Monroe-Woodbury School Board candidate profiles


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  • Tuesday, May 16, 2017




  • Don Beeler




  • Dan Ezratty




  • Jon Huberth




  • Sylvia Stanley-Dummett



— Four people are running for three open seats on the Monroe-Woodbury School Board in next Tuesday's election. These positions are unpaid and carry a three-year term.

Voters on May 16 also will be asked to vote on a proposed $171.2 million spending plan and to give the district authorization to purchase 12 vehiles.

The Q&As that follow are the candidates' responses to a series of questions posed by The Photo News.

The candidates appear in alphabetical order.

Don BeelerPersonal: I have lived in Monroe for over 30 years. Both of my sons graduated from the Monroe-Woodbury School District and my youngest son and his wife just bought a home in Monroe. I am a very active member of our community. I am the Chairman of Orange Regional Medical Center and sit on the board of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System. I have been on the Monroe-Woodbury Board of Education for three years, and I currently sit on the Audit Committee and serve as the chairman of the Facilities Committee.

Why are you running for the school board?

We have some very big challenges with finance, facilities and long term strategy and I have been part of making positive adjustments and changes to improve the long-term viability of the district, its curriculum and our employees.

What is the most pressing issue that the School District will face in the coming school year? What can you - as an individual school board member and/or as part of the entire school board - do about it? Please be as specific as possible.

Long term Strategy and financial modeling.

All our major issues fall into this area. I helped change the district from a one-year financial plan to a three-year plan. We are now working on a five-plus year financial plan.

The last two years we have had building principals present there building budgets to the public … that never happened before. You can’t have a financial or instructional plan without a long-term strategy. New York State does not require or have any guidelines for preparing long range strategic plans for school districts. We have started the process and already saved money with modest changes.

How do you see the expected increase in population in Monroe, Woodbury and Blooming Grove affecting the school district? Please be as specific as possible.

We are in the process of doing a demographic study for Monroe-Woodbury. Depending on the outcome, we will be able to plug the projected student population numbers into our plan and understand how this will affect the district now and in the future.

You must put many factors into a model, it can be very complex. Student growth is one factor, and the type of students making up the mix can have a bigger factor. An average student cost the district approximately $16,000 and a special needs student can cost more than $100,000.

My focus is building a model that looks at many factors so we can make better decisions.

Dan EzrattyPersonal

I am a social studies teacher in the East Ramapo Central School District, where I have taught Middle School for 18 years. For the past 15 summers, I have also worked as a camp administrator for the Town of Ramapo Department of Parks and Recreation. I earned a B.S. in marketing and human resource management from SUNY Buffalo, and a master of science in teaching from Iona College. I live in Monroe with my wife, Sheryl, and my two children who attend M-W middle school.

Why are you running for the school board?

I am running for re-election because there is more work to be done.

It is important that the school board have members of the community who not only understand the challenges the district faces but can also work together to resolve them. I have worked hard to improve Monroe-Woodbury and will continue to do so if re-elected.

What is the most pressing issue that the School District will face in the coming school year?

There are many issues that the district is facing and all of them must be addressed simultaneously. The annexation of land by the village of Kiryas Joel is still not settled, Governor Cuomo and the N.Y.S. DOT are fast-tracking the redevelopment of the Route 32 corridor and our districts infrastructure and athletic facilities are in need of repairs and improvements. Only when you look at how these separate issues are interconnected can we make the best decisions for the school district.

What can you - as an individual school board member and/or as part of the entire school board - do about it?

Being part of the Board of Education means you are part of a team. The challenges Monroe-Woodbury faces can be handled because our board members have diverse backgrounds and experience, we stand up for our beliefs and work together for the best outcome for students, parents and taxpayers.

How do you see the expected increase in population in Monroe, Woodbury and Blooming Grove affecting the school district?

Monroe-Woodbury is committed to the education of all student in our district. As our community changes, we will make necessary adjustments to ensure every student continues to receive an exceptional education.

Jon HuberthPersonal

Degrees – Amherst College and Yale University; video producer for colleges and nonprofits; Manhattanville College Adjunct Professor; 12 years School Board service; wife a Pine Tree teacher; daughters M-W graduates.

Why are you running for the school board?

To continue the work of the past three years – creating long-term strategic plans for curriculum and financial stability into the future. Continue to improve staffing – we hired well-respected Superintendent, Elsie Rodriguez, and a top-notch central administration team.

What is the most pressing issue that the School District will face in the coming school year?

Creating a comprehensive facilities plan to upgrade and consolidate all district buildings and totally revamp the main athletic campus. We are working to obtain state funds to finance the vast majority of this project, so that it doesn’t fall on taxpayer shoulders.

What can you - as an individual school board member and/or as part of the entire school board - do about it? Please be as specific as possible.

The Board initiated this effort and is working with staff and architects on the facility plan and funding with an eye toward reducing future operating expenses.

The board now works together as a team, hand-in-hand with administration, in a collegial and productive manner.

How do you see the expected increase in population in Monroe, Woodbury and Blooming Grove affecting the school district? Please be as specific as possible.

Population increase impacts the entire community. Our school district represents our community. We will insure that Monroe-Woodbury will continue to serve all our students and taxpayers in a responsible manner and will advocate for any district boundary change, should that be in the best interest of the district and its taxpayers.

Sylvia Stanley-DummittPersonal:

Bachelors of science degree in behavioral science; masters of arts in education administration and supervision; designed and managed schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Harlem. Former Owner and Principal of God’s Kids Academy Grades Pre-K through 5th Grade. Educational consultant designing programs and managing three school programs in NYC. Presently the pastor of Cathedral of Hope Seventh-day Worship Center and proud owner of Kingdom Consultants Educational Company.

Why are you running for the Monroe-Woodbury School Board.

The reason why I am running for the school board is to help design a program that would improve changes to the bullying problem on the school buses. I would also help to bring “Universal Pre-Kindergarten” for working parents. And help design a program for troubled youth moving from drugs to drug free lifestyle.

What will be the most pressing issue the school district will face this year?

It will be stabilization of the unions and designing a fair equity of salaries for occupations that provide services to our children that are non-teaching jobs, such as bus drivers, secretaries, monitors and custodians. And strategies for bringing more corporate dollars to off set the budget.

What can you do as an individual school board member or school board.

As an educational consultant I was responsible for writing grants for the “U.P.K” program in the Bronx and Manhattan. I would help to bring access to more corporation dollars to bring money for more programs for our students. I would also help design a program that would provided crisis intervention for “at risk families.”

How do you see the expected increase in population Monroe, Woodbury and Blooming Grove affecting the school district?

I see increase revenues that can help us provide better services for our students.

The Monroe Woodbury School District has a unique quality that represents the world we live in multi-cultural. This wonderful blend of people provides “Inclusion.” So our programs will reflect such great talent and diversity. With the initiative of Gov. Cuomo in bringing more corporation to the State of New York we can provide the workforce and in return benefit from the tax incentives that will be released.





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