Rockland County Times
Scott Walters is running for a spot on the Nanuet School Board for the seventh time in 10 years. Always being on the ballot means he’s waiting to be elected, then he’ll be on the ballot only once every three years.
Will 2013 and the seventh attempt be lucky, or will he be once again relegated to the status of ‘wait ‘til next year?’
“Many people are afraid of change. They feel very comfortable with the incumbents,” Scott said in a recent interview. “Today, more than ever, we need to have someone whose views are unorthodox, who has passion and creative vision to make things happen in new and different ways.”
Walters has been busy putting out position papers on various issues facing the residents not only of Nanuet but many other districts around the region. He has mentioned the testing conundrum and the issue of “Last In, First Out,” a central tenant to how school districts hire and fire. He will be addressing other topics important to the voters and posting them on a Facebook page he created called, “Scott Walters for Nanuet School Board.”
“It seems sad to me that the incumbents don’t have to put themselves out there except in small, controlled ways,” Walters mentioned. “They don’t have to have unique or creative ideas and can simply go with the flow of those around them. This is not a recipe for sustained success.”
Another area of difference between Scott and his two opponents, Ron Hansen and Karen Franchino, is the concept to hire a director of development and alumni relations to work on a commission-only basis. The director’s job would be to bring in money from government grants and corporations, get the best deals on supplies and build programs for the district. The idea has not flown with other candidates and current board members.
Walters believes it’s a no-brainer.
“The current board seems quite satisfied with allowing the only true revenue source for the district to be taxes, wither directly through property taxes or indirectly through money obtained through the state and federal government. Taxpayers are at the end of their collective rope and need relief, which a director of development will provide. Will it cure all the financial issues, no, but every bit will help.”
Walters believes a good director of development can keep annual tax rates at a 1 percent increase for the next several years. The state average has been 3 percent since the implementation of the tax cap by Albany.
The issue of “Last In, First Out” is one that hits close to home for Walters, as he was laid off because of this when a teacher in New Jersey on three different occasions. From one of his position papers:
…Parents are cheated out of passion filled teachers who want to be in the classroom (usually) and who want to bring the best of the best to their own children. ‘The system’ doesn’t make much sense to many parents, as they live and work in the private sector, where they play by an entirely different set of rules…Administrators…have to sadly tell other teachers who are perhaps better than their time is up much sooner than they would like. They will blame ‘the system’ as if ‘the system’ can’t be changed and fixed for the good of all.
Walters says that he would be open and transparent to all of the constituent groups in Nanuet. His Facebook page and possible Twitter account will allow residents of all ages access to him, his work on the board, and will let them communicate with him and each other. This, he says, would only benefit the community as a whole.
With three children in the schools as of next fall, Walters is in a unique position as his youngest is a daughter with special needs, the middle child a boy who receives some additional classroom support and another daughter who would be in a gifted program if Nanuet offered one. Compared to one incumbent, whose children have graduated some years ago, Scott has in-the-now knowledge and access to what really goes on in the schools. In 2014-2015, he notes that each of his three children would be in different schools in the district.
Walters said the “true qualifications” for a school board member are “passion for education,” “knowing what to do and when to do it,” the ability to communicate, and understanding that the goal is “education for all the best it can be at the best value possible.”