PELHAM, N.Y. Finishing with more than 1,000 votes, Madeline Smith won the four-candidate Pelham Board of Education election in May and she is now looking forward to joining her colleagues July 10 as an official member.
There is so much to do, and I am anxious to get started, said Smith, who will be inducted along with Michael Recca . My mission is to learn as much as I can this first year, particularly with respect to public education finance and school governance. I also intend to get involved with mandate-relief advocacy.
Besides mandate relief advocacy, some of the other challenges facing Pelham over the next year include having to choose a new superintendent to replace the retiring Dennis Lauro and interim Charlie Wilson , work on keeping the 2013-2014 school budget under the New York state-mandated tax levy cap and negotiate with teachers on expiring contracts.
Although not yet officially board members, Recca and Smith have been allowed to take part in closed-door, executive session board meetings since the election , and she appreciates that.
Smith and Recca will be replacing former President Robert Eicher and Doug Hearle. The two chose not to run for re-election and were honored for their years of service to the Pelham School District before their final board meeting on June 19.
During her campaign, the mother of a son at Colonial Elementary School and a daughter in college, proposed casual meetings between members of the board and residents of Pelham and Pelham Manor. That continues to be one of her goals as she enters the first year of her three-year term.
I hope to engage with members of the community as frequently as possible so that I am aware of what they like about our school system as well as what they find concerning, said Smith.
She commended the current board for its depth of knowledge and said she "hopes to learn from their experience."
They have all been very welcoming and willing to share information, which has been extremely helpful for me, said Smith.
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