The White Plains Examiner

No Contest in White Plains BOE Race

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After 15 years on the White Plains Board of Ed. Donna McLaughlin is not running for re-election.
After 15 years on the White Plains Board of Ed. Donna McLaughlin is not running for re-election.

Three White Plains residents have placed their names on this year’s ballot for White Plains Schools Board of Education, meaning the race for the three open spots will be uncontested.

Two are incumbents, and the third, Rose Lovitch, has been involved with various White Plains school PTAs for 12 years. Donna McLaughlin is stepping down after 15 years of service on the board.

In a recent interview, Lovitch said she is ready to move on from the PTA. Currently PTA Council co-president, Lovitch says the district has a lot going on in math and science and she is very excited about the new engineering program coming to the high school this fall.

“I am amazed that despite all the budget cuts we have been forced to make, we are still able to maintain a high-quality level of education. I want to work to keep that high standard and not cut the arts or sports or music,” she said.

Lovitch also noted that improving student performance on standardized tests is important. The schools are in trouble in this area, she said.

Lovitch, who lives in the Soundview neighborhood, has been president of the Post Road Elementary School PTA and a Girl Scout Troop Leader. She has been and continues to be involved in bringing international speakers to White Plains and has worked to fundraise and broaden the international exchange programs in the district.

“As a board member, I would like to expand on that,” she says. Lovitch has three children. Two are currently in the White Plains school system. The eldest graduated from White Plains High School and is now a college freshman.

Lovitch is a civil lawyer by profession. She says her law experience makes her a great advocate. “I know how to present an argument,” she says. “I will bring that strength to the board.”

Peter Bassano
Peter Bassano

Peter Bassano has been on the school board since 2002. He is running unopposed this year and says he will be the longest serving member once McLaughlin leaves.

“We are in the beginning stages of a significant evolutionary precedent in our district and in education in general,” Bassano contends. “Classrooms don’t look anything like they did 25 years ago and in 10 years they will not look the same as they do today.”

Bassano is very excited about how new technology is being used in the schools. “We have reached this level of progress because of the abilities of the new principals and administrators we recently hired, including Superintendent of White Plains District Schools Christopher Clouet,” Bassano said. “I am committed to moving forward in spite of the unprecedented financial pressures we are facing.” Bassano also expects the pre-engineering classes beginning in September to be an exceptional boon for the high school.

Bassano is a partner in the White Plains law firm Bleakly Platt and Schmidt. Currently he is a member of the Annual Schools Budget Committee and serves on the curriculum and personnel committees.

He has two grown children who went through the White Plains public school system.

James Hricay, a member of the board since 2009, is running unchallenged as well. Just finishing his first term on the board, Hricay says there is still much work to be done to improve student performance on standardized tests.

“We’ve had to push both the students and the teachers,” he said in a phone interview Sunday. “It is particularly difficult because of the racial, cultural and economic diversity in White Plains. We have made many cuts over the past two to three years, which has caused us to really focus on the core.”

Despite the difficulties, Hricay still feels White Plains offers a quality education. He has three children in the White Plains school system, with one daughter in a dual language program. “I think it’s fantastic that a young student can become bilingual.”

Dual language instruction in English and Spanish is offered at George Washington Elementary School for grades K to 4 and at Post Road Elementary School for grades K to 2. Hricay is employed by the Office of Policy and Management for the City of Stamford, Conn. As a board member he serves on the finance and safety committees.

White Plains School Board elections and budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 15 from noon to 9 p.m. For more information call (914) 422-2000.

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