Voters in the Florida, Greenwood Lake and Warwick school districts will weigh in on school budgets and the make-up of their Boards of Education on Tues., May 15. The Warwick Valley Dispatch invited all School Board candidates to submit written profiles, which outline their qualifications for the office.
In the Florida Free Union School District, voters are being asked to approve the proposed $21,690,646 budget, an increase of 2.16 percent over last year’s budget $21,231,803 and a 2.67 percent increase in the tax levy, for the 2018-19 school year.
Three candidates are seeking the two available seats on the school board for a three-year term. They are Matthew Mulhare, John Redman, and Robert Scheuermann. One seat is currently held by John Redman and the other seat is held by Matthew Mulhare who was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Robin Fraser.
In addition to the budget and board members, voters will be able to vote on a Capital Reserve Fund Proposition and a proposition on Walk-In (Continuous) Registration.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at S.S. Seward Institute, located at 53 North Main St. in the Village of Florida.
Matthew J. Mulhare
I am running for a seat on the Florida Union Free School District Board of Education. I have lived in Orange County almost all my life and settled in Florida 17 years ago with my wife Vera. We have three children all in the Florida School District and they all enjoy the feeling of our small district and the faculty that teaches them.
I have been on the current school board at my appointed position for a year and now I am running for the Florida School Board to continue to work with the present Board on the challenging work they do for all the students and faculty that make our district so special. In short I will work hard to help with the continued success of the present board and to you- the taxpayers who support me.
Thank you for the honor of your consideration for the position and please come out and vote on May 15 at S.S. Seward.
John T. Redman
I am running for my seventh term as a Board of Education member in the Florida Union Free School District. I have been on the Board of Education since 2000, now serving my sixth term. I have served as both President and Vice President of the Board, have twice achieved Board Mastery designations from the New York State School Boards Association, served for three years as President of the Orange County School Boards Association, served two years on the steering committee for the Council of Local School Board Associations (COLSBA) and have received the Mid Hudson School Study Council Excellence Award for School Board service.
I also represent Area 9, the counties of Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess and Green, on the Board of Directors of the New York State School Boards Association, where I have attended national conferences on Education and advocate events in Washington, DC to speak to Federal representatives.
I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts/Drama from The Colorado College where I also taught part-time before moving to New York. I have broad experience in the performing and communications arts from theatre, dance and opera to film and video production. I am the President of the Union Square Group, a creative services firm, designing and producing promotional and award presentations and one-of-a-kind events for corporate clients across the country.
I have been married to Mary Lee Farris, a professional opera singer and now a piano and voice teacher in our area, for 38 years. We have one son, Jonathan, who graduated from the Florida district and now resides locally.
Robert J. Scheuermann
Robert J. Scheuermann is a lifelong resident and as a sixth generation community member, Rob is deeply rooted in the area. Rob attended Warwick Valley High School and graduated from SUNY Delhi, where he earned an A.A.S. degree in Golf Course Operations, Turf Management, and Landscaping. Scheuermann owns and operates RS Landscaping LLC, a local business he established 20 years ago. He also serves as the Village Shade Tree Commissioner for the Village of Warwick.
Scheuermann is passionate about serving his community and is an avid volunteer at Golden Hill Elementary School installing and donating landscape at the School’s front entrance and also helps to deliver and set up the PTA’s Annual Spring Plant Sale.
Aside from his volunteer work at the elementary school, Rob volunteers his time and donates equipment to assist with the grounds maintenance, along with other volunteers, for the Florida Little League’s ball fields. His business currently sponsors a Florida Little League team and has provided sponsorship to the Florida Youth Soccer (FYS) as well as volunteering his time to FYS.
Additionally, Rob is involved with St. Joseph’s CYO Basketball program in the Village of Florida serving as Head Coach for a boys’ travel team and assisting with instructional programs and weekly game day set up during the playing season.
Rob and his wife, Kathleen, have three children who all attend schools in the Florida Union Free School District. He is running for a Board seat for the Florida School District Board of Education. If elected, Rob will work hard and strive to help maintain a conscious balance for the good of the community, its teachers, staff, students, and citizens of Florida. He hopes to build on the District’s past successes, proactively helping to position the District for the future.
Please vote for Rob Scheuermann on Tues., May 15 at the SS Seward Building on Main St. in the Village of Florida between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
The Greenwood Lake Union Free School District is proposing a budget of $26,644,325. While this amount represents a 3.7 percent increase in the budget compared to last year, the proposed tax levy increase was 1.75 percent.
Five candidates are seeking one of the four available seats on the school board. Three of the four seats are for a three-year term, while one of the seats is for a two year term vacated by Mary Lally. The candidates are John Finn, Michele Kayser, Barbara McInerney, Thomas O’Brien, and Ronald Sommer.
Voting will be held at the Greenwood Lake Elementary School gymnasium, located at 80 Waterstone Rd. in Greenwood Lake, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
At the recent National School Board Convention, I spent most of my time in discussions about school security in the light of school tragedies around the nation. There was even an addendum for additional school security vendors added to the program. My question to others was where the fine line was when we discuss security. By that I meant, when do we make schools prisons rather than educational places for students to learn and grow as individuals.
What I found was a wide range of opinions. Being on the Greenwood Lake School Board for the last 38 years, I’ve seen our increasing efforts to provide security for our kids. The world today is a far cry from when I started. It seems the word compromise has been banned from our vocabulary. In my opinion, compromise is not synonymous with surrender. Our present government is hopelessly divided because they forgot that compromise is the foundation of democracy.
I wish I could have this newspaper publish a recent opinion piece on school security from John Evans, who is the superintendent of Roscoe, Downsville and Livingston Manor. They are doing much as we do in regards to the security measures they have and are going to undertake. But I borrow one statement from his article: “Unfortunately, no one security measure or even the combinations of measures can prevent all violent acts against a school.”
Most of my actions over the years here have been done with the idea that I am not always right. I believe in looking at both sides of any argument and then making a decision. Always I ask myself how do my actions affect kids. That is the principle that I have lived by in my time as a Board member and I don’t wish to change now.
If you don’t know or are new to the District, I moved here in the late 60s. My wife and I started a family and my four sons all went through the Greenwood Lake system, as well as all eight of my grandchildren. My wife and I were charter members of the PTA we helped found in the 70s. That PTA still exists today, dedicated to the well being of all of our students. My background is 39 years as a social studies teacher.
I have always felt that we have to give back to the community we belong to and I hope you give me one more chance to give back to Greenwood Lake.
One little story in closing. When my oldest son was 18, I brought him to vote for the first time. We finally approached the elderly lady at the table. She asked my son where he was born. He, of course, said Greenwood Lake. With a big smile she said, “Oh, you’re a native.” Even after serving these many years on this Board, I, alas, will never be a native. Don’t let that discourage you. I wasn’t.
I am running for one of the four open seats on the Greenwood Lake School Board in the election to be held on Tues., May 15. I currently work as a preschool teacher at St. Mary’s Community Preschool and have been a resident of Greenwood Lake for 15 years.
When my husband Steve and I decided to look for a new place to call home, we found that home in Greenwood Lake. Raising our children in G.L. and having two children in the School District, the fifth and seventh grades, I have witnessed many changes to our community, but mostly to our School District.
As a result of those changes came the decision to homeschool my youngest child this year, who is currently in the fourth grade. Becoming a homeschool mom was not an easy decision. However, this decision has afforded both my son and me a welcoming opportunity to discover many resources and prospects that have helped shape the education and welfare of my son for the better.
Before becoming a homeschool mom, I asked and continue to ask what can be done to better shape the overall well-being and education of all our children here in Greenwood Lake. As a potential Board member, I believe this is the most important question I must continue to ask myself as well as keeping in mind the impression of Albany and the financial responsibility to our taxpayers.
While there will be many issues that will arise, I believe that it is not only important, but my duty to be able to hear and listen to the thoughts and opinions of the entire community. Being residents of the community has blessed both my children and I with cherished friendships. Those friendships in return have offered us times to witness the devotion our fellow Lakers have for this community and for our children.
Therefore I request your support for the chance and privilege to come alongside you and to serve and represent you as a member of the Board of Education of Greenwood Lake. Though, there will be times when I will be unable to attend to all individual concerns and balance the best promising decision for our children, please feel free to reach out with any concerns, questions or suggestions that you may have. If they are within the area of responsibility, I will be more than happy to look into them and provide feedback.
The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, ESV)
I am a full time working mom and I have decided to run for one of the open seats for the Greenwood Lake Board of Ed. I can’t think of a better reason to want to be involved with the future of this district than the kids – our kids.
I want to be a part of this process. The future is what we make of it. I want to help to make it as powerful as it can possibly be. The current Board (and I’m sure, countless others) have made this last year the most engaging and positive that I have seen yet. I want to keep this momentum going.
I, for one, am excited for the future of this community and our students. My focus is not only on the educational programs of our children, which goes without saying, but of course on their safety as well. I want the best for our kids and the professionals that teach, protect and nurture them every day.
I feel as though for a small District, we certainly have a huge voice. I know that I am only one voice, but I would love to be heard while serving our community.
Thomas (TJ) O’Brien
I’m asking for your support, once again, as I am seeking re-election to the Greenwood Lake School Board of Education. I have called Greenwood Lake my home for 20 years now and have two children, one of which is in the elementary school.
I’ve had the pleasure of serving our community as a Greenwood Lake Board of Education member when I was elected in September. Since I started in this position the Board has made great progress, with my primary focus on education and security.
We have worked hard toward creating and adopting a budget that will be up for voter approval and has made it possible to add many different programs for the students and school. Including, but not limited to, security upgrades, most of which I can not disclose due to compromising the safety we have worked so hard to strengthen over the past eight months as well as summer programs and after school clubs that help build community and school relationships.
I have taken all community voices and opinions very seriously and try my best to make decisions for the greater good of our children. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope to see you on Election Day!
The children are the future! We need to help them achieve their full potential. Children learn more effectively when they are in a setting conducive to learning and safety is an important component. We should have safety without being obtrusive. We need to constantly review the procedures and policies and make changes when necessary.
We need to continue investing in technology in our schools. Not a day goes by without an article about AI, Artificial Intelligence, robotics or some other new innovation. Our students are growing up in a unique time and need the resources to compete at the global level.
STEM, STEAM, PLTW are very important in 2018, along with the standard 3R’s – reading writing and arithmetic. Collaboration is a necessity today and we need to give our children the skill set to be effective collaborators. The social skills, the problem solving skills, the thinking outside the box skills, effective communication skills, and persuasive argument skills – these are the skills that will setup our children for the world they will be entering.
I can’t believe my oldest is entering college next September. I think back to what the world was like a short 18 years ago (flip phones, regular cable and the space shuttle) and then think of today (smart phones, HD4k television and NASA Orion project, sending humans to Mars and beyond).
What will the entering kindergartener’s visions look like? We need to ensure they are ready. I’m asking for your support on May 15.
Voters in the Warwick Valley Central School District will decide whether or not to approve the District’s proposed 2018-19 budget of $92,819,749, an increase of three percent over the current year budget which is $90,116,888.
In addition, three school board seats are available for a three-year term. Incumbents Lynn Lillian, David Eaton and Sharon Davis are running for reelection unopposed.
Also on the ballot are two propositions – one to authorize the Warwick School District to purchases five school buses and incidental equipment at a maximum aggregate cost of $485,000; and the other to fund a repair 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.
Voters 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. Voters in the Third School Election District – Kings District – can vote at the former Kings Elementary School, located at 199 Kings Hwy. in Warwick.
Twenty years ago, my husband, Jeff, and I decided to move back to Orange County and chose Warwick to raise our family. We continue to be grateful for that decision and for the educational opportunities that have been given to our daughters, Hannah, who will be a senior, and Sarah, who will be a freshman, come September.
Six years ago, when I was asked by some respected colleagues to consider running for the Warwick Board of Education, I thought being a School Board member would be an excellent way to give back to my community and contribute toward making my daughters’ School District a little better. Little did I know I would develop a passion for public education, a strong pride in our District, and a desire to maintain an academically strong, well-rounded program for all students in the School District.
Through my Board service, I have become more aware of the barrage of mandates and funding issues that distract us from our local mission to provide our students with the necessary skills to thrive in the 21st Century as learners, workers and citizens. I am proud of our nine-member Board and our shared commitment to serve our community in meeting this mission. To address the uncertainty over state funding for our schools, I will continue to work with my fellow Board members both locally and at the state level.
While I am determined to fight for more funding for Warwick, I also believe that we need to continue to be mindful of the tax burden borne by residents. We voted in April to present a budget that continues our trend of providing low tax levy increases. I am proud of the work we accomplish while staying within the mandated tax cap threshold.
While being good stewards of the taxpayer’s money, our District has continued to improve the education we provide. At our most recent meeting we approved four new high school classes – Freshman Seminar, 3C–Creative Construction and Craftsmanship, Computer Advertising and Graphic Design, and AP Computer Science. Our District now offers 13 Advanced Placement courses, 17 college level courses and 19 honors courses.
I am proud of the Career and Technical programs offered to our high school students either at the BOCES location or on our own campus, including Cosmetology, Criminal Justice and Video Production. We are committed to offering a rigorous and diverse academic program and continue to be recognized for excellence in music, arts, environmental stewardship, and athletics. In addition to these honors and awards, I am grateful for our administration’s commitment to weaving leadership opportunities throughout the curriculum.
Middle School students have experienced rich additions to the curriculum. Our students are preparing for the future with courses like Design & Modeling, Energy and the Environment, Automation & Robotics, and Green Architecture. Our strong academic program coupled with a value for raising students of good character makes the Middle School an excellent environment for learning.
When our elementary students present their engineering designs, play their violins, or explain their science labs, I get excited about their future. Often our Board gets to hear from our youngest students and we see first-hand how a commitment to small class size, libraries in every classroom and programs like Readers and Writers workshop are preparing our students.
If elected, I will strive to improve our strength of schools by working on direction and policy that continue to build on our culture of professional learning and student engagement.
My wife and I have been residents in Warwick for the past 30 years. Both of our daughters grew up in our community and attended the Warwick Valley schools. I am retired, having spent the majority of my career in the medical information field, which included: SONY’s medical electronics division, the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, and BMJ publishing. I fully believe in the concept of lifelong learning and see it is a fundamental goal of public education. It has been a great privilege to have served for thirteen years on the Warwick Valley Board of Education
In the thirteen years that I have served on the Warwick Valley Central School District Board of Education, there have been many challenges. We have had to deal with both dramatically increasing and declining student populations. The decisions we made have often been difficult. It is always challenging to plan around the never ending, often unfunded, state mandates and requirements.
Throughout these challenges, Warwick has maintained high standards for our students. The boards I have served on have never wavered from our responsibility to provide the best possible education for our children by creating and implementing a strategic plan to accomplish this mission. In addition, we have developed a vision that will take our schools to an even higher standard. Our schools continue to make great strides in creating a 21st century curriculum that will prepare our students with the learning skills required to succeed.
Our District remains both financially and educationally sound. Many difficult decisions have been made to accomplish this. As a school board member, I remain committed to finding and supporting all measures that contain spending without compromising the high educational standards that the Warwick community expects, deserves and has steadfastly supported. Further, I will continue to seek and support discovering new sources of revenues, whether from State advocacy or more efficient use of our existing resources.
I believe that my perspective, passion, and experience will help us stay this course. In the past thirteen years of school board activity, I have been immersed in public school administration. If re-elected, I will continue to fight for fair school funding, promote efficient school district operation, evaluate fairly and critically the performance of our administration, seek ways to improve student achievement, stay up-to-date on education news and issues, participate in educational training events, serve as an ambassador for local school governance, maintain relationships with key policymakers, find cost savings and operational efficiencies, and, most importantly, listen to our community.
Finally, I will support all efforts to make our schools safe and secure. These are all tasks expected of every Board member and I pledge to continue to fulfill them.
I have lived in Warwick for 30 years. My husband and I have three children, all proud Warwick graduates. I was originally motivated to run for the Board because I was concerned about two significant challenges facing our District: rapidly changing educational expectations and a chronic shortfall in education funding that threatens to undermine our Districts’ ability to meet those changing expectations.
During my nine years on the Board, I have been privileged to be a part of meeting those challenges and am proud of the progress the district has made in service to our students. Far from guaranteed, our progress is a testament to our community, our staff and most importantly, our students.
Through multiple strategic planning initiatives, the community has provided feedback that helped craft a vision for the District that assures our students graduate with the skills to thrive in an innovation driven-economy. This vision and culminating long-range goals also provide our district with a roadmap by which to set priorities. Sound budgeting practices, informed by those priorities, have included streamlined and prioritized spending and expanding non-tax revenue which have allowed the district to develop a robust and engaging instructional program while proposing consistently modest increases to our taxpayers.
To be successful our students need to develop skills that will enable them to collaborate, innovate and initiate. Investment in our staff and students through comprehensive Professional Development and singular focus on Curriculum, Instruction and Literacy provides a rigorous and engaging foundation for the increased opportunities our students have to learn by making and doing in collaboration with their peers. I am proud of the Instructional Leadership in the classroom and the District Office that makes this possible.
Warwick is a town with a distinct tradition for service. Whether it is the Rotary or Lions Club, Little League, PTA or the Arts people give their time to the things that are meaningful to them. Inspired by that example, I have been very fortunate to have served on the Board for the past nine years, and am gratified at the ways in which the district has addressed those challenges that first motivated me to run.
Our District’s fiscal responsibility, our focus on teaching and learning and our rich community partnerships have fueled significant progress and achievements. Nonetheless, we will continue to be challenged by chronic budget shortfalls while at the same time being called on to adapt to a rapidly changing world in order to best prepare our students for their future. I am inspired and energized to continue to be part of this important and meaningful work by our students, families, community and our staff and by a strong belief in the power of public education to shape lives.
Thank you for your consideration on Tues., May 15.