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Four Running In Contested Katonah-Lewisboro Elections

The current Katonah-Lewisboro school board, whose composition could either change or stay the same.
The current Katonah-Lewisboro school board, whose composition could either change or stay the same. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

LEWISBORO, N.Y. -- Incumbent Katonah-Lewisboro school board trustees Marjorie Schiff and Stephanie Tobin are running for re-election against challengers Anne Foray and Carmen Delessio.

The four candidates met and spoke at a candidate forum held last week at John Jay High School by members of the district's Parent Council, video shows.

The terms for Schiff and Tobin expire on June 30. Under Katonah-Lewisboro's at-large system, the top-two vote getters will be the winners of the elections.

Schiff, a Pound Ridge resident and the board's current president, cited the district's upcoming issues for why she is running again.

“I'm seeking a second term on the board because this is an exciting time for our school district," she said at the forum. "We have successfully implemented full-day kindergarten, reinstated instructional leaders to align curriculum in accordance with best practice and we are poised to welcome a visionary new superintendent.”

Tobin, a Waccabuc resident, touted her record in favor of limiting spending and in pushing for class electives at the secondary level.

“Quality, rigorous education at a reasonable expense; that's what I ran on in 2012 and I still stand for those things today," Tobin said at the forum. "I am the balance between quality education and reasonable expense.”

Tobin also brought up her roles in sitting on the district's finance committee, audit committee, school utilization committee and the committee for deciding what to do with Lewisboro Elementary School, which closed last year.

Delessio is Pound Ridge resident who made an unsuccessful bid last year for the board. At the forum, he noted that he will eventually transition from being an elementary school parent to roles including being a parent at the middle school, high school, an empty nester and then a senior citizen.

“Board members represent everyone in the district," he said at the forum. "That should not mean picking winners and losers.”

Foray, a Katonah resident, spoke critically of how the district's communications strategy has been handled, arguing that the board should contact members of the public now and see what they want for the next school year. She also criticized the current mission statement over its verbiage.

“What do they want?" Foray asked rhetorically at the forum. "What do they want their mission statement to be? What do they want the goals to be?”

Candidates at the forum were asked about top issues facing the district.

Delessio cited a concern about loss of identity in the community, while also expressing a desire to improve community relations. He also suggested having a long-term vision for the district instead of just having annual goals.

Foray contended that the community has not been given a chance to express their views before a school year, and blamed this for causing unrest at board meetings.

Schiff cited making sure there is student growth as problem solvers within the framework of state-mandated Common Core standards. She also expressed hope that Selesnick will help with regards to guidance through the mandated curricular issue.

Tobin cited handling the transition from an interim superintendent to a permanent one, along with how to handle declining student enrollment and its long-term impact on John Jay High School. With regards to the latter concern, Tobin raised a potential challenge that the district might have in continuing to provide its current breadth of courses if there are fewer students.

The full video of the candidates' forum can be viewed here.

Voting is scheduled to be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., with polling places corresponding to local elementary school attendance zones. The shuttered Lewisboro Elementary School will no longer serve as a polling place; the district notes that Increase Miller Elementary School and Meadow Pond Elementary School will be used instead.

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