On May 17, Marlboro residents will be voting, not only for the school budget, but for two school board candidates. The terms are for three years.
Frank Milazzo is running again for the Marlboro School Board, after being defeated in the last election cycle. He has previously served for 9 years, several as board Vice President and as President, and is running for his 4th non-consecutive term.
Milazzo has been a resident of Marlborough for more than 30 years and serves as a volunteer firefighter with the Milton Engine Co #1 and is an active member of the Marlboro Milton-Lions Club.
Milazzo explained his reason for again seeking a seat on the board. He feels his previous experience on the school board makes him uniquely qualified, pointing out that he manages a work force of 240 with a $60 million budget, “on a daily basis.” He is the Chief of Police for the Department of Environmental Protection for New York City, watching over the reservoirs in the Mid Hudson Valley region.
Milazzo cites three immediate issues facing the board; selecting a new school Superintendent, dealing with ongoing issues due to the pandemic and the uncertainty of the power plants in the Town of Newburgh and how that will impact taxpayers.
“We need to make sure we are meeting the needs of the entire school community by continuing our exceptional academic programs, the arts, clubs and sports,” he said. “The district is in a great financial position, but we need to further lower our fund balance to lower the tax levy on the residents while still fighting for fair aid from the state and making sure that everything possible is being done to keep the two power plants paying their fair share of taxes.”
First time candidate Jeffrey Hacker said he and his wife chose to move to Marlborough in large part because of the school district’s, reputation for excellence in education, the arts and sports.
“I would like to see some of the positive changes that we’ve had in the past several years continue but I would also like to see more diversity, inclusion and equity for the children of our school district,” he said. “As a taxpayer, I would like to see fiscal transparency and accountability. I believe the taxpayers and the parents should be aware of what we spend our money on for the children.”
Hacker has been in the computer field since 1992, working for Dutchess Community College, the Department of Transportation, St. Francis Hospital and Mohonk Mountain House doing end-user support, inventory and hardware-software server support. In addition he has served as the micro-computer network support technician for the Arlington School district for the past 21 years.
“I have learned on this journey is to treat people with respect and kindness, listen to their problems and come up with solutions. I would apply this to the position of board trustee if I am elected. My goal is to be responsible and transparent and bring respect back to the table.”
Rebecca Rhodes-Boykin is a Marlborough native, a mother of three children of color with special needs and is a first time candidate for the school board. She seeks to, “be a voice of those who are vastly underrepresented currently, such as people of color, home-schoolers, and those with disabilities.”
Boykin is a consultant to small business start-ups and also teaches children who are home schooled. She said she is running in part to focus on racism and bullying in the community and in the schools.
“It is sadly a growing problem that needs to be addressed. We need to implement a zero tolerance policy for bullying and educate kids on race and disabilities,” she said.
Boykin promises to be a voice for those, “who have, up until now, been unseen and unrepresented in our district. I will continue to educate on the importance of seeing color, and be willing to listen and relay messages to the board/school on behalf of all not just a select few.”
JoAnn Reed has served on the school board for a total of 10 years.
“I feel my continued presence will help preserve the rights of all children and taxpayer concerns. I am not afraid to ask questions or stand my ground for what I believe the community has asked me to stand for,” she said. “I know we can continue to do better and hope I continue to be part of the solution and challenges we all face living in a small town.”
Reed has a financial background stretching back 33 years, holding a certificate in accounting, as an administrator and office manager, a former bank teller, bookkeeper and personnel supervisor.
“I know the community needs to believe we have their best interests at heart,” she said. “I was a volunteer advocate for Special Education, supporting the student’s families attending CSE/CPSE meetings for 15 years prior to serving the board. I stand by my promise to preserve all rights for all students and programs while keeping consideration of my communities tax burden.”
Reed highlighted several important issues for her.
“Staying transparent, financially responsible, and preserving the trust and respect of the community,” she said. “I will continue to ask questions in holding the district accountable in financial discussions, making sure it is necessary and coming up with resolutions to accomplish our goals in an agreeable and respectful way.”
Karen Brooks explained why she is seeking re-election to the school board.
“It is everyone working as a team that makes our schools and community a success. We are known for strong Academic, Athletics and Arts programs. I would love this to continue to grow in our schools with emerging programs like ‘Schools to Watch’ and ‘SOAR’ and so many other possibilities,” she said. “Being elected is important to me for my commitment to continue quality education and the development of our most precious treasure – our children, who are our future.”
Brooks has 30 years experience in the New York Schools – 7 years teaching and 23 years in administration.
“In these challenging times for public education, school boards are seeking individuals, like myself, who find excitement and satisfaction in confronting tough challenges and working collegially to rise above them and help students in their communities succeed above all obstacles,” she said.
Brooks believes all students should be given the academic, social, emotional, communication and life-skills, “needed to achieve in the world they will be living in and competing. Diversity, equity, and inclusion – is extremely important now, more than ever in this covid world. All kids need to have an equal chance and opportunity.”
Brooks promises to ensure that, “all students have options and access to quality education in our wonderful school system; making sure they have the skills to eventually compete in a global and competitive job market is my number one priority.”