Carmen Delessio for Board of Education

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Candidate Statement May 8th

I’m Carmen Delessio. I’m here to introduce myself and talk about priorities.

I would be happy to have a personal conversation with anyone in the district. My contact info is on carmendelessio.com and my cell number is 914-218-7696.

I’ve been a district resident for 16 years. For 14 of those years, I was a tax payer and did not have a child in school. We are 2 years into our journey as elementary parents.  I expect to be a middle school parent, a high school parent, an empty nester and someday a senior citizen in this district.

My decisions as a board trustee will be guided by these priorities.

  1. Safety and Health
  2. Education
  3. Finances and taxes

#1 Safety and Health

It should go without saying that safety and health are top priorities, but it doesn’t always seem that way here. We can do better.

#2 Education.

In the past it was clear that having a great school district was a priority . Any NY Times article about this area mentioned the school district. For example: Living in Lewisboro – “the town’s main draw, aside from its bucolic beauty, is its schools.”

Today the idea of having a great school district is an afterthought.

The focus has not been on education for many years.

From the decision to hire and then fire Dr. Kreutzer, to programmatic cuts, to seemingly random curriculum changes, there is no sense of purpose or mission here.

Our nationally ranked high school is no longer nationally ranked.

We need a K-12 curriculum    and a real discussion on whether EngageNY handouts are the best we can do in this district.

We need small class sizes – especially the first time a student takes a language or when a student takes accelerated math or advanced composition.

We need a new Director of Special Education As soon as possible.

We need the administration to work together with teachers for the betterment of the district and the community.

We need to support the new superintendent in the formulation of a long-term plan that involves the entire community.

Clear communication and public outreach can help a lot.

Let’s tell seniors about tax benefits rather than worrying about how it affects our own taxes.

Let’s use John Jay TV for outreach to the larger community

Let’s create an online school newspaper.

Let’s encourage cooperation between town boards and the school board.

Everyone will benefit.

#3 Finances and taxes,

To fund education, we will need to find money in the current budget.

But our budget goes up – and it goes up a lot – with no relationship to actual spending.

Fixing that is an opportunity and a priority.

My bargain with you, if you choose to vote for me, is that I’ll demand details about the budget that this administration has failed to provide.

That will save money and everyone will benefit.

Safety, Education, and finances. Those are my priorities.

As a board member, I’ll reach out to all of the people who live here.

I’ll listen.

And I’ll do my best to reflect your concerns and to hold the administration accountable.

I believe we can do better. 

We need a board of education that works for all of us.

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Calling Baloney on the KLSD Structural Deficit

The Katonah-Lewisboro School District has made programmatic cuts based on bad information.

A topic worth 5 minutes.

if elected, i will:

  • Ask the administration to release  5 years of actual vs. budgeted spending on a line item level
  • Follow through on the vote to audit the district reserves. This board voted against that audit.

And, you will know where the money goes – every penny.

Letter to Editor: Let the new superintendent lead

The board must be praised for their selection of Andrew Selesnick as the new superintendent. He is highly qualified and his selection was completely non-controversial.

Instead of letting Mr. Selesnick begin his leadership in July without controversy, the board is pushing through a controversial change to the elementary music program. KLSD Assistant Superintendent Alice Cronin proposed the change on Feb. 28 as part of the budget discussion. The proposal had never been discussed previously.

It is not a good sign that this controversial change is being proposed three months before Mr. Selesnick starts. He should not have to walk into a controversy. He was hired to lead the district as an educator. I do not believe that Ms. Cronin is intentionally trying to undermine Mr. Selesnick before he starts, but that is the effect of this change.

The board should let the new superintendent lead and avoid this made-up controversy

The board should reject these unnecessary changes to the music program at this time.

March 22, 2015

Read it in the Lewisboro Ledger:
http://www.lewisboroledger.com/22118/letter-let-the-new-superintendent-lead/

Meeting with State and County Leaders

Delessio details meetings with State and County Leaders

Carmen, Shari Rossi, Greg Ball, Julia Hadlock

Carmen, Shari Rossi, Greg Ball, Julia Hadlock

Pound Ridge, New York – April 30, 2014 – Carmen Delessio, in his bid for a seat on the Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education released details of earlier meetings with state and county leaders.  Mr. Delessio organized groups to meet with Assemblyman David Buchwald, State Senator Greg Ball, and George Oros. Mr. Oros is County Executive Rob Astorino’s chief of staff.

These meetings were about the closure of Lewisboro Elementary School, but Mr. Delessio said that the meetings show his desire to work collaboratively with the larger community.  He said, “My campaign is based on community engagement. That engagement includes actively working with our state and county leaders. We face the same issues as other districts in Westchester and New York State.  We can optimize our opportunity to improve the school district, remove unfunded mandates, and lower property taxes by engaging with local leaders.”

Mr. Delessio and a group of Lewisboro residents met with Assemblyman David Buchwald on January 14, 2014 in his Mt. Kisco office.  A larger group met with George Oros in the backroom of the Horse and Hound Restaurant in South Salem, NY on January 15, 2014. They met with Greg Ball on January 17, 2014 in his Brewster office.

The Buchwald and Ball meetings were informal discussions with four community participants.  The Oros meeting was larger and included a formal presentation.

 

Middle School Math Meeting

I attended the  middle school math meeting on April 29th.  I do not have a child in the middle school, but I believe that middle school is a critical time for students.

The burdens of common-core on the math program are obvious.  I asked the middle school Principal Rich Leprine if the teachers were making their own curriculum or just using EngageNY.  Mr. Leprine gave a fair answer.  He said that the teachers were using EngageNY, but deciding how much time to spend on each module.

I think we can do better. Some very successful districts take the common core as a guideline and develop their own curriculums. I believe our teachers and staff can do better than just using the state print outs.

If a student takes Math 8 as an eight grader, that student will not be on track to take AP Calculus. AP Statistics will be available. It seems there should be more flexibility. If we took control of the curriculum we could do more.

We need to assure that parents of 6th graders get the information they need early enough to understand the implications for the future.

Mr. Leprine called something a “high school problem.”  It may have been an off-hand comment, but with a lack of a leader in the Superintendent role, there is no one emphasizing the K-12 view.

There is confusion over teaming in the middle school.  It is not clear if there is an ongoing “pilot” program with a few kids or not.  I would be happy to talk to other involved parents about this.

My cell is 914-218-7696.

 

A few words on middle school:
I think that middle school is the hardest age and a time of big transitions.  6th grade is when kids need a lot of support. Guidance counselors, proper class sizes, and a plan for each student is critical. In middle school, there must be opportunities to develop new interests and to discover new talents. Every student should have a chance to thrive in middle school. Every parent should be informed of the impact of curriculum decisions in middle school that set the course for their child’s future.

 

Focus on the Middle School

Call me with your concerns

I’ve heard some troubling things in the past few days:

  • Some people believe that as an elementary parent, I won’t focus on middle school issues.
  • Some voters care where the candidates live and which school their kids attend.

I am running for the Board of Education to represent parents in all of the schools; elementary, middle, and high school.  I am running to represent non-parents, too.

My cell phone number is on my web site and on the card that I hand out. It is 914-218-7696.  

You can call me now – and you can call me if I am privileged enough to earn a seat on the board. Engaging with the wider Katonah-Lewisboro community is a cornerstone of my campaign.

I am happy to meet with anyone in the course of this campaign.

A few words on middle school:
I think that middle school is the hardest age and a time of big transitions.  6th grade is when kids need a lot of support. Guidance counselors, proper class sizes, and a plan for each student is critical. In middle school, there must be opportunities to develop new interests and to discover new talents. Every student should have a chance to thrive in middle school. Every parent should be informed of the impact of curriculum decisions in middle school that set the course for their child’s future.