4 candidates vying for 3 seats on Rhinebeck school board
RHINEBECK, N.Y. — School district residents on May 15 will choose among four candidates seeking three seats on the Board of Education.
The top two vote-getters will serve three-year terms; the third-place finisher will fill the seat of former Trustee Laurie Rich for one year.
The candidates are Lisa Rosenthal, of 404 Sepasco Center St., Rhinebeck; Stephen Jenkins, of 84 Knollwood Road, Rhinebeck; Diane Lyons, of 665 Willowbrook Road, Clinton Corners; and incumbent Mark Fleischhauer, of 146 Rhinecliff Road, Rhinebeck.
Trustee Elissa Cascio, whose term is up this year, is not running.
Lyons, 42, is a first-time candidate who has lived in the district for 14 years. She and her husband, Brendan, an executive principal at Arlington High School, have three children. She is a 1987 graduate of Pine Bush High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of South Carolina in Columbia in 1991.
“The board’s done a good job of making smart cuts but we can’t continue to cut,” Lyons said. “The answer is complicated because people can’t promise things they don’t know if they can deliver on because there’s a lot of rules that affect schools and where you can take money from and how you can take money.
“So I wouldn’t want to say or promise things that can’t be done,” she said. “I would want to work with the board and find the ways to do that.”
Jenkins, 49, is a financial adviser with Sterling Manor Financial and is seeking elected office for the first time. He has lived in the district since 2005 and, with wife Kathy Malaga, has two children. He is a 1981 graduate of Herricks High School in Nassau County, received a bachelor’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan in 1987 and earned a master’s degree in finance from the Cass Business School in London in 2002.
“I think it’s going to be a learning process for me,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know a lot about public budgets, so I think (priorities will be) learning the budget as it stands and making sure we stay focused on helping all of our students reach their full potential.”
Fleischhauer, 46, is a data support analyst with Archcare and seeking a third term on the board. He is a lifelong resident of the district and, with wife Mary, a teacher in the district, has two children. He graduated from Rhinebeck High School in 1983, earned an associates degree in math and computer science from Dutchess County Community College in 1986, and received a bachelors degree in computer science from SUNY New Paltz in 1994. Continued...
“I think we need to be able to produce a budget that works under the (state) tax cap and that preserves programs,” Fleischhauer said. “... I think it’s really important for the community to try to live within our means but provide the best quality education that we can for our students.”
Rosenthal, 52, is a lawyer in private practice and is seeking elected office for the first time. She has lived in the district since 2004 and, with husband Jon Gautier, has one child. She graduated from Herricks High School in Nassau County in 1977, received a bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville in 1981 and earned a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan in 1986.
“The reason I’m motivated to run for the board is watching the budget season, it became clear to me ... how significant ... the tax levy cap had made the whole process,” she said.
“Rhinebeck was extremely fortunate this year that they were not forced by economic circumstances to cut programs or lay people off,” Rosenthal said. “But one thing that the process made clear to me is that there is no guarantee that won’t happen” in the future.
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