Four vie for three spots
Philipstown.info asked candidates for the upcoming Haldane School Board election to submit a brief statement about themselves and their views on issues facing the board. Their responses are presented below.
I am honored to submit my candidacy for Haldane School Board trustee. I am ready to devote the time, energy and attention to the rough work that lies ahead, particularly in the face of dramatic cuts in state aid. The policies we set in place today will have lasting impact on our children’s and our community’s future.
I am actively engaged in the community on a number of levels, and particularly with Haldane. I am deeply committed to the education of our children and the long-term health and success of the Haldane Central School District. When my eldest started kindergarten I became an active member of the PTA and am now the Elementary VP. In that time my colleagues and I have identified new and fruitful streams of revenue; expanded and revitalized the elementary and middle school enrichment programs; launched a user-friendly website; helped secure funding for speakers such as anti-drug advocate Matt Bellace; and created new activities like Lego Brick Kids and the Welcome Back Potluck events.
My family’s roots in the Hudson Valley pre-date the American Revolution. My husband and I settled on Parrott Street in the Village almost 5 years ago. Although I was raised in Massachusetts and Virginia, I made my home in New York State when I graduated from Carnegie-Mellon in 1995. I have worked in architectural, design and fashion firms, the last of which was located just north of the World Trade Center, where I was the day the towers fell. Before moving to Cold Spring, I helped found my Neighborhood Association In Dumbo, Brooklyn. Additionally, as multi-term president of a 40-unit condo board there, I earned my reputation as a strong budgetary steward by keeping operating costs low and values high. When running executive and shareholder meetings, I was known for making sure voices were heard but tempers kept calm, and for keeping focus on the big picture. These are exactly the skills that your school board members must bring to the table.
Our current Board of Education has been able to defer making some tough decisions on cuts by draining the last of reserve and supplemental funds to cover the 2012/2013 budget. Next year those funds will be gone. At the same time, reductions in state aid—already $500K less each of the last two years—are poised to worsen. I bring a fresh set of eyes to the budget and will work tirelessly to find new sources of revenue through grants and partnerships.
Having a great school isn’t a privilege. Having a great school takes constant effort from clear thinkers who are willing to work hard and stand for the best interests of every student. I will be a strong advocate for the programs and standards that provide the well-rounded, solid education we all take pride in and rely upon at Haldane. Please give me your vote on May 15th.
As a life-long resident of Cold Spring and 1989 graduate of Haldane High School I have been a part of this community and this school for quite some time. My father was a high school teacher, football and tennis coach at the school for 34 years after attending it himself as a child so I have a somewhat unique perspective. When my wife Jodi and I were looking for a place to settle down and raise a family we chose Cold Spring to be part of the great community and school district.
Both of my sons now attend Haldane (Michael is a 6th grader and Matthew is in 4th) and I have been involved with them both in and out of the classroom. I am currently the president of the Philipstown Pop Warner football and cheer organization and a former Vice-President of Baseball for the Philipstown Little League. I coach for the Our Lady of Loretto CYO basketball program and also am a member of the Knights of Columbus. I have also been involved with the school district as a former parent member of the Technology Committee and most recently as a community participant on the Philipstown Athletic Fields Committee.
The next several years will be challenging in the public education sector with the increased unfunded state and federal mandates, contractual obligations and the well-known “2% tax cap.” As a member of the Board of Education I will work with the other trustees to do the best we can to provide a budget that is fiscally responsible to the taxpayers while still providing a high quality education to the students of Haldane. I am also willing to look for additional sources of revenue for the school district to try to offset the amount of the budget that has to be raised from property owners.
Haldane was recently given a high ranking by U.S. News and World Report and I look forward to helping take us even higher. If we work together as a community through the upcoming tough economic times the results can be students excelling in the classroom, in the music room, on the stage and on the sporting fields. I look forward to having the opportunity to serve the community as a Board of Education trustee and would ask for your support on May 15th.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to present my election platform to the voters. The greatest challenge we face this coming school year is the 2013-2014 budget, combined with the need to stay within the tax cap. A realistic projection shows a shortfall of around half a million dollars, due primarily to large cuts in state aid, so we need someone who is fiscally competent and won’t shy away from sensitive topics such as salaries and benefits in order to save jobs and maintain educational programs. Here are the key points I’d like you to know about me for the school board election:
• School board trustee since January 2012 – very engaged on all issues • Hard working, forward thinking, values people with diverse opinions • Fiscally cautious with demonstrated competence in budget analysis and financial modeling • Committed to raising academic achievement geared to college and workplace readiness • Values small classes in lower grades to support creative teaching and individualized instruction • Seeks opportunities to deliver instruction more efficiently through use of technology • Will seek a voluntary pay freeze to avoid layoffs if state aid is not restored • For more information, please visit my website at http://peterhenderson.us. I hope you’ll vote for me on the 15th – thank you!
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve for five years on the Haldane Board of Education. I was fortunate to begin my first term the same year that Superintendent Dr. Villanti began. At that time, with a new Board and new Superintendent, we adopted a Five-Year plan in order to move Haldane from “Good to Great”. It is my belief that Haldane has become a great school district on its way to becoming a model and leading district for the entire state. Additionally, while sitting on this board for the last five years we have directed the Superintendent to present only fiscally sound budgets while moving the quality of instruction. I am proud that as a board member we have never adopted a budget that had more than a two percent increase in the tax rate.
For my third term as a trustee, it will be my goal to continue making great strides in our instructional program which will be seeing changes due to the implementation on the new Common Core Standards. I especially look forward to working on the next capital project, in order to improve and replace the athletic fields, so as to ensure that Haldane has a track and football field worthy of the students that compete and learn on it every day.
Finally, I have been an educator for eighteen years and a High School Principal in New York City for nine years. I believe that I bring a valuable knowledge to our Board in the area of instruction and state standards which is what ultimately guides every decision we make. My wife, Dianne, and I have been residents of Cold Spring for ten years and we have two children in the middle school. We are vested in keeping Haldane a superior school district.
Photos courtesy of candidates, except as noted.