Residents in Tuckahoe are voting on a $30.8 million budget for the 2013-2014 school year and choosing two school board trustees from a slate of five candidates when polls open Tuesday.
Incumbents Julio Urbina and Anthony Buonocore are fending off challenges from Catherine Canal-Reichelt, Eboni Alexander and Stacey Alexander. “It’s very good for Tuckahoe when you have so many interested people to serve on the board. It’s good for the community to have a choice,” said Noël Moschetta, the acting parent-teacher association president.
Urbina, 51, is a 17-year resident and married father of a ninth-grader at Tuckahoe High School and fourth-grader at the Cottle School. He is a vice president at a nonprofit organization that supports the performing arts, health and social service programs. Urbina said his priorities will be keeping the bar high on achievement, raising test scores and enhancing professional development of teachers. He would like to reach out to neighboring districts in Eastchester and Bronxville to share resources, citing as an example sharing spots in advanced placement courses that aren’t fully enrolled.
Buonocore, 58, has been on the school board for 15 years and has two adult children who went through kindergarten and all 12 grades in Tuckahoe. An IBMer who has lived in Tuckahoe for 31 years, Buonocore said he hopes to stay on the board to create continuity for the incoming superintendent. Barbara Nuzzi, superintendent of the Putnam Valley school district, is coming to lead Tuckahoe beginning Aug. 1. “She deserves to have a couple of years with the board that hired her,” he said. Buonocore said he hopes to improve communication with parents using the district’s Web site, social media and TV. He said he hopes to get a good turnout for the budget and school board vote after just 800 people — about 10 percent of the registered voting population — came out last year.
The budget, which stays within the state mandated cap, is up 3.2 percent from $29.9 million in the present school year. Moschetta of the PTA said parents are hoping to see support for the budget. “I hope our budget passes. That’s what everyone wants,” she said. “You don’t want to go back because that would probably mean more cuts.”
Catherine Canal-Reichelt, 44, is a registered nurse at Westchester Medical Center and 18-year resident of Tuckahoe. A married mother of three, she said she is running as a “parent looking for a change.” “Tuckahoe schools offers some great and wonderful teachers, but we need to see this from every teacher. We offer many different AP courses at high school, but need to encourage our gifted and talented students to do more in the lower grades,” she said.
Eboni Alexander and Stacey Alexander could not be reached for comment.