- Since the law changed from appointed to elected school board members, over 90% of school board members have resided within North End elementary school districts. What are your thoughts on this?
Adina Berrios Brooks: Recent school board elections suggest that there is greater participation and involvement in this process from other areas of New Rochelle. Given that school board membership is at-large, it is vital that every board member seeks to represent the entire city, regardless of where they live. We must also do more to promote higher turnout in school board elections.
Katie Castellano Minaya: Since the BOE election is an at-large New Rochelle election, it is imperative that ANY candidate, wherever they live, works to outreach to families throughout New Rochelle. No one should be running to just represent one school or one geographic area. They should be partnering with communities throughout New Rochelle in order to hear the hopes and concerns of ALL families. I think it is extremely concerning that there are no Spanish speaking BOE members considering that our district has so many Spanish speaking families. Also, we need to do more outreach to make sure that our community knows Spanish translation is available at BOE meetings. My hope is that all BOE members work to ensure that the concerns of those who have historically been most marginalized and silenced would be elevated. This will require relationship building, listening, and advocacy, all strengths I possess.
Barbara D’Alois: I would ask, “Why is that?” What makes the candidates from the North End favorites when election day is upon us. Is no one else willing to stand up and run? No, that’s not the case. By coincidence or design, parents are drawn out on election day to their schools with presentations, assemblies and performances. Perhaps this hold that the BOE has on the voting process does not reach out to all community members. Pre-ordained candidates, promoted by the board or board members, need to be a thing of the past. That being said, I do not believe that community members can only be represented by those who live near them or look like them. It is the responsibility and job of a board member to reach out to the community and to hear their concerns, priorities and thoughts. Your vote should be for someone who believes in the same things that you do, but is also willing to listen to you.
Christopher Daniello:Did not answer.
Stephen A. DiDonato: Ideally the board would be more representative of New Rochelle’s geographic diversity. By not having board members from all corners of our city, it might leave some people out of the discussion, and feeling disregarded.
However, forcing districts in the BOE, like our city council might leave some of our brightest minds out.
I’d like to see more across the board participation, citywide. That can all start with more open access to meetings, and not stonewalling communication.
Sharon D. Footes: I believe the only way to change this is to follow or adopt the New Rochelle City Council model of dividing the city into district so only residents from those districts can represent them on the board. This is integral to ensuring fairness and equity throughout the city school district.
Matthew T. Hirschman: I’ve spent the majority of my life in New Rochelle on the Southside. I hope to break that trend. Objectively speaking a persons address should not blur their visions or opinions.
Michael Leone: I think this may be attributed to the fact the most people residing in the North End are homeowners where there is a large population of renters in all other areas of New Rochelle. A homeowner may have more interest in the District operating efficiently as it directly effects their tax dollars and property values.
Timothy McKnight: It’s extremely important to have a diverse elect of Board Members who live throughout the city and have firsthand experiences within different segments of our community. I grew up in New Rochelle in the Bracey Apartments on Main Street. I personally know what its like to grow up in the South End of New Rochelle, and a person who has not lived here and has not experienced what these kids experience cannot possibly relate to them or understand the barriers they endure just to access an equitable education. The voices of the community cannot rely on assumptions; it must be based on first-‐hand knowledge of the experiences these students endure in our district.
Mario A. Scarano: I believe the only way to change this is to follow or adopt the New Rochelle City Council model of dividing the city into district so only residents from those districts can represent them on the board. This is integral to ensuring fairness and equity throughout the city school district.
Julia Taylor: One of the reasons I am running for the board is to hopefully be one of those members from the South End of New Rochelle. As a resident of Sycamore Park, I would like to see additional representation from all parts of New Rochelle.
Donald Vega: My thoughts are NR residents need to vote every year at every level, and anyone who wants to run for office should run for office. If you have high engagement, the end results will be far better. If anyone still needs convincing that voting is super important in 2020, then I don’t know what to tell you. Your address doesn’t speak to your commitment to the cause. I wouldn’t make any negative prejudgments on people on the northside than I would about me being on the “southside”.