HARRISON, N.Y. -- Dennis DiLorenzo, 40, is seeking a third term on the Harrison Board of Education. DiLorenzo said that he is running for another term because the work he wanted to accomplish when he was first elected in 2006 is not done. With new state mandates facing school districts across the state, DiLorenzo said that if he were to leave now, he would feel like he is "abandoning" the students of the district.
"Right now, the greatest challenge facing the Harrison Central School District will be maintaining a quality education program in the shadow of state mandates that do not reflect good educational practice and put at risk our ability to serve all kids well," DiLorenzo said.
The candidate, currently the vice dean of New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies, criticized the state for a new teacher evaluation model. DiLorenzo said that the new standards put too much emphasis on a student's performance on one test rather than looking at how the same student progressed over time. Furthermore, DiLorenzo is not fond of the 2 percent cap on the tax levy. Though he said he supports lowering taxes for property owners (he is one himself), DiLorenzo said that the tax cap is structured in a way that is detrimental to students.
DiLorenzo did credit the staff in Harrison for averaging a 1.84 percent increase over the past five years but said that continuing on that path would not be sustainable.
"I am very proud to be part of a board of education and school district that practices sound financial management for which we have been recognized the past few years," DiLorenzo said. "The district has maintained a AAA rating from Standard & Poor's for five years and for the fourth year running was awarded a certificate of excellence for financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association."
DiLorenzo, who is currently the president of the BOE, said that his greatest accomplishment in his two terms has been helping students based on their individual needs. DiLorenzo said that the high school's guide to course planning shows many alternative paths a student can take based on their abilities and desire.
"I believe that we have a school district that is serving the diverse needs of our students while presenting those students with many opportunities to succeed," DiLorenzo said. "The major issue now is our ability to continue the good work. We have a community that is very supportive, an administration that is dedicated to access and adaptability and an excellent faculty committed to best practice. But we also live in a state that undervalues public education and puts at risk everything we believe in."