Thomas Corbia beat out former School Board President Blanca Lopez by 94 votes in the May election and replaced her on the Port Chester School District Board of Education.
Corbia spent 40 years teaching in the Port Chester-Rye Union Free Public School District and through that time had taught at every school in the district. Although he is the newest member of the board, Corbia is coming to the table with ideas and expects to make a difference sooner rather than later.
“I hope to have a presence about me and a voice of reason,” said Corbia. “I hope to have an immediate impact. I campaigned on doing a complete internal audit of all the departments and I’ve already started that. The central office obliged with all the information and I will bring it to the attention of my fellow trustees and we’ll see if we can move things around.”
He believes that the audit could yield some ideas on how to duplicate or combine certain areas that could save the schools money. Athletics and Port Chester’s beloved band are among the programs that could possibly receive cuts.
“I’m not looking to let people go. We need to find different ways to spend that $84 million. We have to find different ways, I think it’s incumbent upon us.”
The problem surrounding unfunded or underfunded state mandated programs remains an issue.
“I don’t have a problem with mandates,” said School Board President Jim Dreves. “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.”
This is another issue Corbia plans to be heavily involved with.
“I want to see this district through the unfunded mandates they are dealing with,” he said. “It’s not something that’s going to go away. It is not something we expect the Governor to change. We have to hammer them at the State level to look at districts like Port Chester.”
At the next School Board meeting, the board’s newest member plans to step up his involvement right away.
“I already have some issues I am going to raise in our meeting in July during the executive session,” said Corbia. “I want to give the information to the right people and have them look over it. I don’t expect them to say ‘That’s great, let’s do it.’ There will be some angst there, but we will compromise and get things done.”