Election ballots will be mailed to voters automatically. You do not need to submit an absentee ballot application for this election (you do need to submit an absentee ballot application for the June 23rd primary elections). Ballots must be received in the school district offices by 5pm on June 9, 2020.
You will be voting on the proposed school budget as well as the board of education candidates.
Today we are pleased to present the MyRye.com Q&A with board of education candidate Mia Schultz:
Your Name: Mia Schultz
MyRye.com: Why are you running for school board?
I grew up in Rye and attended 5th through 12th grade at Rye public schools. I also now have young children who are entering the district – my son is a kindergartner at Milton. I have a vested interest in the continued high quality of public education in Rye and I believe in active civic engagement – I would like the opportunity to represent all of Rye’s citizens.
Why are you running for school board now?
I am a Registered Nurse with special training in Infection Control and Prevention. I also have direct experience of effective management of SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 within the most vulnerable population, aged individuals living in a group setting. Given my knowledge and experience, I feel that I could be a valuable asset to the district during this very challenging time.
Yes or No: did you support and vote for the $80 million school bond that passed in 2019?
Yes or No: do you support and plan to vote in favor of the current as-proposed school budget of $92 million going to vote on June 9th?
What are three ways Rye schools may need to adapt in the wake of COVID-19?
In the absence of a safe, effective, and widely available vaccine, here are some of the changes I propose:
- Engineering controls – i.e. enhanced cleaning, HVAC checks and settings to assure air quality in our facilities and minimize transmission of viruses via aerosols and direct contact with contaminated surfaces.
- Administrative or workflow controls– things like temperature and symptom screenings. These are effective tools as part of a broader effort to prevent viral transmission, but with the COVID-19 disease, as with seasonal influenza, this cannot be the only means of control because individuals are most infectious in the day or two before they develop symptoms, if they actually ever develop symptoms – infectious disease specialists are concerned that asymptomatic spread is a major driver of this pandemic. Also under this category would be having teachers move from room to room rather than students, where applicable, and continuing use of distance-learning platforms (as an adjunct to in-person instruction). Additionally, limiting the number of individuals within a space at any given time. This might necessitate breaking classes into smaller segments to accommodate safe social-distancing measures or mitigate the risk of widespread transmission.
- In-person (i.e. personal protective equipment) and behavioral— the use of face masks or coverings, where possible, hand hygiene through increased distribution and availability of hand sanitizer, in addition to hand-washing – all adjusted to age and developmental level and to staff needs.
What are the three biggest opportunities / challenges facing the Rye schools over the next 3-5 years?
- Challenge: safe schooling during and post-COVID-19.
- Opportunity: the development of new methods of in-person and virtual instruction.
- Opportunity: continued momentum of a community-wide movement of mutual-support and creative solutions to problems facing us all (i.e. infectious disease; economic recession in the wake of this pandemic).
What are the three biggest areas for cost containment with the Rye schools over the next 3-5 years?
- I plan to bring a fresh perspective and open mind to the challenge of cost containment. One area where we can expect additional costs in the future, after this current budget is approved, will be related to managing the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the safety of our schools. My healthcare background makes me best-positioned to navigate these costs in a financially responsible and safe way. I can help oversee purchase of health-related equipment and PPE to stockpile, as well as assist in assessing where containment can safely occur and to identify other cost savings that may be available in this and other areas from an outside view.
- I would suggest that the district seek savings in reducing the use of outside consultant services which I know they have already proposed in this current budget by looking to bring Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists in-house.
- Another big area of spending in the currently proposed budget is $1,595,000 (down from $1,615,000 last year) on “transportation related to athletics and special education.” I would like some more details to help understand these costs. Perhaps this is an additional area of financial efficiency.
What is your favorite book?
It’s impossible for me to pick a favorite book – there are just so many that I have loved over the years. A book that I read recently and loved was Good Talk by Mira Jacob. It’s a graphic memoir that is brutally honest about navigating questions of race and identity in this country. Particularly poignant for me, because my family and children are mixed-race, were her discussions with her son, who is also mixed-race, around people’s perceptions of one another.
What are you watching these days?
I find “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix (also available on PBS) to be very comforting and relaxing (and hunger-inducing). Luckily, it usually inspires my husband, Neel, to bake a cake or some other goodies for us! And I haven’t yet watched the final season of “Schitt’s Creek” (which aired on Pop and will be available on Netflix), but I can’t wait.
How many years have you lived in Rye?
24 this year.
Mia Schultz’s social media:
Official bio provided to MyRye.com:
Mia Schultz is a 24-year Rye resident and alumnus of Rye Schools – Midland, Rye Middle School, and Rye High School. She has two degrees from New York University, a BA in Anthropology followed by an Accelerated Post-Baccalaureate Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Before returning to school to pursue nursing, Mia worked in Public Health at the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health, and in marketing at Direct Wines in Norwalk, CT.
Mia began her career in nursing in acute inpatient critical care as a Cardiopulmonary Nurse at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco. She joined the staff at The Osborn in post-acute care and Infection Control and Prevention, and then became Clinical Information Systems Specialist, a position that uses technology and data analysis in support of quality assurance and improved decisions by clinicians and administrators. She has two children, a son in Kindergarten at Milton and a daughter at the Community Synagogue of Rye Early Childhood Center.
“As we engage with the new realities of education in this time of pandemic, I believe a strong background in medicine and infection control would be an asset to the Board of Education. The continued success of our schools will require flexibility, creativity, and experimentation to assure safe instruction in a time of scarce State funding. I look forward to serving the board and my community as a resource to help coordinate, synthesize, and communicate vital information about public health throughout this difficult period and beyond. I am a strong believer in active civic engagement and am committed to helping every student achieve access to excellent education, every teacher optimal professional development and growth, and every community member a voice in the process.”