MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The Mount Vernon Daily Voice is profiling candidates for the Board of Education. Each candidate will be asked the same questions.
Three seats are up for election. The incumbents are Delia Farquharson, Rosemarie Jarosz and Marc Stuckey. Chanese Coleman is the only challenger to announce her candidacy as of Wednesday.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Mount Vernon and went to St. Joseph’s Montessori School, then to Our Lady Of Victory here in Mount Vernon. I moved to Brooklyn with my father and graduated from New Utrecht High School. My uncle Joseph Coleman ran the Boys Club for years and my father, James Earl Coleman, was very active in the community and was named top athlete in Mount Vernon in 1964. I am a chairperson for the CDC Board of Allen Memorial Church and helped run a back-to-school program over the summer. I first brought a jobs fair to Mount Vernon seven years ago, which we now have three to four times per year. I am also a district leader of the Democratic Party in Mount Vernon and I’m also on the Arts Council.
Why are you running for the Mount Vernon Board of Education?
I know that I can make a difference. I’m a hands-on person, which is what the school board needs. I’ve been helping kids for the last eight years and have always been involved in community groups here in our city.
What qualifies you to be a member of the Board of Education?
I am dedicated and honest and hands-on with the youth. I think we need that here in Mount Vernon. We’ve had some people running for the board for selfish reasons, but with me it’s about the kids. I want things to be like they were in the 1970s. It was perfect and we should have more of that. I made a promise to do a lot more in my community, which I’ve been doing. I’ve helped kids get jobs under my company Coleman & Coleman and have been doing givebacks like book bags, sneakers and T-shirts over the past six years. I’m good at what I do as an employment specialist for the City of Mount Vernon. I’ve helped people find jobs and have focused my efforts on the re-entry program for people just released from prison.
What are the biggest issues facing the school district today, and if elected, what would you do to address them?
The taxes are too high and I think that is unfair. We have a lot of senior citizens who own property in the city who can’t afford them. I don’t think the tax money is being used properly, and I want to make a change. I don’t think we are getting the best uses out of the money. I’m also concerned about the budget. Every time someone talks about it we hear different numbers. Some positions need to be cut and we need to have different programs in our schools.
If something had to be cut from the budget to meet the state tax levy cap, what would you cut?
I would cut salaries and unnecessary positions. We have some people making too much money. We need to create jobs for people that are qualified, not just as favors. I would start by getting a job description of everybody who works for the district. You don’t need to have four secretaries in one office. Maybe we can space them out better. I can’t please everybody, but if elected I will give 110 percent to the city, the school board and the youth.
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