This is the second 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, .
Dobson, who lives in Cortlandt Manor, is currently the school board's vice president, who is running for her fifth three-year term. She has been a member of the school board for 12 years and has been active in the community for a number of years and serves on Management Policy Committee, Wellness Committee and District Parents' Council. Her sons both attended Lakeland schools, four nieces and nephews have graduated and two are still attending.
Patch: What's your greatest concern as a resident and a Lakeland Board of Education member?
Dobson: The economy. I want to future of America to get a quality education so they can lead and protect our rights and way of life. I worry that we will compromise quality as we make more and more hard-hitting decisions.
Patch: Why are you running for another term?
Dobson: I enjoy the various challenges, I like working on solutions, I take pride in our success and I think it is important to give back and be part of the team that works to improve things rather than sitting on the sidelines criticizing
Patch: What experience – either personal or professional – do you have that makes you a strong candidate to serve on the Lakeland Board of Education?
Dobson: I guess my time on the BOE, District Parents Council, PTA, Site Based Teams and various District wide committees have given me a handle on the workings of the District, the expectations of the community and the challenges of navigating the State Education Department.
Patch: What issues facing the district do you feel most strongly about?
Dobson: There are many, but right now I am very concerned on the direction that public school education is heading. I fear the constant adding of unfunded mandates and the crippling regulations place on District s from the State will slowly turn our schools into the schools that people moved from the city to get away from. Many decisions are made with the “best of intentions” but are not thought out long term and the cost and impact are not factored in when they pass these laws and regulations. I do not know how much longer we can maintain the quality as they squeeze us from both ends.
Patch: What is your tentative plan to address these issues?
Dobson: Fortunately we saw much of this economic turmoil coming and we planned ahead and that has placed us in a better position than most. I want to continue bringing all effected groups into the conversation, board, administrators, staff, students and community to work together to help us help ourselves to sustain the quality of our programs, offer every student a chance to succeed and not over burden the taxpayer.
Patch: How do you think the recently mandated 2-percent tax cap will impact the future of education?
Dobson: I think Lakeland and every other district would be happy to stay well below 2-percent cap-and if the state would relieve us of some of the un-funded mandates we would all be able to stay below the cap without compromising quality. However they have yet to give us any relief from current mandates and have recently added more.
Patch: What has been your biggest contribution to the Board of Education?
Dobson: I think I am a good listener, I look at all sides of an issue and when I don’t think it is in the best interest of students, staff or residents I am not afraid to give my opinion and stand by it. As example a few years ago many parents and staff wanted us to go to two- tier busing. I stood against it because of the economic impact it would have on the District. My stance angered many people and they let me know about it. Today I am glad I stood by my instincts as we would be laying off teachers to stay below the cap to support two-tier busing.
Patch: What organizations/groups do you belong to?
Dobson: I serve on the Policy Management Committee, the Wellness Committee, R.E.A.D., a multi-district group looking at ways to get relief from unfunded mandates. I have served on many District committees over the years.