Residents of the Dobbs Ferry School District will take to the polls on Tuesday, May 21 to vote for three school board members, as well as the 2013-14 budget.
There are four candidates vying for three spots on the board. Jeff O’Donnell, Meg Lauer and Mike Goldman are running to keep their seats, while Louis Schwartz will challenge the incumbents for a three-year term on the school board.
Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Dobbs Ferry High School Gym, 505 Broadway.
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Read below to learn more about your school board candidates.
Name: Meg Lauer
How long have you lived in the village? For 12 years, we moved to Dobbs Ferry in July 2001
Family: My husband Mark and two wonderful daughters. Erin graduated from Dobbs Ferry High School in 2005 and American University in 2009. She currently lives in Washington, DC and works for Save the Children. Maureen graduated from Dobbs Ferry High School in 2010 and is currently a senior at Loyola University, Chicago. She is studying elementary education.
What do you do for a living? I consider myself a full-time community volunteer.
How long have you done this? Since 1991 when my oldest daughter Erin started preschool
What is your education background?
- Loyola University Chicago, BA Political Science, 1980
- Loyola University Chicago, MBA Human Resources Administration, 1984
Are you involved in any other community-oriented roles?
Volunteer docent and tour guide at The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, where I lead school group tours
- Dobbs Ferry Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) where I served two years as co-President and two years as High School Vice President
- Board of Elections Inspector for Westchester County
- Dobbs Ferry Historical Society
- Volunteer Historical Interpreter at Washington Irving’s home, Sunnyside
How long have you served on the school board? This July, I will have completed my first three-year term on the Dobbs Ferry Board of Education
School board member compensation: None
Why do you want to continue as a member of the school board?
- I’m excited about the direction our district has recently taken over the past few years and want to continue to be a part of this dynamic process.
Why did you originally want to join the school board?
- As a parent and community volunteer I had attended board meetings to learn about the decision making process. Once my youngest daughter graduated from Dobbs Ferry High School, I wasn’t ready to leave all those years of being a school volunteer behind. I didn’t have any agenda or special plan to advocate, I just wanted to continue to serve our schools and our community.
Why are you an ideal candidate for school board and why should you be elected to another term?
- Without a child in the school system, I represent many in the community who want to maintain a balance between a great school system and having reasonable taxes. There’s a steep learning curve as a member of a Board of Education, and after one term, I’m feeling very comfortable in that role.
What are your greatest accomplishments as a member of the school board?
- Our Board of Education works together as a cohesive team, so no personal accomplishments, just well thought out and collective decision making. We have hired several new and talented administrators who are leading the school district towards our set goals. Our budgets are carefully planned and continually analyzed to be responsible, sustainable and affordable. We have new science classrooms in our high school and will begin construction of a new Commons (formerly Middle/High School cafeteria) in the next few months.
What are the biggest issues facing the school district? How would you address these issues?
- Budgeting is always an issue, and again, and striving for balance between our great school system and reasonableness in taxes is our aim. Exploration of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program for our 6-10 grade students has begun. We are all eager to see the forthcoming results to determine if it’s a right fit for Dobbs Ferry schools and our students.
What is your opinion on the district’s proposed 2013-14 budget?
- It is a good budget given today’s economic times. Our administrators worked hard and strived to balance of what we needed versus what we desire. During the budget process, I always did my very best to listen to local community members, to make prudent fiscal adjustments whenever possible.
What is the most important thing to you when it comes to the district’s budget?
- Sustainability and fiscal responsibility is very important to me. I don’t want to see a small tax increase this year by using monies that were set aside for reserves that then equates to a much larger tax increase the following year after the reserve fund is depleted. It might be an easier budget to get approved by the voters, but it’s not sustainable, or responsible.
What is your favorite thing about the school district?
- Our school district is such a melting pot—we have vast economic, social and ethnic diversity in our system and are able to educate all of our students to be ready for the next critical steps in their lives.
Anything else you would like to add…
- Yes, get out and vote on Tuesday, May 21. I believe in Dobbs Ferry and its wonderful school system. I take seriously the challenges that face our schools and our community as a whole.