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Pelham's Rosskopf Seeks Election to School Board

PELHAM, N.Y. — Christine Rosskopf is running for a spot on the Pelham Board of Education, and she believes that her background in law — plus having two kids at Siwanoy Elementary School — will help her chances of winning and improving the board.

Rosskopf sees her decision to run “almost as an obligation to step up, because here I am dealing with all of these elementary parents on these issues,” she said of her work on the Siwanoy PTA, site-based council and attendance at board meetings.

“I really believe you need every aspect of the community represented, including retirees and people who don’t have kids in the school. That’s an important perspective to have, too,” she said. “You can’t go hog-wild with the finances. People have to pay the taxes. There really is no one with any elementary perspective at all.”

The mother of two moved from Switzerland, where her husband worked, to Pelham four years ago. She grew up in Ohio and earned her degree in organizational communications at Youngstown State before receiving her law degree from George Washington Law School.

Prior to living in Switzerland, Rosskopf was a practicing attorney in Los Angeles, dealing with complex litigation and regulatory work; she thinks this experience, along with being an involved mother, will help if she’s elected to a spot on the board.

“With a background in organizational communications to start with, you sort of understand how to wade through a lot of rhetoric and sort of get down to what the real message is,” she said. “Second is the background in law – I can read regulations, I’ve dealt with regulations, I’ve dealt with regulators, I’ve dealt actually with legislators, legislation passed, I’ve done all of that. I’m familiar reading that sort of stuff and understanding that sort of thing. It doesn’t look foreign, it doesn’t look scary. I can read it and understand what it means. The background in training in negotiations will be very useful.”?

Rosskopf said the biggest issue the board faces “is the budget” because it “impacts a lot of other areas,” including class sizes and “how they’re going to focus on programs.”

The second issue she spoke about was how the board operates, which she said “needs to change.” Rosskopf would rather the board focus more on the “resources in Pelham” than “spending money on consultants and buying studies.”

“When they have questions and when they have things that need to be looked at, there are people here that are willing to do it,” she said. “A lot of people here can volunteer for one-offs — one-time, discrete projects. They can find the time to do that and they volunteer and it’s in their area of expertise.”

The Pelham resident also believes “there’s no excuse for closed meeting” or “not having documents available before meetings.”

She is open to discussion and debate, which she said is not always necessarily a bad thing.

“People have said that I’m fair and I’m willing to listen to all sides sort of before making a decision. I tend to be open and I try very much to give everyone a fair hearing and really consider an issue before I make a decision on it.”

The election for the Board of Education will take place May 15. Right now, there are four candidates running for two spots, because board President Robert Eicher is not running again and Doug Hearle is seeking re-election. Rosskopf, Michael Recca and Madeline Smith are looking for their first election to the board.

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