The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


May 13, 2011

Harckham, Day, ‘yes’ in Katonah-Lewisboro

The administration in Katonah-Lewisboro is as conscious as any of the mood of voters. Their decision to hire a union-busting cost-cutter like Wisconsin’s Paul Kreutzer as their new superintendent speaks volumes. While board members say this was not meant to be a statement, the subtext is hard to ignore.

No matter your feelings on this potential lightning rod, the board is to be commended for bringing in a $111,133,000 budget that has managed to satisfy most residents. The budget brings a 1.59 percent change, most of which can be attributed to the mandated increases to the Employers Retirement System — $745,865 — and the teachers retirement system increase of $1.3 million. Health insurance costs are expected to rise $1.739 million.

With out-of-control numbers like these, it is nothing short of a miracle that the board and administration did not need to further knife transportation, support staff, special education or class sizes. This budget presents a smaller increase than a contingency budget, which would be enacted if this and a second budget vote failed at the polls.

The board has shown itself to be dedicated to presenting sustainability not only in its physical sense but also in the economic sense of the word. One leader in this effort is Janet Harckham, who is running for re-election to the board. Ms. Harckham is a pioneer in introducing sustainable building principles to the district and to raising awareness of the importance of the environmental component both in education and infrastructure. She is a founder of the Katonah-Lewisboro Foundation, a nonprofit entity directed toward supplementing school dollars with private contributions. We recommend Ms. Harckham for a second term to the school board.

Charles Day is the second registered candidate for the seat that runs from July 1 to June 30, 2014. “Instead of just yelling at my TV, I want to be part of the discussion,” Mr. Day said at the time of his announcement. He is currently serving on the district’s financial advisory committee, service which will be useful to him should he be elected.

A third candidate, Mark Dembo, is also running for the board as a write-in candidate. We’re disappointed that he did not make his decision sooner to enable a true debate and the time to weigh a more careful deliberation.

We recommend a yes vote for the budget, and votes for Ms. Harckham and Mr. Day.

Vote yes in Bedford Central; Chernis, Karle for board

In early April, the Bedford Central board of education voted unanimously to adopt the 2011-12 proposed $118,980,000 budget that reflects a budget-to-budget increase of 2.15 percent over last year and a 1.80 percent tax levy increase over the current year’s budget.

We have consistently praised the board’s execution of budget, salary and administrative matters while maintaining a high level of education within the district. We are impressed by the music and arts programs, special education and high level of athletic performance. The extraordinary diversity of the community is unique in this part of northern Westchester, and many voices contribute to its expression.

How much of this can be directly attributable to the board? Just as we have expressed reservations about board actions in the past, so we are expressing our faith in the board now. The administration and board conducted a series of community meetings to apprise residents of the specifics of the budget and to answer questions. They have navigated a brutal economy and the demand for ever-expanding school services — special ed, athletics, art and music and more.

Should this budget be voted down, all equipment would be eliminated from the budget; all groups, including the PTA, would have to pay to use school district facilities and no capital improvements would be made. The difference between a contingency budget and the proposed budget is so small — less than one-half a percentage point, or an estimated $33 per year per $500,000 home — as to be negligible.

Incumbent and board candidate Mark Chernis, who has served since 2004, points to long-term planning and identifying Bedford Central’s educational goals as his strengths. “I think we’ve taken the right steps in both those areas, but I’d like to see us continue to look beyond the coming year to where we want the district to be in five years, even 10 years,” Mr. Chernis said in an interview last week. He will be opposed by Richard Hooker of Mount Kisco.

A second board position, that of Dr. Eric Karle, is unopposed. “The greatest challenges for the district and the board will remain economic, and we need to continue to focus on the need to keep educational excellence as a common standard while also keeping taxes as low as possible,” said Dr. Karle this week.

We urge re-election of board members Mark Chernis and Dr. Eric Karle to the board.

Superintendent Dr. Jere Hochman frames his budget presentation with the assumption that “a lot will change in the future.” He states we will be discussing a potential tax cap, pension and mandate relief, changes in state law, long-term planning and development of a capital plan. These unknowns will dictate the course of our debate and the direction of our public educational institutions.

This week Governor Andrew Cuomo, a local resident, said, “In New York, owning a home can be a nightmare because of runaway property taxes. It has to stop.”

Vote yes on Tuesday, May 17, in Bedford Central to continuing to fund a quality educational program for our children.

In the meantime, look for change in Albany and get ready for some fireworks.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

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  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

  4. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  5. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    

South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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