has been on the for the past 21 years, and on Tuesday is seeking re-election for another three-year term.
“The first 18 years of my tenure on the board were good years, they were building years, they were productive,” he said. “The last three years were stagnant. The mandates were killing us. And then the tax cap gets put it in and I see the work I put in fall apart. With my experience and background living in Port Chester for 44 years, ultimately what I’ve learned -- having been president multiple times, passing bonds, having bonds fail -- is more important than it’s ever been before and I don’t want to see us take a step backwards.”
Dreves is one of three candidates vying for two open sports on the school board in Tuesday’s election along with current board president Blanca Lopez and Tom Corbia, a retired teacher who spent 40 years in the district.
Heading into Tuesday’s vote, Dreves said he thinks the two most important issues the board is facing are how to deal with the two percent tax cap and negotiating new contracts with the teachers union.
Dreves added that part of being on the school board is seeing and listening to what the public wants, and he thinks the board has tried to do that. To get under budget, the board was going to cut full-day kindergarten, which is not a mandated program, but when they announced that the public came out loudly against the decision. Instead, the board opted to get rid of 13.5 teachers in the reading program. Many were, and still are, unhappy with that decision as well.
“You have to try to understand what the community is thinking. I think we’ve done that in creating this budget,” he said. “It’s no my proudest moment when we have to cute 13 and a half reading positions. I know what we have to do and we took the best option available. I just hope the community will see and understand it.”
He added that while they’re getting rid of the positions, they’re not getting rid of the reading program.
“Reading is an integral part of the teaching process, of course, but every teacher teaches reading in some way,” Dreves said. “These are specialists that in effect pull out children that need more help. It’s a program that’s not mandated by the state.”
State-mandated programs are another big issue facing the board and the district, especially ones that are unfunded or under-funded.
“I don’t have a problem with mandates,” Dreves said. “I have a problem with the state saying, ‘you have to do x, y and z, but we’re not going to pay for it.’ Hopefully the governor lives up to his promise of providing mandate relief.”
Dreves said he thinks his experience on the board will prove beneficial moving forward.
“I’m looking to continue my leadership position on the board. Being on the board 21 years, you gain a better understanding for what went on and why we need to do what we have to do,” he said. “You know all of the problems the district has faced, and it allows you to look at the current problems more openly and have solutions based on what you’ve done in the past. That’s really important in this election.”
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