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Harrison BOE Candidate Profile: Joan Tiburzi

HARRISON, N.Y. — Harrison Board of Education (BOE) member Joan Tiburzi is seeking a fourth term on the school board. Tiburzi is running unopposed.

“Serving on the school board has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Tiburzi said. “Working on behalf of our children is a privilege and honor. Public schools are faced with increased mandates and cuts in state aid. I want to continue to serve Harrison’s children and lay the foundation for education for the future of our community.”

And, as Tiburzi, 49, acknowledged, the job of any BOE in New York State has become even more challenging since the state capped taxes at 2 percent on the tax levy. Tiburzi said the tax levy cap makes sustaining the district's philosophy of long-term planning difficult.

“Reducing costs and creating efficiencies has always been an important component to our strategy,” she said. “However, it is difficult to realize the benefits of those reductions when the costs of the state mandates take up nearly all of the 2 percent increase. About 1.8 percent of our budget is consumed by mandated costs and reduced state aid.”

Tiburzi said the greatest challenge facing the Harrison School District is how to protect and grow educational opportunities for students in the face of reduced state aid and unfunded mandates. Public education is at risk due to policies coming from both the state and federal governments, which tend to force school systems to teach to the tests, she said.

“I want to fight against that and ensure that we educate Harrison’s students to be critical thinkers, not just test-takers,” she said.

Tiburzi said the most important issue, though, is always how to best serve the needs of students while protecting the taxpayers.

“I also want to make sure our district stays at the top of the latest thinking and tools in the country regarding K-12 education and support our teachers with the professional training they need to remain at the forefront of educational practice,” she said.

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