The League of Women Voters sponsored a forum Tuesday at Rye Middle School to hear from the four candidates for the Board of Education. The election and school budget vote is on May 15. Running for school board are Patrick M. Cox, Nancy Pasquale, Chris Repetto, and incumbent Laura Slack. The two-hour session will be posted online at www.lwvrrbpc.org and www.ryeny.gov/rctv.cfm
The League of Women Voters sponsored a forum Tuesday at Rye Middle School to hear from the four Board of Education candidates. The school board election and school budget vote is on May 15. Running for school board are Patrick M. Cox, Nancy Pasquale, Chris Repetto, and incumbent Laura Slack. The two-hour question and answer session will be posted online
By Sarah Varney
Three years ago, Chris Repetto ran for a seat on the Rye City School Board of Education among a crowded field of competition. He lost.
Next month, Repetto is among four candidates running for three seats. The fourth candidate, Patrick M. Cox, confirmed his candidacy April 25, shortly before the filing deadline.
“I realize that I’m a ‘Johnny-come-lately’ to the process, but I really felt a calling,” said Cox, a tax attorney with Brown Rudnick.
“I don’t know if people can thank me or are throwing arrows,” Cox said at Tuesday’s League of Women Voters forum, but “we wouldn’t have this debate tonight if not for my candidacy.”
Cox and his wife, Elizabeth, have three children and have lived in Rye since 1998.
The other two candidates are Board President Laura Slack, the sole incumbent, and Nancy Pasquale, past PTO president.
The top three vote-getters will get seats on the school board. Two seats are being left vacant by vice president Ray Schmitt and longtime member and former president Josh Nathan. Both decided not to run again.
Referring to his prior run, Repetto said: “At the time, there was the issue with the teacher contract and a lot of other noise. There were way too many people running on single issues. I thought that some of the people running were running for the wrong reasons,” However, running was a very positive experience, he added.
“Every year since then, I’ve had people call me and ask me to run,” said Repetto.
Having a balanced view of the issues is the key he said. “Everyone wants a great school system. I don’t view this as a three-way fight between the community, the Board of Education, and the District,” Repetto added.
Cox said that increasing efficiency and improving processes are two of his goals as a prospective board member. “I didn’t really feel that the bond process was the most efficient but that’s easy coming from an outsider,” Cox said today. “It seemed like the board mainly communicated to the masses” once teh bond failed, Cox said.
Pasquale is a 20-year Rye resident. She and her husband, Jerry, have children in first and second grades.
In addition to serving as Milton PTO president and executive board member, Pasquale worked with the curriculum and facilities committees. “I have missed only one board meeting in three years,” she noted.
Repetto described his first foray into board of education politics as a “positive experience”, despite the atmosphere surrounding the 2009 election: It featured a slew of candidates, a teacher tenure battle, and divisive teacher contract negotiations.
“At the time there was the issue with the teacher contract and a lot of other noise. There were way too many people running on single issues,” according to Repetto. “I thought that some of the people running were running for the wrong reasons. Every year since then, I’ve had people call me and ask me to run.”
On the issue of reserve funds, Repetto takes what he calls “a reasonable view.”
Repetto said, “Reserve funds should be built up until they’re really, really needed for one-time or surprise expenses. I was happy that there was a compromise on the reserve funds in the recent bond vote.” Cox said it’s too soon to take a stance on the use of reserve funds.
Repetto and his wife, Kassandra Souply, have lived in Rye since 2003. They have three children.
Repetto grew up in Garden City on Long Island. He is a managing director at CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Connecticut.
Slack and her husband, Richard, have three children. They have lived in Rye more than 15 years.