Scarsdale Inquirer May 7, 2021
I’m writing in support of SBNC nominees James Dugan and Jessica Resnick-Ault. Informed by my BOE tenure, I believe the SBNC nominated very wisely.
Here are three reasons:
1) Jim and Jessica are Exceptional Professionals and Volunteers.
Jim is a distinguished lawyer and father of three girls who will be at Fox Meadow, SMS and SHS next year. In 2011, Jim and I and others founded Coalition for Scarsdale Schools, dedicated to supporting quality education in Scarsdale schools. When the BOE explored bending elementary class-size caps, we mobilized to protect reasonable class-sizes. We selected Jim to be our lead speaker at the key BOE meeting. Jim’s presentation was excellent – strong, but not strident. We helped turned the BOE around, largely to Jim’s credit.
Jessica is an award-winning journalist and author. Jessica lost her husband in 2017; but continued to work and volunteer diligently. Jessica has been very active in the community, serving as class parent, PTA committee chair, and Young Writer’s Workshop instructor. Most recently Jessica founded Bake Back America’s local Grant a Wishlist initiative, working with Scarsdale families to meet the needs of surrounding communities with donations and educational programming. Jessica’s and her late husband’s daughter is an Edgewood fifth-grader.
2) Jim and Jessica Will Address the Need for Change. Substantial change is needed in School District governance and management. This view of mine and many others was validated by a report last November of the Tri-State Consortium, an alliance of high-performing school districts, focused on the pandemic. The Report found distrust of the District by parents, a feeling on the part of teachers that their voices were not valued, and the need for a “more forward-looking vision.” On the very day the Tri-State Report was released, the BOE extended changes to limit public-comment time at BOE meetings – including a 90-minute limit on comments during the first comment period that left 21 community members without an opportunity to speak during that night’s first comment period. During last Sunday’s LWVS Forum, which I urge all voters to view if they haven’t, Jim and Jessica made clear their readiness to engage constructively to address these issues.
3) Jim and Jessica Have the Experience. One of Jim and Jessica’s opponents, Alison Singer, argues she should be reelected because, she said in her opening statement at the forum, “In short, experience matters.” With the benefit of my BOE experience, I can state without reservation that Jim and Jessica have more than the requisite experience, based on their professional and community backgrounds. And I don’t consider it at all necessary for the BOE to have officers that are in their second terms. In fact, a number of times in recent years, at least one of the officers has been in his or her first term. In my first BOE year, both officers were in their first terms.
Jim and Jessica will bring substantial experience, along with a willingness to engage with the community and deliberate with respect to important issues. Please vote for our excellent SBNC nominees on May 18.