by Rick Pezzullo –
Two incumbents and a newcomer are running unopposed for the Board of Education in the Tarrytown Union Free School District on May 15.
Longtime incumbents Mimi Godwin, who has been on the board since 1996, and B. Joseph Lillis, a trustee since the early 1990’s, will return for three more years apiece, while Michelle DeFilippis will earn her first term. Board member James Husselbee is not seeking a new term.
Godwin, the board president, has lived in Tarrytown most of her life and is a former teacher.
“I’m running for the Board of Education because in this role I get to practice what I have loved my whole life. I hope to continue to ensure our district firmly prepares each class of children to be successful and happy in their lives and future careers. I hope that we create new opportunities and experiences to enrich their time while they walk in our school’s hallways,” she said. “I especially hope to continue to be a caretaker of every taxpayer’s dollar and ensure that we are ever-mindful of the tax burden on the community. Lastly, I hope to continue to see our children graduate from our community with a focus on being caring and compassionate members of our society – a hallmark of the very people that make up our villages.”
“The district must continue to make the issues of health, safety and security of our students a top priority. Because of the age we live in, we have to constantly assess security measures in each school for the best systems, while being conscious of finding the right balance of solutions that make our children feel safe and comfortable,” she said. “Another issue our district needs to address is the state of our facilities. Just as we have to make continual improvements in our homes to maintain them before they become major expenses, the same is true for our aging facilities. Our district needs to replace 50-year-old boilers, windows and roofs, for example. We know these updates need to happen, but we need to approach these challenges in as cost-effective way as possible.”
Lillis said he was running for another term to oversee multi-year initiatives that have started.
“As you know, maintaining our physical plant to ensure the safety of our students is a major responsibility of the Board of Education. This year we are putting up two propositions that will allow us to maintain our physical plant. Continuing to invest in our infrastructure is very important. Many of our school facilities were built years ago,” he said. “A $6 million bond proposition and $2.2 million capital reserve fund proposition will allow us to accomplish these objectives. We will be making safety and security enhancements district wide, replacing windows, repairing roofs, repairing and replacing black top surfaces, etc.”
“Continuous improvement of the curriculum is also something that we are focused on and will continue to monitor closely,” Lillis continued. “Next year we will have a new director of curriculum and instruction so it will be important for the board to monitor activity here to ensure continuity. Over the past several years we have also replaced a number of our administrative team as a result of retirements and other activity.”
On May 15, district voters will also weigh-in on a $77.9 million budget for the 2017-18 school year, which carries a 4.99% tax hike for homeowners in Mount Pleasant and a 1.23% decrease for residents in Greenburgh.
Voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Winfield Morse Elementary School and Washington Irving Intermediate School.