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Westchester County, NY May 17, 2011 Election
Smart Voter

What do you see as the top three challenges facing your school district?

By Robert Andrew "Bob" Cox

Candidate for Member, Board of Education; New Rochelle City School District

This information is provided by the candidate
Robert Cox's position on three important challenges facing the district.
First, unfunded mandates and pension and health care costs continue to soar. An optimistic projection, out over the next five years, shows school expenses in 2016 will be over $270 million while revenues will be $255 million with a cumulative deficit of $35 million. This assumes an average tax increase of 5% and no decrease in state aid. The average tax increase over the past decade has been 7%. In short, unless property values listed on our tax rolls jump dramatically, the current financial structure of the district is unsustainable without massive tax increases or draconian cuts in services.

Second, declining graduation rates and academic performance for minority students at a time when the minority population has been increasing dramatically, especially Latinos, is a significant drag on overall performance, negatively impacting the perception of the quality of our school district. We have a lot of work to do to turn this around with new and expanded programs to support at-risk minority students.

Third, changing a "circle the wagons" culture which treats parents with a legitimate concern about services or treatment of their children in the schools as the enemy. In too many cases, the knee-jerk response of school officials to a parent with a grievance is to treat that parent as a likely litigant rather than a customer to be served. The result has been a self-fulfilling prophecy, a series of costly lawsuits that might otherwise have been avoided by showing proper respect and concern to the parent.

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ny/wst Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 13, 2011 14:50
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