Voters in the Warwick Valley Central School District will decide on Tues., May 16 whether or not to approve the District’s proposed 2017-18 budget of $89,903,879, an increase of 1.75 percent over the current year. In addition, three school board seats are available for a three-year term. Incumbents Erin Maxcy, Dory Masefield and Robert Howe are running for reelection. Also running are newcomers Neil Sinclair, John Ihnachak, John Garcia, Lisa Kevins, and Greg D’Ambrosio.
Also on the ballot are three propositions to be voted on:
Proposition 1: “Shall the Warwick Valley Central School District be authorized to purchase five (5) buses at a maximum estimated cost of $510,000 and that such sum shall be raised by the levy of a tax upon the taxable property of said School District and collected in annual installments with District obligations to be issued in anticipation thereof?”
Proposition 2: “Shall the Board of Education of the Warwick Valley Central School District be authorized to establish a Capital Reserve Fund to be designated ‘Bus Purchase Reserve Fund’ in order to purchase buses and other transportation vehicles, and with the ultimate amount of such Reserve Fund to be $2,000,000, plus accrued interest with a probable term of ten years, and to appropriate annually from available fund balance and/or other legally available funds of the School District to such Reserve Fund?”
Proposition 3: “Shall the Board of Education of the Warwick Valley Central School District be authorized to establish a Capital Reserve Fund to be designated ‘Capital Reserve Fund’ for capital improvements and equipment with the ultimate amount of such Reserve Fund to be $5,000,000, plus accrued interest with a probable term of ten years, and to appropriate annually from available fund balance and/or other legally available funds of the School District to such Reserve Fund?”
Voters can cast their ballots between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. at their assigned voting location.
Voters in the First School Election District – Pine Island District – can vote at the Pine Island Firehouse, located at 684 County Rte. 1 in Pine Island; those in the Second School Election District – Village District – can vote at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center, in the Middle School addition, located at 225 West St., in Warwick; and voters in the Third School Election District – Kings District – can vote at the former Kings Elementary School, located at 199 Kings Hwy. in Warwick.
The Warwick Valley Dispatch invited all School Board candidates to submit written profiles, not exceeding 500 words, which outline their qualifications for the office.
My name is Greg D’Ambrosio and I am a 15 year resident of the Town of Warwick. I have a wife, and two children who attend school in the District. I have been an educator for almost 20 years. In my career I have been a high school business teacher, an instructional technology teacher and a middle and high school Assistant Principal, which is the title I currently hold. I have always enjoyed working with students and have worked at all three levels of the K-12 system.
I am running for the WVCSD Board of Education to help create a school district that provides high quality educational programming for all students equally whether the student is classified as special education, general education or gifted and talented. I believe that this can be accomplished by having building administration work more closely with the instructional staff to analyze the practices currently being used in our schools and making thoughtful changes backed by research. The educational research is clear that the number one factor that determines the success of a student is the quality of the teacher standing before that student. I believe that if we want great schools we have to hire and develop great teachers.
We have a wonderful staff of dedicated educators in Warwick. My daughter’s first grade teacher was instrumental in helping her blossom into the student we hoped she would become. High quality, ongoing professional development should be a Board of Education priority so that our teachers have the opportunity to grow as a faculty. I would also like to see a Board of Education that is honest, has integrity and is transparent. The public should always know all of the facts possible about a situation so that we can have informed thoughtful conversations with the community. In my opinion this is not currently the case.
If you went to BOE meetings or read what is printed in the paper it is evident that our District has not one problem or issue. I ask, how can that be the case? If I am elected you can count on someone who will not only know the questions to ask but will actually ask them openly and honestly. The public will know where the district stands good, bad, or indifferent.
By electing me the public will also get someone who understands that it is not how much money the district receives but what it does with the money it has. For years this BOE has rallied for fair funding and for NY State to provide more money to our district. Money does not solve problems. At one time the City Schools of Newark, NJ, spent the most money per pupil in almost the entire country. Still they had some of the worst test scores in the country. I know that there is still waste in our school budget and I will work hard to identify it and fix it. I hope that all residents will come out and vote.
It is critical that our schools focus on preparing students for their future while remaining fiscally accountable. As a lifelong resident and taxpayer in the community, I will work collaboratively with others to ensure that the district stays focused on a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction.
I am pleased that the District has been able to enhance academic programs while keeping increases in taxes on average about one percent annually for the past three years. With that said, now is not the time for us to rest on our laurels. The board must adopt annual budgets that allocate resources based on the District’s priorities for student learning. I’ll work hard to keep the community informed about the financial needs of the District, seek savings and efficiencies and invite community input. I recognize and embrace the challenge that difficult decisions may need to be made to sustain programs for our students in these tough economic times.
My thirty-five years of teaching experience in Warwick Schools helped me to develop strong beliefs and values about what is possible for students and their ability to learn. I am so proud of my involvement in community activities or volunteer groups such as Purple Champions, Warwick Football, Hall of fame Committees, Warwick Little League Baseball, Warwick Youth Football, Recreational Warwick basketball CYO Basketball, Old School Baptist Church Sermon, etc.
These experiences remind me that our children are indeed growing up in difficult times, with some extra burdens such as poverty, learning challenges, less parental involvement among others. These external factors are challenges, but not excuses. My master’s degree in School Administration gives me the added perspective that school boards should be accountability driven, remain focused on results, more opportunities for students, and policies to improve student achievement.
I take great pride in our schools and community; yet I will monitor information, not shy away from opportunities for growth and use of data to drive continuous improvement. I ask for your vote on May 16 and give you my word that I will work to be a successful member of the Board of Education, bringing my experience and pride in the community and school to best meet the need of both the community and our outstanding students.
I am running for re-election to the Warwick Valley School Board for the following reasons: Having served on the Board for 24 years, I bring a history and perspective that is valuable to both the Board and the Administration.
No longer having children in school – I have two who attended the district schools – I am able to bring objectivity to decisions that might not have been there when my children were in school.
I continue having a love of education; my family was involved with a parent-run school for six years. I have been an active supporter of long range planning for the District and I am gratified to see the practical implementation of it, which has helped make Warwick the number one academic district in Orange County.
As a long time resident of Warwick for 35 years, I am acutely aware of the cost of property taxes, having served three years on school budget committees before running for the Board and have always striven to find the balance between fiscal responsibility and excellent academics. I am pleased that we have achieved both this year, being able to present a zero increase in taxes to the community.
Besides having served as Board President and Vice President, I continue being active on the Agricultural Advisory Committee and serve on the Community Coalition for Teenage Drug and Alcohol Prevention.
I have been a resident of Warwick since 1988. My three children graduated from Warwick High School. I feel that being a School Board member will give me the opportunity to represent Warwick taxpayers and the students, without increasing the school taxes.
I am planning to accomplish that in many ways, for example:
- Controlling the teacher’s and school Administrator’s wages, benefits and increasing their contribution towards their health insurance and the pension – putting them on a level of private industries.
- Insisting on the Teacher’s evaluation, based on the students’ performance.
- Eliminate waste, avoiding unnecessary purchases, unnecessary improvement projects, simply controlling the cost and the budget.
- Complete transparency, as far as the School District finances are concerned, thus keeping the school’s taxes low.
The biggest issue the District is currently facing is the escalating cost of t.eachers and school administrator’s salaries and benefits. Unnecessary staffing, such as six school psychologists. This should be reduced to two at the minimum. Reduce the number of school buses to a level that was suggested by the NYS Comptroller’s audit a few years back, based on the District’s decreasing enrollment. The school buses are running almost empty.
If elected to the school board I will try to improve the students’ education in a way that when they graduate from high school they should be employable and be able to go to universities and colleges without failing in their first year and/or taking courses that they should have taken in high school. I planned to eliminate teachers’ tenure, thus keeping the best teachers employed and rewarding those teachers who excel in their profession.
Some of you know me by my name, ‘Spaulding’ or ‘Kevins’ because I’m an author, teacher and artist. I am Lisa Kevins, originally from Suffern, NY and a resident of Warwick for 17 years. I hold triple certification in Elementary Education N-6, Italian (foreign language) and Art Education K-12. I have been a teacher over 20 years and today I am an art teacher at Nanuet High School.
I published the book, ‘The Angels of Florence’ available on Amazon as I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. I care about the kids and my community. The students need scholarships, college acceptance and careers upon graduation. Regarding the two (2) elementary schools in the Warwick District that are totally shut down, we must look at them. Instead, how about turn the vacant schools into an area for ‘career based programs’ or an art museum for children?
Keep taxes low without cutting teachers and students’ activities. Teachers can turn off computers at the end of day and lights off during their duties or prep periods. Students could have less homework, but more community services and volunteer hours to learn trades and work ethic. Kids must work for it!
I am not satisfied with a world of texting and emails. The students should know the town businesses, visit hospitals and nursing homes. We don’t just need ‘smart’ people but we also need ‘good’ people. Help the underprivileged with fundraisers. Keep the arts, music and sports or kids will do drugs. No bullying! It’s a law! Lots of hands on activities and field trips. Make classrooms alive and education stimulating. Encourage children to live a life of significance. Help kids dream big!
Conserve, recycle paper, plastic bottles and use hand sanitizers, even grants for solar panels. Safety is most important: lock downs and security must be perfection. The Warwick Police and Fire Departments are protecting us. Love a child forever. They are our future. Help us, lead us and vote Lisa Kevins. They struggle with special needs too. We need to accommodate all students. It’s our American duty.
I served one term on the School Board, and would like to continue serving, helping to craft the best educational experience we can for our students while being fiscally responsible. I have been a resident of Warwick for 15 years. I have three children, one in the middle school, one in the high school, and one a graduate from Warwick High School.
Prior to moving to Warwick, I was a public school science teacher in Maine. My perspective as a teacher provides a unique and important insight on the School Board. Beyond any debate on policy and budget, it is the teachers who are in the classroom every day with our children who make it all happen. Currently, I am a Co-Founder and an Instructor at E.A.R.T.H. in Marion, NY, a summer camp that brings ecology, art, and recreation together with horsemanship to create an exciting enrichment opportunity for children. I also tutor math and science, and I am coach travel soccer.
My first term on the School Board was both challenging and rewarding. During this term, we added over 30 new courses, including Robotics, Video Production, Engineering, Green Architecture, Financial Algebra, Consumer Math, Criminal Justice, Forensics, Biomedical Science, and a Leadership Academy. We adopted literacy initiatives, provided more professional development opportunities for teachers and staff, adopted a sustainability policy, increased security at all school buildings, and revamped the High School Media center. The District reenergized relationships with community organizations, and started a Community Partnerships Committee.
Our Board did all this while maintaining an average one percent tax increase over the past three years. We have worked to keep Warwick’s Music program nationally recognized as amongst the best, and the High School repeatedly listed as a NYS Reward School.
Many complex issues face our District. Funds from the State continue to be meager, so budgets have to be carefully constructed to get maximum value from each dollar. Technology is rapidly changing the careers our children will have in the future. While technology is necessary in the classroom, it needs to be balanced with personal interactions and hands on experiences. Our students face critical and life-altering social issues like cyber-bullying, drug abuse and a growing opioid epidemic. Our District must continue to be proactive in educating parents on these dangers and working with the whole Warwick community to offer support and find solutions.
During my next term on the Board, I would like to continue to help create trust between the community and the School Board. I believe my background of having worked in different academic capacities gives me a depth of understanding for the various stakeholders involved. The path to creating the best educational opportunities for our students with such limited resources is by building consensus and working together.
Friends and Neighbors, there is no decision that has impacted my family more than our choice to move to our beautiful Warwick. I had a goal to immerse myself and family into the community; I believe we have done so. It has been our great fortune to make acquaintances and life long friendships with so many here.
I have had the opportunities to sing with the Warwick Chorale, volunteer with Cub Scouts, volunteer as a soccer coach, serve on three different PTA boards as secretary, vice president and president, and serve three years as a Board of Education (BOE) member. My term for the latter is up this year and I have chosen to run for a second term. It has been a most educational experience, one that I truly appreciate and enjoy. As a professional who is in the field of advocating (I have a graduate degree and hold a directorial position in a nursing home) this experience has been most gratifying.
Difficult decisions have been made by the BOE that have kept our district in good standing fiscally, whilst still providing many wonderful and exciting opportunities for our students and faculty, during a time when many other neighboring districts are in the red. I can truly say that our board members have different viewpoints and strengths, yet work cohesively to meet the goals of our mission as a district.
Our district has generated over three million annually in revenue from non-tax sources (tuition and rent). The average tax levy increase over the past three years has been 1%. Our school district has blue ribbon schools, is working towards being a “green district,” rated best for our music programs, received NYS Reward School five years running, created the literacy initiative, added modified sports, and significantly increased professional development for our faculty and staff.
We have also teamed up with many community partnerships with whom we work very closely, such as WFEL, Albert Wisner Library, Community Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Family Central, Sustainable Warwick and the Chamber of Commerce, just to name a few.
I am proud of my term on the Warwick Valley Board of Education, because of what I have learned and what has been accomplished.
Furthermore, I am excited about the future and what remains to be achieved. I thank you for your support of the Board of Education and the vision we are pursuing for Warwick Valley Central School District.
I am writing to request your support on Tues., May 16 for my election to the Warwick Valley School Board. I have lived in Warwick for 17 years. During this time my two daughters became proud WVCSD graduates. They are both enjoying successful careers. My son received his Doctorate about a year ago and is now a Scientist at the National Institute of Health.
As a long time business executive with an MBA plus, a family that is deeply rooted in education, I believe I would bring a unique perspective to the Board of Education. I am fully aware of the financial burdens we taxpayers face every year. I also realize there is a significant cost to achieve educational excellence. My background in business combined with a true belief that our children are our future will help to keep our great school system going in the right direction.
As important as offering skills in the planning and decision making process is in a time of ever changing technology, it is just as important to appreciate what are children bring to this community or other communities in the future. Perhaps my biggest motivation for running for the school board is a passion for community service. As a three-term past President of the Warwick Valley Rotary Club, Beautiful People baseball and soccer coach, member of the Village of Warwick 150th anniversary planning committee, and other ventures, I’ve immersed myself in activities that help those in need and make our community stronger.
It is this sense of community and respect for our children that drives me to have the honor of serving on our school board.