In a year when familiar faces decided not to run for re-election, three hopeful newcomers will try to win two open seats on the New Paltz Board of Education.
Board Vice President Rod Dressel and long-time member Edgar Rodriguez decided against running this year. In their place, computer data analyst Max Maurer, current New Paltz Town Planning Board member Tim Rogers, and Julie Tresco, who is former nutritionist now studying to become a nurse, have all decided to seek a board seat.
Each candidate brings something different to the table, and each call a different part of the New Paltz Central School District home. Maurer is from Gardiner, Rogers from New Paltz and Tresco from West Park. All three candidates were pretty concerned with the district’s long-term building improvement plan and would like to see it done right.
Still looking to move on from 2010’s failed middle school renovation vote, board members are currently considering a number of options — including the creation of a combined middle-high school at the high school’s current lot on South Putt Corners Road.
Voters who hope to cast a ballot in school elections need to be at least 18 years old and have lived in the district a month prior to May 21’s vote.
The proposed $52.2 million budget also up for a vote that day raises the tax levy by 4.4 percent — New Paltz’s legal limit under the tax cap law — and would only require a simple majority to pass.
On average, taxpayers can figure out what that’ll mean for their bill by multiplying their previous year’s tax bill by that 4.4 percent. So a house or business that pays $10,000 in school taxes would pay $440 more a year if the budget passes — someone with a $6,000 bill would pay $264 more.
Parents and taxpayers worried about school security after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School will also have an opportunity to opt for $500,000 worth of “Health & Safety” upgrades to the schools. The bond initiative would also include upgrades like emergency lighting at the high school and Duzine Elementary School and fire-suppression equipment at the middle school.
Winning school board candidates will serve a term lasting until 2016.
Here’s what the candidates had to say about why they’re running and what they stand for:
Why did you decide to run for school board?
I have two daughters — I have one that’ll be in kindergarten next year, and I have one that’ll be in third grade next year. And I just really feel like, in these next few years, a lot of decisions are going to be made within the school district that are going to impact our future in the schools. So I wanted to be a part of that decision making.
What experiences, skills or positions will make you a competent board member?
As you know, I ran unsuccessfully for the board last year, which really exposed me to a lot more information and people that I really needed to know. And I also serve on the Health Advisory Committee for the New Paltz schools, and I’m on the wellness subcommittee. So I’m quite familiar with the happenings of the school. I think that will be beneficial.
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the school district right now?
Obviously, it’s the lack of funding by New York State. But more on the home front, it really seems to be the condition of our schools — and what we do about the schools moving forward.