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Tarrytown School Board Candidates Debate Challenges

Tarrytown school board candidates participated in a forum Tuesday night at the John Paulding School.
Tarrytown school board candidates participated in a forum Tuesday night at the John Paulding School. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns will face many challenges in the next few years, Board of Education candidates said in a public forum.

The League of Women Voters of Westchester and the EPTA of the Tarrytowns hosted a candidates' forum at the John Paulding School Tuesday night, drawing a small handful of parents and community members.

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Board of Education for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns: Jennifer Liddy Green, Carol Banino, Vincent Nadile and John Paine. Nadile is the only incumbent. Election Day is May 21.

Two open seats are three-year terms. The third seat is a one-year term from school board member Sheila Conklin's term. Conklin announced she was stepping down the board earlier this year. The two candidates with the highest number of votes will take the three-year term seats. The third-highest candidate will take the one-year seat.

Banino was unable to participate in Tuesday's forum.

Candidates agreed the district faced many challenges because of the tax cap and certain state requirements, such as retirement and pension costs.

Paine called it “an extraordinary burden” and said he thought working with state officials and organizing a grassroots campaign was the best solution to the problem.

“The intent of the two percent tax cap was admirable,” he said, “but it was too simple a solution  for too complicated a process.”

Candidates differed on how to group students in classes, with Nadile arguing that students with like-abilities should be taught together, unlike the current “heterogeneous” grouping.

“I'm not overwhelmed by what I see,” he said.

Paine, whose daughter transitioned from a special education program to a regular class, said his daughter had benefited from the current setup, but acknowledged the district needed to find a way to challenge academically talented students.

Green said she preferred the current grouping because students can change so much through the years.

Candidates agreed that the Dual Language program was an important district asset. Green said it was “one of our strengths,” but said officials needed to look at whether it could be streamlined or cut back in such a way to be more cost-effective.

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