This is the first in a series about the upcoming board election and budget vote on May 15. We'll also provide a candidate Q&A with the rest of the candidates, .
Brian Hugick, who lives in Cortlandt Manor, has served on the board for the last 6 years and is running for his third term. Hugick is a high school science teacher and serves on the Audit Committee Construction Committee and Legislative Action Committee. His son is graduating from this year. As a resident and a board of education trustee, Hugick said his biggest concern is unfunded mandates.
Patch: Why are you running for another term?
Hugick: These are challenging times for public schools, I feel my construction background, and my MBA will continue to contribute to the pro-active planning required by school districts to be financially responsible to tax payers while maintaining instruction for students.
Patch: What experience – either personal or professional – do you have that makes you a strong candidate to serve on the Lakeland Board of Education?
Hugick: I have worked in construction for approximately 15 years, I serve on the construction committee that oversees the maintenance and construction activities in our district. Combined with my MBA, I feel that I help contribute to a pro-active response to our district. I also serve on the financial committee, and also contribute on the pro-active financial efficiencies of our district.
Patch: What issues facing the district do you feel most strongly about?
Hugick: After serving the past 6 years on Lakelands board of education, I have realized that helping run a school district isn't status qua. With constant changes made to public education, it is challenging to be financially responsible as Albany creates these unfunded mandates that public schools are required to follow by law. In the past these unfunded mandates were paid by increases paid out by the local tax payers, but with the 2-percent tax cap these unfunded mandates require cutting back in other areas of public education.
Patch: What is your tentative plan to address these issues?
Hugick: I believe that these issues need to brought to the attention to our representatives in Albany. I would also like to see Albany use these regulations as they run NYS, imagine an evaluation system to rate and evaluate our state elected officials, and limit their spending to the same 2-percent tax cap.
Patch: How do you think the recently mandated 2-percent tax cap will impact the future of education?
Hugick: Local control so school districts has diminished as a result of the 2-percent tax cap, as a result when Albany passes on unfunded mandates to public education as law, public schools are being pushed to become more efficient of doing more with less, and unfortunately as we see in other less fortunate areas of NYS programs are being cut back to maintain NYS compliance to the 2-percent tax cap law.
Patch: What has been your biggest contribution to the Board of Education?
Hugick: I am proud of my contributions to both the construction committee as our district built a bus maintenance facility that was funded in majority with NYS Excel funding for preventative maintenance. Secondly, I am equally proud of my contributions to Lakelands financial committee. Along with input from all board of education members over the past 6 years, we have implemented our long term financial strategy of financial plans looking forward 3-5 years. We have gone over many aspects of our school district to improve efficiencies that reduce costs without impacting student learning in the classroom.
Patch: What organizations/groups do you belong to?
Hugick: I belong to the construction and financial committees. In my personal life I enjoy flying an airplane, scuba diving, and have recently rediscovered throwing clay on the pottery wheel at the Peekskill Clay Studio.
Patch: Is there anything we haven't asked you about that you would like the public to know about you or your candidacy?
Hugick: In the event someone is thinking why am I running for another term for Lakelands board of education when my son is graduating from Lakeland CSD? My response is that my home will be very empty next year while he attends college, and I will have more time to continue my dedication to public service that tends to keep me busy in a rewarding fashion of helping to make the world a better place. I teach science at the secondary level in a local area high school.