Clarkstown Board Candidates Stake Out Their Positions

Clarkstown Taxpayers host candidates forum
BY ALLAN GOLDSTEIN
From left, Mike Aglialoro, Leonardo Macias, Gerry O’Rourke (moderator), Wendy Adolff, Chris Conti. PHOTO CREDIT ALLAN GOLDSTEIN

Candidates seeking to secure a seat on the Clarkstown School Board faced local residents last Thursday evening in the Nanuet Library.  The event was sponsored by the Clarkstown Taxpayers and drew an audience numbering close to 75 attendees

Voters go to the polls on May 15 at which time they may vote for up to three candidates. The fate of the proposed 2012-2013 school district budget will also be determined. Each candidate provided their background, qualifications for the position and ideas on how to make the Board function more effectively.

  • Mike Aglialoro has been a resident of West Nyack for 12 years and holds a B.S. in International Business and an MBA in Finance from New York University.  He is a local business owner and president of the Clarkstown Education Foundation.

He commented, “I would use my financial and business skill set to maximize the district’s resources, prepare students for the next educational level and jobs in the work force.  I want better accountability for the money spent.  In the fiscal environment of the 2 percent tax cap we need to maintain the quality of our schools.”

  • Wendy Adolff lives in New City and has been a Clarkstown resident for 15 years.  She holds a B.S. in Human Sciences and Services from the University of Rhode Island.  She has served on the Budget Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee for the school district.

She noted, “For the past eight years I have sat on numerous committees in the district.  I would help run the school district as a team player and bring the focus back to the children.  I want to bring taxes back to a manageable level.  I think that it is important to listen to other Board members and work out problems.”

  • Chris Conti has lived in the Clarkstown School District for 33 years and is a graduate of Clarkstown North High School.  He holds a B.S. in Mathematics and an M.A. in Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College.  He has taught mathematics at Rockland BOCES for the last 19 years.

He said, “I bring experience as a teacher, a positive attitude and a lot of energy.  One person can make a difference.  I would listen to comments from the community and use data to make decisions.  Also, the Board must be transparent in its actions.”

  • Leonardo Macias has been a Congers resident for eight years and serves as an assistant principal in the Yonkers Public School system.  This follows the eight years he spent in Yonkers as a Special Education teacher.

He commented, “I am experienced in education laws, will provide guidance and adhere to the 2%  tax cap.  I have a unique perspective on contract negotiations and believe in being fiscally responsible.”

Incumbent board members Donna Ehrenberg and Phil DeGaetano, who are up for re-election, were invited to this event but did not attend. One of the more interesting questions raised during the course of the evening was how the prospective board members would work with the incoming superintendent.  The candidates responded:

Adolff addressing audience. PHOTO CREDIT ALLAN GOLDSTEIN

Macias:  “The Board should hold the superintendent accountable.  It should set the goals and determine what needs be accomplished.”

Conti:  “It is critical that we compile data for the superintendent.  We should set the goals to be met and work hand in hand.”

Adollf:  “We need to work hand in glove with the new superintendent. We should relay the public’s thoughts back to the superintendent.  We need to work as a team.”

Aglialoro:  “The Board hires the superintendent and for budget matters and policies the superintendent is the CEO.  The Board should determine a set of goals and then measure their success.”

Gerry O’Rourke, speaking for the evening’s sponsor the Clarkstown Taxpayers, noted that it is the organization’s mission to reduce town expenses and taxes, support eight year term limits for town government, cap public employee compensation and act as an information source for residents.  For additional information go towww.ClarkstownTaxpayers.org.