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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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How should the board use the consent agenda?

The Board of Education uses the consent agenda to conduct normal business operations. It keeps the meetings moving along and limits discussion for routine items.

I believe that any item in the consent agenda that will cost the district over $100,000 must be discussed by the board.  I suggested that in early 2014.

At that time,  the board both approved  tenure and accepted the resignation of Connie Hayes. Ms Hayes is the Director of Special Education for the District.  I am not commenting on whether that tenure should have been granted.  I do not believe it was an appropriate use of the consent agenda.

Granting tenure and the associated future retirement costs  are significant for the district. The board should have happily discussed their views and publicly congratulated Ms. Hayes.  This was an odd use of the consent agenda.

If elected, you can be assured that I will scrutinize the consent agenda to be on the lookout for spending that should clearly be discussed in public.

Lewisboro Ledger Article: April 2, 2014 – DISTRICT GRANTS HAYES TENURE

Why I am running for the board of education

Printed in Lewisboro Ledger on 4/16/2013

I am running for board because the people here deserve a board that works for them.

The board should be an extension of the local community, not an extension of the school administration.

In the past 2 years, the district has closed an elementary school and fired a superintendent. The administration has not paid attention to common core and there are no policies in place. Without discussion, the elementary curriculum in the district has turned into EngageNY handouts. The board has simply not focused on education.

The district has focused on budget cuts,  but in 2011 and 2012, the school district ran surpluses of $5M and $6M. We were overtaxed. The district then made unnecessary cuts in sports, foreign language in elementary, and other educational areas.

We have been overtaxed and underserved.

I believe the board has an oversight role and must hold the administration accountable.

I am running because I believe the board must

  • put education on the agenda,
  • serve the local community,
  • provide oversight to the administration,
  • and demand clear educational policies

I will encourage the Board of Education and the school district to act as partners with all of the people in the district, parents, teachers, and in particular the town officials of Lewisboro, Bedford, Pound Ridge, North Salem, and our local state legislators.

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