Henderson and Sapeta share perspectives
By Pamela Doan
Incumbent Trustee Peter Henderson is running for re-election after two and one half years on the Haldane Board of Education. He was first appointed to serve the remainder of a term then elected for a full term in 2012. Cathy Sapeta is challenging Henderson for the trustee position at Haldane. Last fall, Sapeta ran for the Philipstown Town Board as a Conservative Party candidate, but did not win.
The Paper: Why are you running for another term? What do you hope to accomplish and contribute?
Henderson: We have a new superintendent starting this summer and a change of leadership is challenging for any district, which is why stability on the board is especially important at this time. I also find the job personally rewarding.
If you look at my record over the last three years, you’ll see a focus on incremental improvements, student achievement, and fiscal prudence. Budgets have remained within the tax cap, our kids are excelling in many fields, and we’ve cut energy use by a staggering 43 percent.
The Paper: What are some highlights of your time as a trustee? Anything you’re particularly proud to have been involved in?
Henderson: The board’s single greatest responsibility is the hiring of a superintendent and we’ve hired two this year: our Interim Superintendent John Chambers and our incoming permanent Superintendent Diana Bowers. These two individuals, as well as our former Superintendent Mark Villanti, are educational leaders of the highest caliber. It reflects very highly on the district and the community that we’re able to recruit leaders of such high quality.
I’m also extremely proud of the way Haldane’s teachers and administrators have implemented the new Common Core standards locally and supported our students through what’s been a difficult transition.
The Paper: What do you think are the challenges ahead and what are your unique qualifications to address them?
Henderson: We need to set the district on a fiscally sustainable path. Payroll is growing faster than the overall budget, which means layoffs every year unless we take additional steps to control expenditures or bring in new revenue. We can’t simply impose a pay freeze as some have suggested, but we need to work together to find a long-term solution that lets us maintain current staffing while making targeted investments to improve educational achievement. More information: peterhenderson.us.
The Paper: Why are you running for the Haldane trustee position? What do you hope to accomplish and contribute?
Sapeta: I wish to add a fresh perspective to the board and contribute my talents and experience to create new sources of revenue streams to help the school community. As a trustee, I hope to enhance the programs we have in place and help generate greater participation at the school. I wish to further review creative ways to enhance fiscal responsibility.
The Paper: What are some highlights of your experience? Anything you’re particularly proud to have been involved in?
Sapeta: I have worked in professional sales departments and managed budgets and people. I have served on non-profit boards as a director of marketing to increase attendance at events. I have six years of teaching experience and connect easily with teachers. I am most proud to have been the director of the first-time Pelham American Cancer Society Relay For Life. We received an award for being the highest revenue producing first-timer Relay event.
The Paper: What do you think are the challenges ahead for the district and what are your unique qualifications to address them?
Sapeta: There are challenges with providing programs to meet the needs of the community and maintaining fiscal responsibility. I am an independent thinker and work well with people. My unique qualifications include my analytical skills and creative ability. I have excellent relationships with members of the business community, Haldane foundation, parents, teachers and residents.
The Paper: Your Facebook page has a lot of information advocating against the Common Core curriculum. Will repealing the Common Core be a goal of yours as a trustee? If so, what do you perceive are the problems with it and what do you think should replace it?
Sapeta: In a nutshell, there are many opinions about Common Core. The fact remains that Common Core was written by businessmen and was broadly condemned by the highest education experts in the country, including Sandra Stotsky and Diane Ravitch, to name a few. We lack local control with Common Core and we will end up paying for something that we have no voice in. All over Facebook in every state there are posts with endless complaints about Common Core and we hear that the implementation is poor. Why is it that we cannot find a truly successful implementation of it? It seems at the very least we should take a pause.