I would like to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for election to the Hicksville School Board. I am proud to say that as a former board member I had the pleasure of serving the needs of the children and the taxpayers for over five years and I am once again asking for community support on May 19 to use my experience to continue my commitment to Hicksville.
As lifelong residents and graduates of the Hicksville School District, my wife and I have been pleased to raise our three children in this community. Our oldest son graduated from the high school in 1997 and he currently attends NYIT in the architecture program. Our daughter is in the ninth grade at the high school and our youngest son is completing the fifth grade at Woodland and he will be moving on to the middle school next fall. I know firsthand what is needed to ensure quality educational opportunities for all children. During my board service I fought for and supported new elementary reading and science programs, new high school science labs and academic resource rooms, updated technology curricula and facilities at both the middle school and high school, revitalized foreign language programs including introducing the FLEX program to the sixth grade, new elementary self-sustaining summer recreation and after school child care programs, and a new cafeteria service that included an elementary lunch program.
In addition to being a parent, as a homeowner for over 20 years I'm also a taxpayer in this district. I have supported cost effective measures in the past to keep Hicksville affordable while providing for quality education. The fact is that during my prior board service reduced budgets and tax decreases were delivered to the community to maintain the Hicksville tax rate as one of the lowest in the county. This careful review of the budget included reduced costs for transportation and telephone systems through contract renegotiation that resulted in saving over $1 million with no loss of services, early retirement plans that reduced salary costs by over $1 million and districtwide energy conservation projects that not only reduced lighting usage by 35 percent but also improved the lighting for students and staff.
Quality of life issues have always been important to me as a homeowner and a parent. I know how to fight to preserve the things that make Hicksville a good place to live. One of the best ways to keep this community strong and viable is to maintain a high quality and cost effective school system.
My educational, civic and work experiences include a BA in communications from Hofstra University, over 10 years as an active member and officer of the Midland Civic Association, and over 30 years working in both the private and public sector. I would like to once again use my life experience to work with the community to serve the needs of the district, always making the students the first priority.
The educational challenges that we face as a community are many as we move forward to the new century. We must provide effective and trustworthy school board leadership. If we are to raise our expectations in line with the new Regents Learning Standards while dealing with the budget pressures of increased enrollment, then we must work together to provide the cost effective educational programs that our children deserve. In addition, we must all care about the image of the Hicksville School District. I will work to improve that image through a variety of methods to provide information to all members of the community, focusing on a well-rounded communications program that should include board/community forums to discuss topics of mutual concern.
Effective board members need to exhibit vision, accountability and advocacy. I feel that my record demonstrates those qualities and I hope to once again be able to work on behalf of all of the children of Hicksville. Please return proven leadership and experience to the Hicksville School Board. I would ask for your support for the team of Richard Pfaender (3A) and Jay Schwartz (3B) on Tuesday, May 19 and I urge you to also support the children by voting to approve the budget.
Thank you for your past support and with your help I look forward to continuing my commitment to strive for excellence in education in Hicksville. Together we can provide an environment that allows each child to excel, by providing strong, cost effective educational programs taking place in solid and safe school facilities. The best is yet to come for Hicksville.
Richard H. Pfaender