THORNWOOD, N.Y. – Four candidates will vie for three spots on the Mount Pleasant Central School District Board of Education next week. On the ballot, incumbent school board members Theresa Fowler, Vincent D’Ambroso and Jim Grieco will be challenged by Thomas McCabe.
The Daily Mount Pleasant spoke with candidate Jim Grieco about himself and his plans if he is re-elected on May 15.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
- Resident of Thornwood for 44 years
- Wife, Gina; three children ages 23, 16 and 13
- Senior Consultant in Recruitment Process Outsourcing Division of AonHewitt
- Current Vice President of the Mount Pleasant Central School District Board of Education
What other organizations are you involved with?
- Founding board member of the Mount Pleasant Wildcats Football, Cheerleading, and Lacrosse Club
- CYO Basketball Coach
- Sherman Park Little League Coach
- Board member of the Westlake Wildcats Football Booster Club
- Westlake Athletic Club member
- Member of the New York State School Boards Association
- Board of Education Liaison for facilities
What do you think is your biggest accomplishment while serving on the board?
JG: I think our biggest accomplishment has been staying within the two percent state tax cap. We were able to save some money by offering a successful advanced retirement incentive plan, negotiating our bond debt, and also a little help from the state in grants. But most importantly over the last three years we’ve been very fiscally responsible and built toward minimizing deep cuts.
In the scenario where reductions must be made in the future in order to stay under the 2 percent tax cap, what areas would you look at if you are re-elected?
JG: Each year we take a look at everything within the district. The last thing we want to do is cut anything that can drastically affect our students. And over the past few years we’ve been able to maintain things like athletics, class sizes, and our arts. But going forward I think it would be beneficial to maybe look at being creative in resolving some our collective bargaining agreements and saving some money there.
What do you think are the three biggest issues currently in the district and if you are re-elected to the board how do you plan to resolve them?
JG: The biggest issues are the 2 percent tax cap, unfunded mandates, and the Annual Professional Performance Review. We’ve been very active recently in working with legislators to receive mandate relieve. Senator Ball was invited to our schools recently to speak with members of the community, where residents were able to express their concerns about receiving mandate relief from the state. We’re also active members of the New York State School Boards Association and the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association in working toward receiving mandate relief. And as far as APPR goes, it’s been all over the board with what our teachers need to do. So we want to clear all of that up to make sure that our teachers and faculty members are treated fairly and with respect and receive their proper appraisal.