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To Merge or Not to Merge the School District

May 4, 2009

To the editor:

On Monday afternoon, I participated in The Journal News’ interview of the Croton school board candidates. The Journal News broadcasted this interview live on their website. You may access it, at your convenience, at, and click to the School Board interview for Croton-Harmon. Also, my answers to the candidates’ questionnaire are posted on the LoHud website.

Some of my answers include the following: I discussed how I will not decide an issue unless I have all the information presented to me, and that I am able to make difficult decisions for our children. I discussed how our community is proud of our District’s small size, and how we expect our Superintendent to be easily accessible. I indicated that communication between the District and the community needs some improvement, and that this can be easily done by updating our District’s website, and keeping it current on a daily basis. I discussed how our tax base is maxed-out, and that we need to explore non-academic ways to reduce costs, including increasing shared services.

I also want to point out that when asked, hypothetically, whether I would explore merging with another school district in order to save costs, I was the only candidate who emphatically stated no. I am able to take this position because I believe that the members of our school district chose the Croton-Harmon schools because of its small size, and its reputation. I grew up in a school district that was as small as Croton’s, and it survived the fiscal crisis in the 1970s, without compromising the education of its students.

I understand that we are facing hard choices right now, but I do not think the solution is to consider a merge. I think that the solution is to advocate more on behalf of our District, in Albany, to persuade the legislature to revoke or modify the many regulations that stifle our District’s ability to operate more efficiently and economically. I think we should turn to our community members to help get this done, as there is always strength in numbers.

If you have any questions, you can reach me by email at, or call me at 271-7595. If you would like, please feel free to forward this email to other people you know. I welcome any inquiries.

I hope that I can count on your support on May 19th.

Thank you.

Lisa Wolland

On May 6, 2009 11:22 AM, Tireless Watcher said:

Anonymous-I do agree with you that all promotions,raises, new positions, etc were created under Schmidt etc. However, Sue Snyder’s firing WAS under the new mayor and new board! So you can’t let them off the hook entirely. I am hopeful the new board will do what they should and look at the layers of upper management. All these “Assistants” are really ridiculous!!x

On May 6, 2009 12:04 PM, Anonymous said:

Agreed then ! A good housecleaning is in order. ALL positions should be looked at carefully. Any redundancy should be addressed. We need to look at ways to raise revenue, decrease spending and staying at a zero or less than zero tax rate within these uncertain times.

On May 5, 2009 1:38 PM, Sick of Konig said:

All that was done under Schmidt. He would claim he was making things more efficient but the only thing he was doing was raising payroll

Ms. Schneider has Schmidt and Konig to blame for losing her job.

Schmidt and Konig, useless together!

On May 5, 2009 12:01 PM, Tireless Watcher said:

So the Village of Croton Board ,Mayor and Village Management look like they’ve done a great job with the 1.84% tax cut-and getting rid of Sun Snyder’s Recreation position! Ah, but there’s a lot you DON’T know! Did you know that the Village Manager makes 160K per year? Not including perks! (Interesting, he makes the same salary as Andy Spano does for running all of Westchester County!). Also, the same salary that Rick Herbek (former Village Manager) only made after 28 years of service> Did you also know that 2 new management positions were created? Assistant Village Manager for Janine King-it came with a 32% raise for her! Look it up! Also interesting is that Mr. Herbek never in his 28 years seemed to need an Assistant Village Manager. Also created was a new title for Assistant Village Clerk for Pauline DiSanto. Also interesting is that Peggy Keesler who was Village Clerk for 30 plus years never seemed to need an Assistant Village Clerk either. (Ms. DiSanto also got a 10K raise-because she now has an assistant?? New position created as Assistant Village Clerk is a new 42K per year position. So for all the “cutbacks” and “sacrifices”-don’t kid yourself-they do whatever they please-Look at the fine print!!

On May 6, 2009 9:53 AM, Anonymous said:

So who was in charge when the current village manager replaced Rick ? Who was in charge when Ms. King and Ms. DiSanto were given assistants. Don’t kid YOURSELF, this all happened under Schmidt, Brennan and Konig ! Tireless Watcher seems to have been asleep at the wheel.


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