Haldane Candidates Differ on Common Core

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.

Peter Henderson

Peter Henderson

Peter Henderson

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.

Cathy Sapeta

Cathy Sapeta

Cathy Sapeta

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.


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4 thoughts on “Haldane Candidates Differ on Common Core

  1. School districts are required by state law to adopt the new Common Core standards and one of the board’s responsibilities is to ensure the district operates in accordance with state law. You have to put politics aside and do what’s best for the district, and I believe that supporting our teachers and administrators in their local implementation of the standards is the right thing to do. To see my full responses to the questions asked for this article, please see http://peterhenderson.us/questions.html.

  2. I would be interested to hear Ms. Sapeta’s ideas on new revenue streams. The Board has identified a few, but they will not be nearly enough to meet the burden of escalating expenses along with the pressure of the tax cap. I believe Pete presents an accurate depiction that the budget pressure exists on the expenditure side, and that controlling costs — to the extent that it is legal, i.e., not through a pay freeze — is the only sustainable remedy.

  3. I applaud both candidates for stepping forward. The more community members who are involved, the better off our community and school are.

    I do not know Ms. Sapeta but thank her for her involvement. Due to my involvement with Haldane on the Blue Devil Booster Club and the Play Haldane project, I do know Mr. Henderson and wholeheartedly endorse him for another term on the Board of Ed. Peter is a diligent researcher of all of the facts surrounding the issues. Peter is also a outstanding steward of our school resources and how and where they will impact our students in the most positive manner. I am thankful to have Peter on our BOE and encourage the community to return him for another term.

  4. Thanks everyone for taking part in the election today. I hope to see everyone again. Contact me anytime to meet for a coffee in town. God bless our community.