Patch is asking all school board candidates to complete a Q&A to offer up insight on why they're running and their respective qualifications and backgrounds for serving on a school board. All board candidates are asked the same set of questions and also asked to provide some bio information.
Here is the Q&A for Andrea O'Neill, an incumbent on the Bayport-Blue Point School Board. She is in her 12th year as a trustee and is completing her fourth term. She currently serves as board vice president.
O’Neill is vying for trustee Katherine Heinlein’s three-year seat, as Heinlein is stepping down, and is being challenged by newcomer Rebecca Campbell.
Full Name: Andrea M. O’Neill.
Residency: I have owned property in the district for 35 years and lived here for 25 years
Children in District: Two graduates: Kathryn in 2005 and Meghan in 2007
Occupation: Executive Assistant to the senior staff of Allstate Insurance company, 36 years
Educational Level: Some college
Special skills/licenses/accomplishments you believe will help in your role as a board member:
- Worked as a PTA secretary
- Treasurer and President as well as on the Booster Club as a volunteer
- Completed classes for the governance skills and fiscal oversight fundamentals as well as many other classes and courses offered by NYSSBA (New York State School Boards Assoc) ie: Law Conference, State Convention and Local conferences.
What is the biggest/top issue facing the district and what is one proposal you have for solving it?
The biggest issue I see is the Tax Levy cap and lack of funding from the state on mandates. I will continue to work with our administration to make sure the budget is as streamlined as possible without eliminating anything from the children’s education. We will continue to work with the community and the board to get more people to contact the politicians to let them know they are hurting the children of our district by forcing us to have so many mandates without help from the state.
Next year’s budget will likely be tougher than this year’s in the quest to meet the tax cap. Name one specific budget area you believe can be reduced going forward?
I believe we have a very tight budget and we will always look to streamline processes to save money. At this point I don’t know that there is any other place that this could be done expect possibly with BOCES. Looking at the services we use and possibly being able to bring more children home as a cost saving measure while not hurting their education. A great example of how we have already done this would be the LEAP program.
Consolidation is a hot topic during budget and board election time. Do you favor consolidating school district operations wherever possible, and what is one specific area you believe would be a substantial cost-savings. If you don’t favor it, name one specific reason why not.
I believe we should consolidate services when possible, like we have done with purchasing gas and repairing vehicles. I don’t believe, at this time, we should consolidate schools but I would not rule this out in the future. I think to consolidate may actually cost more depending on the contracts that would need to be consolidated.
Do you believe parents should have access to teacher evaluations? If yes, why, if no why?
No, I believe it is a tool that should be used by the administration. This is a personal issue which should be private.
What is one specific goal you have established if elected to the board?
Hiring a superintendent to take the helm of the district so we can continue to move forward, as we have for the last several years with our current superintendent.
There are two referendums Bayport-Blue Point taxpayers will vote on this year. Patch asked candidates to state whether they're in favor or not of the propositions:
Do you favor reducing the BBP school board from 7 to 5? N
Do you favor the transportation proposal on the ballot this year? N