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Bill Rizzo and Kurt Fuchs to Run against Non-Partisan Candidates for Bronxville School Board PDF Print Email

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Apr. 11, 2012:  William "Bill" Rizzo announced on April 2 his candidacy for a seat on the Bronxville School Board of Education against the seat being vacated by current board member Richard Rugani, whose term expires on June 30, 2012. The two candidates nominated by the Bronxville Non-Partisan Committee (NPC) are Chris Atayan, an incumbent who is running for reelection, and Jeffrey Rohr.  By announcing his candidacy to fill the seat being vacated by Richard Rugani, Rizzo ensures a contested election against Jeffrey Rohr, who is also running to fill that seat.

Also announcing his candidacy for the school board is Kurt Fuchs, who will be covered in an article next week by MyhometownBronxville.  This marks the first time in ten years that the Bronxville Non-Partisan candidates will run with opposition.  In 2002, Richard Dresdale ran against NPC candidate Peter Stace and won.

According the NPC chairman, Bob Galbraith, to run against the NPC candidates, a nominating petition must be submitted to the clerk of the Union Free School District Number Three--Bronxville by April 16, 2012, by each candidate who intends to run for the office of trustee.  The nominating petition must be signed by at least 25 qualified voters living in the Union Free School District Number Three.

In an interview conducted by this reporter, Bill Rizzo stated that he felt his perspectives as a taxpayer, a municipal finance professional, a lifelong village resident, and a parent with three children in The Bronxville School and a fourth to enroll in 2013 make him a strong advocate for the school in the community.

"I was disappointed not to be nominated by the Non-Partisan Committee," he said, "but after that process I talked with many village residents who expressed support for my candidacy.  Now that my intentions are known, I've received even more support and positive feedback."

"I have a deep desire to serve," Rizzo stated.  "I became interested in the board of education when my children entered school."  He noted that, if elected, he would be the only board member with a child in each of the three schools.

Although Rizzo sees The Bronxville School at a crossroads with vital issues that must be addressed, he understands the difficulty the district has experienced in dealing with a complicated economic climate, the 2% tax cap, and unfunded mandates imposed on school districts by New York State.

Decreasing revenues, increasing expenses, and an aging infrastructure all point to challenges facing the board of education.  "The board needs to continue to seek ways to hold the budgetary line without sacrificing the programs, facilities, and standards that make The Bronxville School an excellent institution," Rizzo said.  He commended the current board and the administration for their effective work in adhering to the tax cap and looking for ways to reduce expenses.

Rizzo cited flood mitigation and the renovation of the school auditorium as two priorities.  "The need for the auditorium speaks for itself," he said, noting that the balcony is effectively condemned.  "We're in a fortunate market in Bronxville.  We have strong credit, and interest rates are at historic lows.  The timing for such a project couldn't be better."

Rizzo brings a strong sixteen-year background in municipal finance to his candidacy.  He is a managing director at National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation, based in Armonk.  He noted that, in his professional career, he has worked with hundreds of municipalities across the country in addressing the same issues facing The Bronxville School.

Also an attorney, Rizzo was general counsel of the Municipal and Infrastructure Assurance Corporation and is a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and the National Federation of Municipal Analysts.  He earned an AB in government from Georgetown University and a JD from Fordham University School of Law.

"I am confident that with my assistance the board of education can navigate a course that allows The Bronxville School to remain true to its core mission of educational excellence while carefully managing our responsibility to the taxpayers," Rizzo said.

The annual school budget vote and school board trustee election will be held on Tuesday, May 15.

Pictured here:  Bill Rizzo, who announced his candidacy for Bronxville School board trustee on April 2.

Photo by N. Bower

 
Pirates You Will Love this Weekend in the Bronxville High School Auditorium PDF Print Email

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Mar. 7, 2012:  Unlike the pirates who rampage along the coast of Africa, a group of tender-hearted pirates will romp across the stage at The Bronxville School this week in a production of the hilarious Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty.

The production opens at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 7, with a dress rehearsal to which seniors are invited without charge.  Performances for the public will be held at 5:00 pm on Thursday and 7:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.  Tickets are $10, the proceeds from which will kick-start funding for the renovation of the high school auditorium.

The production has been marked by a coincidence and an unfortunate illness.  Peter Royal, the school's drama director, relates, "When we chose the Pirates we didn't realize that 2012 is a leap year, and leap year is a decisive factor in the life of the operetta's hero.  He has been apprenticed to a group of pirates for five years, until his 21st birthday.  But born on February 29, he believes that his apprenticeship must stretch to another 63 years.  Another comic twist is that he was supposed to be apprenticed to a ship pilot, not pirates."

The coincidence added a note of levity to the production, but that was offset somewhat by the illness of Jack Harris, the senior who was to play the role of the hero, Frederick, and who had to be hospitalized because of an attack of mononucleosis.  Mr. Royal, who has a wide knowledge of the theater, was able, through his son, a professional singer, to find a professional who was familiar with the role to serve as a substitute.  Nonetheless, the spirits of the other cast members remain high.

The show was choreographed by Helen Coope, a professional dancer and choreographer who has continued working on school productions even though her two sons have graduated from the high school.  The musical director is Pamela Simpson, choral director for the middle and high schools.

Working in the production must be a labor of love.  The cast, which numbers 42, has rehearsed three hours a day for ten weeks, along with a crew of 15 and an orchestra of 15.  For example, Ruth Dowe, who plays Frederick's nursemaid (who, because she was hard of hearing, mistook "pirate" for "pilot"), has been in theatrical productions since sixth grade and enjoys Pirates because of the sharp musical change of pace from that of last year's production, The Sound of Music.  She is planning to attend the College of Charleston.

Nikola Balac, who plays the Pirate King, switched from operating sounding boards for the school's musicals to playing an acting role.  Nicholas Proios, who plays the Major General, last acted in the school's fall production of All in the Timing, by David Ives.  He plans to pursue engineering or acting.  He admitted to being nervous, which did not show in his performance, but also "excited."

Sarah Hunke, a senior who plays Mabel, the Major General's daughter, with whom the hero falls in love, enjoys the variety of the Pirates music compared to the music of other productions in which she has acted.  She looks forward to a career in the arts, although not necessarily acting.

Peter Royal was featured in a major profile, titled "Musical Mentor," in the March 4 edition of the Journal News.

At the end of the rehearsal he paid tribute to members of the community for their support of the production, including "drama mamas" Mirjana Balac and Elizabeth Geiling.

Pictured here:  Members of the cast of Bronxville High School's production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Photo by Mirjana Balac

 
Revised Schedule for School Opening Set by Bronxville School Board; Wednesday, September 7, First Day of School for Grades 1-12 PDF Print Email

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Sept. 3, 2011:  At Thursday's Board of Education meeting, the Board endorsed a revised opening schedule to allow for the completion of restoration activities related to Tropical Storm Irene:

Tuesday, September 6 will be a Conference Day, allowing teachers more time to plan for the opening of school.  No students in attendance.  (November 10 will now be a student day.)

Wednesday, September 7 (Day 2 on our six-day cycle) will be the first day of school for all students in grades 1-12, with all classes beginning at 10 AM. Kindergarten will not be in session.

On September 8 and 9, Students in grades 1-12 will attend classes as scheduled.  Because of reduced access to facilities, many room reassignments will apply through the week.  Kindergarten will not be in session.

We expect to be able to occupy the bottom floor of the old building on September 12, although with reduced supplies and materials.  Kindergarten will not be in session.

On Monday, September 19, Kindergarten students will begin school, and the full K-12 population will be in session.  Our main gym will not be in service, and it will take some time to replace some key items of equipment and materials.

Click here to see the revised school calendar:  School Calendar as of Sept. 1

Click here to see pictures from the storm taken the day after. Storm Photos

Pictured here:  The Bronxville School.

Photo by A. Warner

 

 
Dr. John Kehoe: Bronxville School Well Set to Open September 6; Enrollment Stable at 1,530 PDF Print Email

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Editor's Note:  This is the first of two articles on the new school year focusing on school administrators.  An article focusing on Superintendent Dr. David Quattrone will appear next week.

August 31, 2011:  "Generally, what we're trying to do here is to maintain what we believe is an excellent school system," said Dr. John Kehoe, assistant superintendent of The Bronxville Schools.  "We work to allocate our resources in a time of [budget] declines to keep the programs going that have been successful."

Despite damage from Tropical Storm Irene over the weekend, school is set to begin on Tuesday, September 6.  Orientation for new teachers will proceed as scheduled on Wednesday, August 31, and Thursday, September 1.

Dr. Kehoe stated that this year the school will see the least number of new staff members in several years.  "We have downsized in general in that regard," he said.  "We have some new staff members replacing recent retirees on a "one out-one in" basis."  Kehoe stated that in a move to economize and cut spending, the school has not replaced some positions.

"We're not starting this school year with any kind of faculty meetings or staff development days," Kehoe said.  "We will start directly with instruction."

Kehoe said that school enrollment is holding fairly stable at approximately 1,530 students from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  "We've been in that vicinity for the last five years."

The school has performed some technology upgrades in anticipation of the new academic year in the quest to stay current in an ever-changing technological environment.  New servers and new laptop computers have been purchased.

New telephone and public address systems were installed.  The telephone system is operational, and the public address system should be operational this week.  "We're pleased with the vendors and support for the new phone system," Kehoe stated.

"Given the history of this building and the fact that it was built in so many different stages, we're always moving around the complex to make sure we use our resources in the best possible ways," Kehoe said.  "We put our rehabilitation work on a cycle to keep everything as fresh as we can.

Work done to the auditorium stage was preliminary to an anticipated remodeling of the whole auditorium.  Parts of the building were painted and re-floored, and new furniture was purchased.  "We did the kind of work over the summer that revitalizes the building.  Our outside cleaning service has done a great job coming in and working with staff," Kehoe said.

Kehoe said he's confident The Bronxville School will have a strong opening on September 6.  The administration spent about two weeks at the beginning of summer and now two weeks at the end of summer in meetings to discuss operations and curriculum instruction.

"I'm very pleased," Kehoe stated.  "Everyone has done a great job, and when the teachers return, they'll be greeted by a bunch of kids ready to get back to school."

Pictured here Dr. John Kehoe, assistant superintendent of The Bronxville Schools.

 

 
Seven-Year-Old Bronxville Student Donates Hair to Cancer Patients for Wigs PDF Print Email

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August 3, 2011:  Seven-year-old Avery Jones of Bronxville learned about cancer earlier than many of her friends.  Several years ago, her mother, Joanne Jones, explained, a close family friend died of lung cancer.  "We're closely involved with the family.  They have two children close to Avery's age, and she was very much aware of what happened because the children's father isn't here any more."

"The daughter of one of my friends cut her hair off last year to donate for a cancer wig and told Avery about it," Joanne said.  "Avery insisted on growing her hair out and donating it.  She thought her hair would go into a wig to be made for a little girl with cancer."

Joanne thought Avery, being a first grader, might forget about her project after a few weeks, but Avery continued to grow her hair during the school year.  "On Avery's behalf, I felt that anyone who has cancer should have access to looking good while going through chemotherapy, so we decided to go with a program that donates the wigs to cancer patients."  They decided on Pantene Beautiful Lengths, an organization that creates wigs from real hair and donates them for free to various American Cancer Society wig banks.  Joanne stated that, in addition to providing the wigs to cancer patients at no cost, wigmakers and stylists donate their labor in crafting the human hair wigs.

"Avery was very set about growing her hair," Joanne stated.  She became a regular customer at Continental 109 in Bronxville.  She visited the salon every two months for a trim.  "Pantene requires a minimum of nine inches of hair for a donation, and she had the ends trimmed to keep her hair healthy so Pantene could use as much of it as possible," Joanne explained.

She didn't want to push Avery to cut her hair off.  "It's a huge thing to do that. Your hair is your identity and Avery loved her long blondish-brown hair.  She loved how it looked and she loved to wear it in braids."

Joanne planned to take Avery to Continental 109 to get her hair cut after school finished for the year so the hair would have all summer to grow back.  Avery had other ideas.  Two weeks before the end of school, she announced, "I'm ready to cut my hair off."

"I was really nervous," Joanne admitted.  "We went to the salon and they put her hair up in four ponytails."  A wig requires the equivalent of six ponytails' worth of human hair, so Pantene would be combining Avery's hair with someone else's of similar texture and color.

"They whacked Avery's hair off above the ponytails to preserve the hair the way Pantene needs it to create the wigs," Joanne explained.  Joanne said that immediately after the cutting, "Her hair looked horrific.  She went from having hair halfway down her back to having hair up to her ears."  However, she explained, "When her short hair was styled, she looked like a different person and her hair looks great."

"I like knowing it was an act of giving at a young age," Joanne said.  "A lot of people do this, but Avery is on the younger side.  It was a personal thing, just something she wanted to do."

Pictured here:  Seven-year-old Avery Jones before and after donating her hair.

 
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