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Candidate profile: Christine M. Cavarello, Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board

chris-cavarelloSchool district: Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda

Age: 51

Town (current residence): Town of Tonawanda

Current occupation and/or community involvement:

I am currently a member of the steering committee of Ken-Ton Advocates for Student Centered Education, and Western New Yorkers for Public Education; two advocacy groups which provide information regarding current education reforms and how they are impacting our schools.

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 43

Incumbent: No

Have you run for office before? No

Please tell us about yourself:

Growing up in Ken-Ton, I attended Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Junior High School, and proudly graduated from Kenmore East Senior High School. For almost eleven years, I have seen the school district though the eyes of my own children. As a former social worker, with a bachelor degree in social work from Buffalo State College, and a master of social work degree from Case Western Reserve University, I see how changes in our schools are affecting the emotional well being of our children, and negatively impacting their love of learning.

Please describe the top issues facing your school district and how you would address them as a school board member:

The top issues facing Ken-Ton are district consolidation, loss of funding, and the use of programs and/or curricula which are not research based. The district will close three school at the end of the current school year, however savings are yet to be recognized. The development of a plan for these buildings, which maximizes financial gain, must be a board priority. Also, I would focus district spending on programs which directly benefit students, and work toward establishing a framework of shared decision making, so the expertise of teachers would be effectively utilized in the classroom.

Do you think public education in New York is headed in the right direction? Yes

Please explain why, in 100 words or less.:

There are still many challenges facing public education in New York, but I do think we are headed in the right direction. The appointment of Betty Rosa as the Chancellor of the Board of Regents is a positive development for the students of NY. Also, there has been much public outcry over excessive testing, current accountability measures, and common core. Awareness has been raised, and elected officials have begun to advocate for the end of the GAP Elimination Adjustment and fairer funding, decoupling teacher evaluations from student test scores, and they have begun to question the appropriateness of common core.

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