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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 12, 2011

Rose Levy

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Rose Levy, a lawyer and mother, said she loves the Guilderland schools and wants to see that the district’s quality education continues.

She works as a family court attorney, representing children who have been neglected or abused by their parents.

Although Levy served on the school board in Newburgh, N.Y., this is her first run for the Guilderland board.

“My basic reason for running,” she said, “is we have a wonderful school district here — academically and with all the extra-curricular activities. My kids were involved in clubs and sports.”

She and her husband, Jeff, have five children — Christopher, Abigail, Claire, Jacklyn, and Kyle. Four of them are Guilderland students and the fifth is a Guilderland graduate, now in college.

“I want to try to keep all of these things in place, right down to ninth-grade sports,” said Levy. Ninth-grade sports were cut from this year’s budget so sports boosters raised the funds from the community. The proposal for next year restores half the funds for freshman sports, leaving the rest to community fund-raisers.

“It’s easy for all of us to sit back and criticize until you’re actually on the board and see it all, and struggle with how to keep it without raising taxes every year,” said Levy.

She says her primary allegiance on the board will be to the students “because the students are the ones being educated.” She went n, “We have to look at what’s best for them — both academically and with extra-curricular activities.”

The reason Levy said she can support the $89 million budget proposal is because the night that the board adopted the spending plan, many of the programs slated to be cut “were put back in.”

“I would have liked to see a little more with respect to administration,” she said of cuts, adding, “I’m happy the superintendent said it would be reviewed.”

Marie Wiles started work as Guilderland’s superintendent in October and, after making her budget presentation in March, said she wanted to evaluate the district’s administration as well as its scheduling with an eye to efficiency.

“Being as she’s new this year, she can’t just go cutting,” said Levy.

If the budget were to be voted down, Levy said, she would advocate revising it and putting the revised plan up for vote.

If the $89 million proposal were to be voted down on May 17, she said, “I think the community spoke, and the initial budget is not what they wanted. You have to listen to people and go back to the drawing board.”

On the tax hike, Levy said that it would be hard to set a cap “without actually seeing what would be cut.” She speculated, though, “I think Guilderland would support more than 2 percent but not more than 4 percent.”

When asked whether contracts should be negotiated without raises in order to save jobs and programs, Levy prefaced her remarks by saying, “I should answer what I really think rather than worry about who is offended.”

She went on, “Given the way it is now with the state [aid] cuts and what we went through the past few years, if we want to keep the jobs, I would say not to give them the raises.”

She also said, “I don’t want to throw everything at the teachers.”

Levy referred favorably to another district where workers had agreed to give up raises in order to keep jobs.

She concluded, “In a perfect world, yes, everybody should get raises. But in a lot of jobs now, people are not getting any.”

“I’ve always felt very strongly we should have full-day kindergarten,” said Levy. “When I moved here 13 years ago, I was surprised there wasn’t full-day.”

She sent her children to a program at Christ the King.

“Given that,” Levy continued, “at one of the meetings I attended, it was asked, what would the saved money do. You at least have to have an open mind on what it would be used for and do a balancing.”

She concluded, “For me to change my mind, it would have to be something tremendous to outweigh the benefits of full-day kindergarten.”

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