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July 10, 2013


Running On My Record

Dear Rick,

Over the course of my nine-year tenure on the Springs School Board, I have:

– Brought transparency to the business of the Board and encouraged community participation at Board meetings and workshops.

– Strengthened communications with parents, staff and community via press releases, a parent google group and postings of all Board presentations on the new, easy to navigate district website.

­– Developed, passed and established the tax levy for nine school budgets, this year with 77 percent voter approval, while building community support for public education in Springs.

– Treated colleagues, staff, and community with civility and respect when dealing with the many personalities, perspectives and challenges facing the district.

– Worked tirelessly to reduce the ever-increasing costs for educating our high school students at EHHS, realizing $3.9 million in savings since 2011 alone.

– Under the first year of the tax levy cap, built consensus within the community to reduce, restructure and redesign programs and services thus eliminating $792,000 from the district's budget.

– Continued the tradition of delivering a quality education to Springs students while holding down costs for Springs taxpayers. (In fact we pride ourselves on doing more with less.)

This was all despite a distressed economy, unfunded State mandates, fluctuating State aid revenues, a rapidly growing student population, changing demographics, one of the highest high school tuition rate in NYS, four straight years of decreasing assessed valuations, and ever-increasing expectations for student performance.

As of May 31, 2013, 86 percent of Springs students are at or above grade level in math. 73 percent are at or above grade-level in reading. (The national average for math is 32 percent while reading is 55 percent.)

There have been members of our community who have been frustrated that the nine Boards that I have served on didn't see things their way. That is inevitable. It is not possible as a public servant to satisfy everyone.

But there are many more folks in Springs who have gone out of their way to thank me for my nine years of community service, my dedication to the youth of our community, and for the fiscally responsible approach I took with their hard-earned money.

These are the same folks who have thanked me for stepping up as I seek to serve the greater community of East Hampton as a member of the Town Board.

Kathee Burke-Gonzalez

Democratic and Working Families Candidate for East Hampton Town Board

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