On Tuesday, May 18th, the community will vote on the Rye City school district’s annual budget for the 2021-22 school year and will vote to elect three Board of Education members. The vote is in the RMS Gym; polling hours are 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (used to be 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.). The District is not mailing out ballots as it did last year during COVID. Voters can still request an absentee ballot.
There will be a candidates forum moderated by the League of Women Voters on Thursday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m. (zoom link).
Current Board members Callie Erickson and Chris Repetto have announced they will seek reelection; Kelly Smith-Powers will not. Eight candidates are on the ballot – we have shared their bios and now we will be introducing you to each candidate in a Q&A style interview: Callie Erickson, Megan Escherich Evans, Kelsey Johnson, Bozidar Jovanovic, Laura Labriola, John D. Leonard, John Moschetti, and Chris Repetto.
Today we introduce you to Callie Erickson:
MyRye.com: Why are you running for school board?
Erickson: I am running to be re-elected to the Board of Education because I have thoroughly enjoyed this rewarding and challenging experience over the past 3 years. I believe our children’s education is of paramount importance and have found that supporting the Rye schools is the most significant way I can volunteer my time.
Why are you running for school board now?
Erickson: I believe this is a critical time in our School District and community. We need to focus on maintaining our rigorous academic standards while addressing current challenges including the assessment of any Covid-learning gaps and the social and emotional well-being of our students and teachers.
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 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget presented February 23rd of $94,237,421 million going to vote on vote on Tuesday, May 18th?
Erickson: Yes. The budget is tax cap compliant, and I support it.
Please Answer the following questions Yes or No:
Yes or No
|Does the quality of Rye schools contribute materially to the value of homes in Rye?||Yes|
|Do you, have you or will you have children in the Rye City School District?||Yes|
|Have you been, or will you be in the next six weeks, fully vaccinated against COVID-19?||Yes|
|Do you believe the school district has done a responsible and an effective job of navigating the Coronavirus pandemic?||Yes|
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last year concerning stories about bias in our schools and community came out. Do you acknowledge these stories and believe we should actively address issues of bias? Yes, or No?
Erickson: Yes. Last year, the Board received numerous emails and letters from current students, alumni and parents who expressed and identified concerning incidents that had happened to them both at school and in the community. Bias and racism should be addressed.
Are you supportive of school district’s Race, Community and Inclusivity Task Force, Yes, or No?
Erickson: Yes. I am supportive of the formation of the Task Force to identify and examine claims of racism or bias in our schools. I look forward to the public forum on May 4th to receive and discuss the observations and data the Task Force has collected.
What are the three biggest opportunities / challenges facing the Rye schools over the next 3-5 years?
- Maintain and foster an environment for rigorous and high academic achievement. Continue the Professional Development work the District has undertaken the past few years including programs such as Project Based Learning (PBL)
- Create and support an inclusive school system that meets the needs of ALL our learners
- Ensure the capital bond project is carried out in a fiscally responsible and timely manner
What are the three biggest areas for cost containment with the Rye schools over the next 3-5 years?
- Continuing to Efficiently Manage the Annual Budget: Approximately 80% of the annual budget is dedicated to salaries and benefits, but the District should continue to aggressively manage the other 20% of the budget. Infrastructure upgrades, funded by the Capital Bond Project, will help achieve operating cost savings in the near and long term.
- Managing the Capital Bond Project: After community voter approval in June 2019, the Rye City School District has embarked on a large capital spending plan over the next 5 years. Effectively managing how that money is spent is critical to the future of the School District.
- Bringing Certain Services In-House: Bringing some Special Education support staff in-house (that we currently outsource) should save the District money, while providing better and more consistent service to our students and families
Where did you go to grade school?
Erickson: I attended grade school at Merriman Park Elementary School, a public school in Dallas, Texas.
Who was your favorite teacher in grade school and why?
Erickson: My favorite teacher was my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Hayes, as she fostered my love of math and also taught me to think independently. When Mrs. Hayes realized that I was finishing my math assignments easily and earlier than the other students, she encouraged me to work ahead in the 3rd grade textbook at my own accelerated pace. By the time the school year was over, I had completed not only the 3rd grade textbook but also the 4th grade textbook, and it was during that year that I gained much self-confidence in my math abilities.
What is your favorite book?
Erickson: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
What are you watching these days?
Erickson: Ozark on Netflix
How many years have you lived in Rye?
Erickson: My husband and I have lived in Rye with our 3 children for 10 years.
Please provide links to:
Your LinkedIn: N/A
Your Twitter: N/A
Your Facebook: N/A
Callie Erickson has lived in Rye for 10 years with her husband and three children who attend Osborn and Rye Middle School. Callie has served for three years on the Board of Education and is running for a second term. Currently she serves as Audit Committee Chair and a member of the Policy Committee. She has volunteered on the City of Rye Finance Advisory Committee, as Treasurer of the Osborn Executive Board, on the Advisory Board of RPNS, and on the Rye Free Reading Room’s Auxiliary Board. Callie previously worked in Business Development and M&A at JPMorgan, Chancellor/AMFM, and IDT Entertainment. She has a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.