The Examiner

McGaffey to Depart Pleasantville School Board After 12 Years

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Pleasantville Board of Education member Shane McGaffey, who serves as the board’s current president, will be leaving the board at the end of his fourth term on June 30.

Shane McGaffey, a 12-year Pleasantville Board of Education member, has decided against running for a fifth term on the board this spring.

“I originally ran in 2010 on a set of issues,” McGaffey recalled. “A lot of things I ran for have been accomplished and I feel really good about my service and where the school district is going.”

McGaffey was board vice president in 2012-13 and 2020-21 and served as president for three consecutive school years, from 2013-14 through 2015-16, and again this year.

McGaffey’s family moved to Pleasantville during the summer of 1978 when he was a second-grader.

“I went to the elementary school before I went on to private school,” he said. “Pleasantville has always been my home base.”

Prompting McGaffey to initially run for the five-member board was his concern for the school district’s fiscal stability that didn’t seem to be supported by the yearly school budgets.

“When I ran in 2010 the budget increase and the fact that the district was using the fund balance for operating expenses indicated there was a systemic problem,” McGaffey explained. “I didn’t want the school district to run out of money. I opposed the budget because I could foresee massive budget cuts which would have included teachers.”

A positive shift occurred in 2014 when a long-range strategic plan was introduced.
“We really got into the planning business and not just thinking in terms of next year’s budget cycle,” McGaffey said. “What we wanted in place was a plan that would impact kindergartners when they graduated from high school. We were looking to plan through to 2026.”

Ultimately the school district’s five-year strategic plan was a success that McGaffey found very exciting.
“Today, our long-range strategic plan is a strong part of the district’s fabric,” he said. “Now what we want is people who are going to be involved in the long term.”

Another issue McGaffey doggedly pursued was the state education funding formula that shorted funds owed to districts for many years. For the last 12 years, board members have been trekking up to Albany to educate state legislators about the formula discrepancies.

“Pleasantville’s high property taxes were supplementing the rest of the state when regionally we were spending less than other school districts on education,” McGaffey explained “We were getting $2.1 million every year, which wasn’t the full foundation aid (due us) and residents had to make up the difference through their property taxes.”

During his first year as board president McGaffey said he and his colleagues began inviting students to board meetings.

“We wanted to give students a voice, to hear what they wanted from their school and it’s led us to offer different programs,” he said. “I’m thankful to the administration and principals who have worked very hard to meet the goals the board set. The board felt like it accomplished something that we are all proud of.”

McGaffey said a key reason against running for re-election is to spend more time with his son, currently a freshman at Pleasantville High School.

“I’ve been on the school board since before my son was in kindergarten. Soon he’ll be in college and I really have just a few years to have personal time with him,” McGaffey said. “If I don’t take the time to know him, I’m never going to have the time to be a better father.”

McGaffey also has a daughter who graduated Pleasantville High School in 2018 and is currently studying opera in Germany. He currently chairs Pleasantville STRONG, a coalition whose mission is to reduce underage drinking and drug use. That is a position McGaffey said he intends to hold. He has been station manager at Pleasantville Community Television since 2004.

“For me, knowing there’s a place in town anybody can come to speak freely and uncensored is really important,” McGaffey said. “It’s what makes this country great. It’s a big part of who I am.”

McGaffey was named Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year in 2009 and he previously served on the Village of Pleasantville’s Master Plan Update Committee. He encouraged people to get involved in the upcoming board election to fill the one seat.

“If anyone is interested in running, they can always reach out to me or any of the board members to find out about serving on the board,” McGaffey said. “You always want the community to have a choice.”

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