LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Richard Stone has lived in Cross River for 22 years. He got involved in Lewisboro schools and students when his son entered kindergarten. Over the years he has been a Cub Scout leader, an adult supervisor for the speech and debate team, has served on the FACE committee, and is currently a community member of the Katonah-Lewisboro School Board’s Finance Committee.
Stone grew up in Cincinnati, spent four years in the U. S. Navy, earned a BA in economics and MBA in finance at the University of Cincinnati and went on to work in the financial industry. He is now semi-retired. His son is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia Law School.
What would you bring to the Board based upon your life experience as a parent or community member, or in your occupation or profession?
I have had lots of financial experience with lots of different kinds of companies, solving big problems and small ones. I have developed and instituted policy changes among people and organizations with diverse objectives. My experiences have taught me that any problem can be resolved, as long as everyone is dedicated to resolving it.
Considering the current budgetary limitations, what should the Board’s main priorities be?
We have to ensure that the education we provide maintains its excellence. We cannot let current economic conditions threaten that. Make no mistake, Katonah-Lewisboro is on a path that is unsustainable into the future. The work of the Board’s Finance Committee has demonstrated that we cannot afford to keep to this path. We need to make significant changes to salaries, pension, and medical benefits in order to provide for all of our students.
What special challenges are there in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District and how would you address them?
The greatest challenge we face is, of course, the budget. In the face of the tax-levy cap, the declining school population and the contractual obligations we have in the labor contracts, we have to find our way to providing the education we expect as parents and taxpayers in a sustainable manner.
Is there any particular project or program you’d like to see introduced to the educational system?
KLSD is focused on college preparation. I would like to institute a program which tracks our high school graduates and measures our success in preparing them for college. I would like such a program to go beyond aggregating standardized test scores, and focus on how well our graduates transition into this very important phase of their formal education. I would like to establish a committee of teachers, guidance counselors, and community members to develop this process.
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