This is the third in a series about the upcoming Peekskill school board election and budget vote on May 15. We'll also provide a candidate Q&A with the rest of the candidates who are vying for the two open seats and who provided responses to our questions.
School Board candidate Rev. Darryl V. Footmon is seeking his first three-year term in this year's election. The others running for the two open seats are: incumbent Lisa Aspinall and
Rev. Darryl Vaughn Footmon has lived in Peekskill for the last 12 years and his daughter attended Peekskill schools and is now a junior at Queens University of Charloote, N.C. Footnam is the Pastor for Congregational Care at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Peekskill and is a former NYP officer. He worked as the Community Affairs Officer in the 25th Precinct in Spanish Harlem, where he also ran the Youth Explorers Program.
Read his answer's to Patch's questions below:
Q: Why are you running for Peekskill school board?
I am running for Peekskill school board because I am passionate about the importance of every child having a good opportunity to advance and become positive contributors to our local and global society. As a police officer I have been afforded the opportunity to see first-hand the potential of good education and the hazards of not having one.
Q: Why should district residents elect you to the school board?
My task is to present my best attributes forward and allow the public to decide who the best candidate to accomplish the task is. Ultimately it’s not about me winning but the community selecting the best candidate to represent our children. If the best candidate is selected then we all are winners.
Q: What experience-either personal or professional-do you have that makes you a strong candidate to serve on the Peekskill Board of Education?
My experiences as a police officer where I served both in Community Affairs and as the Youth Explorer Advisor has prepared me to partner with various members of the community, local elected officials and the youth to deal with difficult situations and accomplish goals is invaluable. In addition my role as clergy for the last ten years has earned me respect from various communities and gives me a humane insight.
Q: What do you consider the three top concerns in the district?
The three top concerns for the district are limited resources, diminishing programs and lackluster test grades for students particularly those who are first generation citizens that are challenged with other external conditions.
Q: What is your tentative plan to address these issues?
We have to be innovative in creating partnerships that will fill the void for limited resources and diminishing programs such as tapping into the wealth of existing civil servant departments such as police/probation department to educate on crime prevention/youth services to perhaps form some sort of afterschool program. Survey various notable private sectors that may desire to volunteer in assisting our children and partnering with our parents to accomplish other services or scholarship opportunities. Discover ways to encourage all parents to take a more active role in partnering with teachers and school administrators in investing time to assist not only their children but those in the community at large to improve the overall educational experience of every child.
Q: How do you think the recently mandated 2-percent tax cap will impact the future of education?
I believe any time there is going to be fewer resources to pool from to improve the educational system we will face some tough choices and creative challenges of producing quality standards that equal and exceeds the expectations of society.
Q: What is your opinion of the proposed 2012-13 budget and the impact of the tax levy?
I believe the proposed 2012-13 budget is a necessary evil if we are to continue to make strides in leveling the playing field for the children in our community to compete with surrounding much wealthier municipalities in terms of current educational standards and future goals. However, I am sensitive to the great stress any tax increase impresses upon our citizenry, particularly those such as my mother, also a Peekskill resident who is recently widowed and on a fixed income.
Q: What would you propose to improve student achievement (as measured by test scores) in general and reading in particular?
I believe we have to look at innovative ways of partnering with parents to take a more active role in the education of their children. It is arrogant to propose that we can best impact the scores and lives of students without the support and interest of the parents. Simple tasks such as reading a few minutes a day with students at home could positively impact the scores and the way children feel about themselves knowing that the entire community is rallying behind them.
Q: What do you think of hallway sweeps to combat tardiness at Peekskill High School?
I believe they can be helpful if done in a way that is not demeaning but does challenge and forces the student to focus on the importance of his/her actions as well as bring the parent(s) into the picture of the current circumstances of their child’s educational outlook.
Q: What do you think of the district’s new alternative education program?
I am optimistic that the 21st Century learning Center may prove to be one alternative to assisting some of our students who have not excelled in traditional settings. I am of the adage that there is not a “one size fits all” with regards to learning. Whereas I believe learning should exist on certain fundamental structures in order to gauge progress, facilitators and administrators should be allowed some freedom to create innovative methods that may reach the uniqueness of every student.
Q: Is there anything we haven’t asked you about that you would like the public to know about you or your candidacy?
I am committed to being sensitive to the economic constraints and sensible enough to realize that our children are our strongest investment. I am inclusive in my approach to the rich cultural tapestry here in Peekskill and willing to be innovative in my approach in the enrichment of programs for our children’s benefit.