to fill two upcoming vacancies on the Briarcliff Manor school board, Dina Brantman and Michael Haberman are assured seats when the board reorganizes in July.
They will join current board members Sal Maglietta and Jennifer Rosen, along with Vice President Rosella Ranno.
Current President Guy Rotondo and Trustee Eric Bashford will not seek re-election.
To give residents a preview of the district’s new board, Patch asked each newcomer to address issues of current importance, much as candidates would debate them. Brantman's responses appear below while Haberman's can be seen by clicking .
Familiar faces, and voices, at meetings of the school board, neither Brantman nor Haberman can accurately be termed a newcomer.
Brantman has lived in Briarcliff for almost nine years with her husband, Rob, and their three children. A 15-year-old attends the , a 10-year-old is at and a 5-year-old, now at , will enter kindergarten at Todd in the fall.
An eight-year member of the Briarcliff Manor Education Foundation, she served two years as co-president. Most recently, Brantman co-chaired the Briarcliff School District , which studied the district’s capital needs and , which will be on the ballot in this month’s election. In the Todd school PTA, Brantman was co-chairperson of the class parent committee, a class parent for several years, a Brownie leader and coach in the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO).
Patch: Should building principals have more input into board discussions/policy-making? If so, how would you achieve that?
Brantman: The Board of Education is charged with setting policy for the district. To do that, the principals must be an intrinsic part of the discussion and the process that informs the BOE and gives them the crucial information necessary to make decisions and set policy. One of the positions I promoted in my campaign was restoring a dialogue with both our administrators and our community. I think it's important for the board to hear from our principals since they are the people who interact with our children, our teachers, staff and our programs every day and they have the deepest and broadest knowledge of our schools. Their input about what works and what doesn't is invaluable. As a board member I would welcome their input and hope they felt comfortable with sharing both successes and challenges with the superintendent and the board; this is the only way we can work to constantly improve our school district.
Patch: Two major issues have already been decided. Do you agree with the board’s and ?
It's difficult to answer that question with a yes or no answer. I have not been a sitting board member and, particularly with the fields, I do not have access to all the information that has been presented to the board about the fields since some discussion has taken place during privileged discussions with attorneys. Based on the information that has been presented to the public, I believe that the remedy approved by the board is appropriate if approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and all the work and the subsequent monitoring is carried out according to plan.
With regard to the teacher-aide dismissals, many parents are concerned about this change and I am also concerned. I am concerned about instituting such a large-scale change in one year and the possibility for a large amount of turnover with the new assistants. I am also concerned that there are still some unanswered questions about the implementation of the details of the plan on a day-to-day basis. I do disagree with the process by which the aides were dismissed and I am concerned that the absence of these people who have worked in the district for many years, especially at Todd school, will be felt most by our children. Since the plan has already been approved and set in motion, as a board member I will be asking for information to monitor the plan closely to make sure it is working for the students and the teachers.
Patch: What other issues do you especially want to address when you join the board and why?
I hope to address several issues as a new board member. A few that come to mind instantly are:
SETTING policy regarding implementing an integrated k-12 curriculum;
LOOKING at ways to integrate technology into the curriculum to keep pace in our ever-changing world;
ENSURING tax dollars are allocated with careful consideration to both efficiency and education;
ADOPTING a policy of critical evaluation to assess whether changes to programming and curriculum are are working effectively; and,
CHANGING the public comment process at BOE meetings to encourage community input. All these issues contribute in a unique way to improve our school district and the education we are providing our children.