people. My mother, grand, and great grandmothers taught me overcome the difficulties of coming from a low income background and that your beginning does not have to reflect your end. Hardwork, dedication, and personal accountability are the keys to success.

Please describe the top issues facing your school district and how you would address them as a school board member:

Poverty is an issue facing the district, many parents work two or more jobs to make ends meet which limits their engagement in their child(ren)'s education. I would stress the importance of engagement and promote the resources such as the parent portal the district offers to encourage parents to be involved. I would equip students with tools needs to overcome their circumstances with emphasis on the importance of continuing education after graduation and/or expanding the vocational programs the district offers. I will fight to overcome the sense of hopelessness some of our students face by showcasing the many opputunities available in the area.

Do you think public education in New York is headed in the right direction? Yes

Please explain why, in 100 words or less.:

I believe New York investing more into its public schools is a step in the right but I believe the relationship between policy markers and teachers/administrators/parents needs to improve. Often the focus is on test scores and how they appear on paper rather than actually addressing the educational needs of our children.

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