UPDATE: Election results available here.
Candidate for Croton-Harmon Trustee5 Arrowcrest Drive, Croton on Hudson
Employment: Director of Tax, JC Flowers & Co LLC
Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Alfred University Master of Science in Taxation, Fordham University
Tenure: Croton on Hudson, NYtoddfreebern@yahoo.com
Election Central: Why are you running for office or seeking re-election?
Freebern: I am running for a seat on the Croton-Harmon school board because I hope to contribute my financial experience to help our district continue to provide the best education we can for our kids and in the most cost-effective manner possible. I have two young children in our district's schools so would have the perspective of a current district parent for my entire term of office.
Election Central: What in your personal, civic or professional experience recommends your election or return to office?
Freebern: I have over 15 years of professional financial experience starting with accounting firms and more recently working for a financial firm as Director of Tax. I have also served on the board of Croton-Harmon Education Foundation (CHEF) for the last two years, most recently as Treasurer.
Election Central: What would be your top three priorities if you are elected or re-elected?
Freebern: Though I have spent a lot of time at school board meetings, doing my own research, and speaking with our administration to understand the many elements that going into our budget process, I would like to further my understanding of this and explore if there are ways to continue to improve the academic offerings in our schools without excessive additional tax burdens. For example, I would like to explore our conservative approach to budgeting and resulting reserve build-up to see if I feel we are striking the right balance between sound fiscal planning and unnecessary tax burdens.
Now that we are a few years into the rollout of Common Core, I would advocate for members of our district faculty to participate in efforts to improve upon the instructional materials provided by New York State through EngageNY. We can do this at both the local and state levels.
Lastly I would continue the work of our current board, particularly by one of the departing members, to advocate to our government representatives to allow us to maintain the quality educational programming our children deserve. In particular, I would advocate for relief from unfunded mandates. In some cases this would mean seeking the repeal of the mandates. There are other mandates that are quite well-intentioned and positive for certain students but we just need funding to support them. On a related note, I would continue efforts for New York to finally eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment, a program under which New York State began balancing its own budget on the backs of the state's school districts since 2009. This has cost New York school districts over $8 billion since first imposed, including about $2.5 million for our district alone.