Voters in the Nyack School District go to the polls next Tuesday to select trustees and approve a $71.3 million budget. Turnout is expected to be light, with only about 10-15 percent of registered voters casting a ballot on Tuesday, May 17. Polls open at 7a and close at 9p. Visit NyackSchools.com to find out where to vote.
NyackNewsAndViews.com has created a School Board Election page for each candidate to post materials about their campaign. Please note that all candidates have been provided an opportunity to post information about their candidacies — links are provided for those who submitted this information. NyackNewsAndViews has also offered free advertising to each campaign.
Here are the 2011 school board candidates:
- Leeann Irvin — A Nyack parent and a NYC attorney, Irvin says she moved to the district because of its racial, religious and socio-economic diversity. Among issues she would like to address is the district’s use of resources, improved communications and full disclosure by board members. “All candidates campaign [are] claiming they will improve disclosure. But the decisions facing the board next term necessitate early involvement by the members of our district,” she says. A former PTA president, Irvin criticized how the current board communicated last year’s Open Campus policy change during Monday night’s candidate’s forum. “Since I am not satisfied with the way communication is being handled now, you can be sure I will strive to change it.”
- Claudette Jimerson (incumbent) — is a retired educator from the Nyack School District running for her second term on the board of education. Jimmerson founded the district’s orchestral program for grades 4 through 12 and is responsible for the Jimerson Music Festival. She has lived in the district for over 30 years and is a graduate of Nyack High School. During last summer’s heated discussion about open campus and increased security at Nyack High School, Jimmerson voted with the majority of the board on July 6 for a pilot program to rescind open campus privileges for under underclassmen prior to taking public input on the issue. School Board president Michael Lagana subsequently apologized to the public for the decision making process regarding Open Campus.
- Thomas LaColla (incumbent) — First elected to the board in 2009, LaColla works in the banking industry and is a member of the Trade Finance Crisis Task Force of the Bankers’ Association for Finance and Trade. Regarding the 2011 budget and the future of funding education in the district, LaColla says there are no easy answers and the board is in a very unenviable position. “Choices are going to be made that will not make all constituents happy or satisfied with the state of the system or its prospects,” he says. “We need individuals that can add value to the process without conflict, without bias and with full disclosure to the community.” LaColla is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Rockland Parent Child Center. Along with sitting board member Claudette Clarke, LaColla voted against the open campus pilot program in July, 2010.
- James Marshall — is the parent of two Nyack School District children who is running for the board for the first time. “The issues facing the NSD carry a tremendous amount of responsibility and accountability,” says Marshall. “It is both humbling and weighty to be responsible for decisions that affect the day-to-day lives of so many children, faculty and administrators.” Marshall is a former member of the Rockland Parent Child Center board and the Liberty Elementary Liberty School PTA. He also participated in the 1997-98 study of Nyack Schools which examined achievement gaps by race in the school district.
Supporters who have posted endorsements for the candidates include:
- Bryan Burrell for Jimmerson, Irvin, Marshall
- Lance McGinnis for Tom LaColla
- Daniel Kaplan for Tom LaColla
- 4 candidates vie for 3 Nyack school board seats, Journal News 5/11/2011
- Q&A with James Marshall, Tom LaColla, Claudette Jimmerson, Leeann Irvin on patch.com, 5/10/2011