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Candidate profile: Johnny G. Destino, Niagara Falls School Board

Johnny-DestinoSchool district: Niagara Falls

Age: 39

Town (current residence): Niagara Falls

Current occupation and/or community involvement:

I am a practicing attorney and the municipal purchasing officer for the City of Niagara Falls. Most recently, I was in charge of finding an operator to assume responsibility for reviving baseball operations at Sal Maglie Stadium. I am a member of the Cristoforo Colombo Society and serve as a Community Missions of Niagara Frontier board member. Two of my sons are members of Cub Scout Pack 816.

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 30

Incumbent: No

Have you run for office before? Yes

If yes, please list your election history:

2010 - Niagara Falls School Board (Served 2010-2015) 2011 - Mayor of City of Niagara Falls 2012 - NYS Senate - GOP Primary 2014 - NYS Senate

Please tell us about yourself:

My wife and I live in the DeVeaux neighborhood of Niagara Falls together with our three young sons. I helped build the computer networks at all three Seneca Gaming properties before getting my law degree from UB Law School. I am a 2014 Leadership Niagara graduate and a recipient of the NYS School Board Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. I have served as the Niagara Falls representative on the Orleans-Niagara BOCES board of education since 2013 and have recently begun pursuing my School District Business Administrator certificate at SUNY Brockport.

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

As a result of the state funding cuts, our district has been forced to balance its budget on the backs of the staff. With the elimination of the Gap Elimination Adjustment in this year's budget, it's time to start reallocating our resources to help bring back teachers aides and social workers back into our schools to help our at-risk children. Our current board is also resistant to promoting vocational education. My number one priority will be to make sure our students know of the many alternative pathways to a career that our state provides to them. It's time to let everyone know that BOCES is our best kept secret.

Do you think public education in New York is headed in the right direction? No

Please explain why, in 100 words or less:

We are losing more and more local control of our schools. Until NYSED relaxes its stance on high-stakes testing (and the recent changes giving students more time to complete the tests isn't the answer) our teachers will be hampered in how they can best use their training to educate our children. One positive change is the addition of alternative pathways to graduation which now include a career and technical education component. We need to let our children know that college is not the only option to a successful career.

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