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Letter: Dreves Seeks Re-election in Port Chester

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. — TheDailyPortChester.com accepts original, signed letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to llavoie@mainstreetconnect.us .

Letter to the Editor:

I have served on your Board of Education for the past 21 years — years that saw dramatic improvement in ELA and Math scores, two schools designated as Federal Blue Ribbon Schools, and building construction programs completed that have made our physical plant safe and educationally up to date. I have been involved in multiple negotiations with the unions and have worked to create and implement three major bond issues that have brought our facilities up to proper standards. I've been directly involved in every initiative that has made our schools better, and I firmly believe they are much better today!  But while I am proud of my part in the improvement of our schools, I have also been on the board the last several years when we saw state aid cuts and a concurrent need to "tread water" at best, and take steps backward in some cases, at worst, as we have been forced to cut valuable programs and personnel. The newly imposed tax cap will make our efforts to maintain programs and personnel even harder. The current budget, while meeting the tax cap "rules," does not allow for the addition of programs, and, in fact, forces a cut nobody favors: elimination of reading teachers. Things will, unfortunately, only get worse during the five tax cap years.  I am running for another term on your Board of Education because I cannot step down and watch the potential dismantling of our fine educational programs after spending the first 20 plus years expanding and improving the very programs that could be on the chopping block. I have a tremendous desire to continue to fight for our quality educational program. I am retired and have the time and energy (it will take much time and energy) to devote toward saving our district, and I have the will to take on state government to get more state aide for districts like Port Chester and demand that we get mandate relief. I will continue to fight for different ways to fund education other than the current heavy reliance on the property tax.  I do support the concept of the tax cap. It should have been implemented better and included mandate relief, but it does send an important message that we must recognize: property taxes are too high and increases must be moderated. I get it! I'm retired and on a fixed income as are many in the community. I pay taxes, too. The board has responded to lower revenues in the past three years as the economy "tanked" with considerably lower tax levys. My goal is too continue to keep the tax levy as low as possible without doing irreparable damage to our educational program. I will continue to balance the needs of our children with the ability of our taxpayers to fund district needs  I will use the wealth of experience I have gained over the past 21 years to help the board work through this most difficult time. I have been on the board as we faced many other difficult "challenges" and we have survived and can again. I have no agenda. I can evaluate the whole picture, and I promise that, together, we will come out of the tax cap years stronger, leaner, and with our core educational program intact!  I hope I can count on your support on May 15 as we continue to work together for "Success for EVERY student." Jim Dreves

4 Kings Park DrivePort Chester, NY 10573 jimedat5@hotmail.com 914-939-7771

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