Four people are running for two positions on the Johnsburg Central School Board this year.
Mark Richards will be running for re-election and Frank Morehouse Jr. has decided not to run again. The other candidates are Rachel DeGroat, Tony Moro and Amy Sabattis. These are three-year positions.
Voting will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 at the Johnsburg Central School. We asked the candidates a set of questions. Here are their answers.
Why are you running for school board? I think I would be a good asset. I feel I can make a difference, and I care about the kids in school and I care about the community.
What experiences do you bring to the board? I’ve been co-president of the PTSA for the past two years. I have been president and vice president of Cheerful Crickets (Nursery School). I’ve been director of VBS at my local church. I have four kids. Two of them are in school, and I’ve spent lots of time in school with the kids in the classroom. I try to spend as much time as I can … if they need help in the classroom.
Key issues for the school district? I think it’s keeping a delicate balance between a budget that is reasonable for the local community and a good quality education for kids in school. I think those are the biggest issues, and they’re going to have to find the right balance there.
Other comments: It would be an honor for me to be on the school board, and I think that I would really do a good job. I think that I am in touch with the community because I’m out there with my kids’ activities. And I think that I would be an asset.
Anthony “Tony” Moro
Tony Moro has had a 40-year career in banking and finance, half of it abroad. He has long been interested in and committed to education. As a student he attended both public and private schools, and also served as a basketball and baseball coach for kids in New York City as well as counselor and tennis coach at Adirondack Camp on Lake George.
In the past, Moro served on two K-12 school boards, as well as on the International Advisory Board at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. More recently he was Chair of the Education Committee of the Business Counsel of New York State, and was a founding board member of the Leadership Charter School for Girls in Albany, sponsored by The Brighter Choice organization.
Together with other concerned citizens Moro helped found the Johnsburg Central School Citizens Budget Committee (JCS-CBC). This is an entity committed to high quality education for all students within a carefully structured budget in which expenditures are rigorously managed so as to avoid waste and ensure that required tax funding is always maintained within sustainable levels.
If elected, Moro believes the JCS Board and School Administration should: A) obtain community input for significant financial commitments, including all multi-annual contracts which should be fully costed out and made public; B) insure everyone is informed of financial pitfalls that lie ahead so they can be avoided or properly planned for; and C) coordinate the best available internet course offerings (such as math, science) with classroom efforts of JCS teachers; D) study combining certain course offerings and activities with nearby schools; and E) welcome parents and community members to observe, silently, teacher-student interaction in the classroom.
Why are you running for School Board? I'm a fourth-generation resident and a second-generation board member (who's served 12 years). My father, Brian Richards Sr., was here in the 1980s and ’90s. And I work in another school district (as a gym teacher at Wells Central School), so I have seen what works and maybe what doesn’t.
What experience will you bring to the School Board? I’m a volunteer soccer, modified baseball and baseball coach in the Johnsburg district. So I know the kids, what they are like, what they’re trying to accomplish.
The more involved you are with the kids, the more you want to fight for them.
What are the key issues the school district is currently facing? The biggest issue is what the state is doing to schools. It’s not expenditures that are hurting us. It’s the unfunded state mandates. New York state has 200 special-ed laws on top of the federal government's special-ed laws, and a lot of them come unfunded. At the same time, the state allows our health care costs to grow by double digits.
Our kids are receiving a well-rounded high-quality education, but that’s getting harder to do with unfunded mandates while revenue continues to decrease. All the while you know that public education is a burden on taxpayers.
I want the school to be great without burdening taxpayers to the point where they can’t support it.
Other comments: My one thing is, and it’s been a platform for me for a long time: Education is the most important thing a community can give its children. Parents give them morals and values; the community gives education.
To graduate classes without the tools to survive is so devastating to kids. All kids, from the top to bottom in terms of performance, deserve to get those tools.
Why are you running for School Board? I am a very involved parent who would like to ensure that all students continue to receive a high quality education. I believe that academically challenging our students in a supportive caring environment is essential for not only their future but for the wellbeing of our community. I also understand the economic hardships that taxpayers face and would encourage the board members to explore the budget in depth for possible financial savings.
What experience will you bring to the School Board? For many years I have worked with a non-profit organization's Program and Planning Committee. I am very familiar with the process of surveying needs, setting goals, how to meet the needs of the organization, and following up on how programs impact individuals. I believe that this type of experience could be very useful to Johnsburg Central School in setting and realizing goals for our students.
What are the key issues the school district is currently facing? To continue to support teachers, to improve curriculum and invest in technology aids for the students. Second, improving communication between the school and community. The board members’ responsibility is to be a conduit between the public and school officials. Listening to the needs of both parties and coming up with the best solutions through prioritizing, researching sources of funding, and the possible formation of sub-committees to help facilitate and accomplish goals.
Other comments: I decided to run for a seat on the school board because I want to ensure that my daughter and all students continue to receive a quality education in spite of budget constraints.
Our school will be facing many challenges in the future and I believe I can help make a difference. I would appreciate your vote on May 15.