Three incumbents are hoping to retain their seats on the Lakeland Board of Education for the next three years in the May 17 districtwide election, but first-time candidate Mike Sancimino is looking to oust one of the current trustees.
Sancimino, a project manager and software developer for an IT firm, has lived in the district 18 years with his wife, Stephanie, and has three boys in district schools. He has been director of football for the Shrub Oak Athletic Club (SOAC) for the last five years, is a community advisor for ASK (Alliance for Safe Kids) and is active with the Yorktown Against Heroin effort.
“Over the past 12 years I have volunteered my time working in youth sports as a coach, commissioner and director and I felt it is time to take the next step and volunteer to be part of the Board of Education,” he said. “I believe that with my technology background I can complement the board and be a valuable asset. We have to be able to bring education and technology together in a way to help keep children engaged and give teachers another platform for instruction.”
The three incumbents seeking reelection are Steven Korn, who was first elected in 2001 as a write-in candidate, former board President Elizabeth Kogler, who joined the board in 2006, and Shrub Oak Athletic Club President Steve Rosen, who has served since 2007.
Korn heads the Lakeland Audit Committee that oversees financial management in the district and believes his experience is essential in managing the state tax cap and representing the interests of parents and taxpayers in a district with a $160 million budget.
“I am enthused and energized by the role of trustee as I was after my first election 15 years ago. I care deeply about the Lakeland Central School District and its important role in our community,” he said. “The Lakeland School District is now featured by many real estate agents when selling. This wasn’t true when I first joined the school board. Local property values are now enhanced by being in the Lakeland School District. We all benefit.”
Kogler, the current board vice president, said the tax cap was one of the biggest challenges the board has had to adjust to, and cautioned it could become necessary to cut programs and staff to continue to stay within the cap.
“While we all want to make a good education affordable, New York State has enacted many mandates on the schools that they do not fund,” she said. “I believe we hire outstanding people who really want our children to learn and achieve anything they want to. I am also proud of the technology we have in our district. From kindergarten through 12th grade, technology is used in our classroom to transform learning. Students are learning the skills they need to succeed when they leave the district.”
Rosen, who has worked closely with Sancimino with the SOAC, agreed the last eight years “have been crazy” dealing with the tax cap and other state mandates, but he’s proud no programs have been cut, particularly in athletics.
“I’m out in the community so I get to hear what people want to see in the district,” he said. “I feel like I can continue to be an asset to the district and working to keep taxes down.”
Voting will take place Tuesday, May 17 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School on Route 6.