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Get to Know Briarcliff Schools Candidate Haberman

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – With both Guy Rotondo and Eric Bashford not seeking reelection, newcomers Dina Brantman and Michael Haberman will vie for the two open spots on the Briarcliff Board of Education in the May 15 election.

Residents will have a chance to vote for the school board candidates on May 15 – the same day residents will vote on the district’s proposed $47.65 million budget. Brantman and Haberman recently spoke at a Meet the Candidates night on several issues.

The Daily Briarcliff asked each candidate to fill out a candidate questionnaire and some basic information. Below are Haberman's answers.

Name: Michael Haberman Age: 41 Occupation: President, PENCIL Family status: Married to Allison – two boys enrolled at Todd School Years lived in Briarcliff Manor: six and a half years.

1. What qualifies you to be a school board member?

Haberman: For the past five years, I've served as the president of PENCIL, a not-for-profit that works to improve student achievement by bringing the skills and business expertise of private sector leaders into public schools. Through PENCIL, I have developed a thorough understanding of the issues confronting public schools. I have a deep understanding of the policy decisions affecting our district, the increasingly rigorous standards our students must measure up to, the best practices being implemented in schools across the country and the constraints of limited financial resources. In other positions, I've had the delicate responsibility of representing multiple, sometimes conflicting constituencies. I oversaw government and community relations for NYU and, post 9/11, served as lead community relations executive for the organization charged with rebuilding lower Manhattan. I've reached out to competing groups, considered their opposing issues, weighed their concerns and developed solutions that took all parties' views into account. Finally, I've chaired, served on, or reported to a wide variety of boards, including the Caring Community Senior Center, Westbeth Housing Development Corporation, Little Red Schoolhouse and the Greenwich Village Chamber of Commerce. I understand the proper role of a board – to provide rigorous oversight while developing a vision, setting policy and providing strategic advice and guidance to the professional staff. I have been an AYSO soccer coach for four years and am currently a division coordinator.

2. What would you like to accomplish if elected?

Haberman: Dina Brantman, also running for school board, and I have a three point plan that focuses on education, budget and community. In terms of education, we need to focus on a comprehensive K-12 curriculum and explore new ways to integrate technology into the curriculum to prepare our children for an ever changing world. We have also both agreed that we need to have a three year budget plan that aligns spending with education goals. This will help us determine how those goals can be met while at the same time controlling spending and efficiently allocating our resources. We also would like to propose that an evaluation system is set up for new programs and for prior budget cuts. Evaluation and reflection will ensure that new programs are working for our children and that the cuts made to our budget over the last few years are not adversely impacting educational experience. Finally, how our community is involved in the school board's meeting needs to be addressed. The public comment process at board meetings needs to be changed to ensure that public comments are heard and taken into account by the board before voting on issues. Community also encompasses our educators. Our school board needs to be able to work openly and collaboratively with our educators to ensure that the board is making the best decisions for our district in terms of ensuring that a high quality education is delivered to all students.

3. If something had to be cut from the budget to meet the state tax cap, what would you cut?

Haberman: That is not a question I can answer without context. I have said all along that first we have to have clear goals in terms of what we are trying to accomplish as a district. From there we can properly align our resources around our goals. This is not only related to the tax cap – this is how we should be making all of our decisions about allocation of resources. And the educators and administrators must have a strong voice in these types of discussions. They are the ones who should have the expertise and knowledge to help us make decisions that will ensure we achieve our goals.

4. What are the three biggest issues facing the school today?

Haberman: 1. Ensuring that we have a comprehensive vision for our k-12 program and a curriculum aligned with that vision. Second, evaluating the cuts that have been made in recent years to ensure there has not been a negative impact on our children. Third, implementing a safe plan to reopen the closed fields at the high school campus as soon as possible so that our students can engage in the sports activity that is so important for children

5. If elected, what would you do about those issues?

Haberman: I hope to work with the board, the educators and the community to develop a vision and goals for our district. Then, with the new director of curriculum, we should be able to develop the programs we need to achieve our goals. I would like to see the board direct the administration to implement a system for evaluating past, and future, program changes. I would make it a priority that these fields be remediated according to a plan approved by the DEC and reopened as quickly as possible.

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