BOE Candidate Interview Carlo Cella III
BTN is conducting a series of interviews with the Board of Ed Candidates to find out more about them and what they stand for. We are also including their Top 5… We asked the candidates to be creative in their top 5. This can be from their top 5 things, top 5 sports, etc…
Our next candidate to participate is Carlo Cella III. He has been on the BOE for 12 years.
** We have not yet received the top 5 video from Mr.Cella. Once we do we will update the article.
- Why are you running for the BOE?
I am running for the BOE to give back to the town of Glen Rock, a town that has a long history of volunteerism, strong sense of community, and a commitment to supporting great schools.I have lived in GR since 1961, a graduate of GRHS, as is my wife Debbie (Rinbrand) of over 40 years, and my son. I understand the “fabric” of this town, the importance of having “GREAT Schools” and the impact they have on our citizens, students, and property values, along with the importance of maintaining a “fiscally responsible” budget, since the BOE represents greater than two thirds of the overall Tax Levy. Plus, I have the time to make the significant commitment the job of Trustee requires.
- Why do you think you are a good fit for the BOE?
I have been a BOE Trustee for the last 12 years, and have participated on almost every Committee during that time, including; Fiscal Management (current Chairperson), Instruction & Programming (Current Chairperson), Operations, Personnel, and Community Relations, as well as Technology when that was a committee. I am also a member of the Ad Hoc 5YSP Committee, Liaison to the Boro Council and Recreation Advisory Board, where we have discussed important topics such as “Share Services” between the Boro and BOE, and oversight on Field Usage.I have my undergraduate degree from Lehigh University, and an MBA in Accounting from FDU, and have managed 9 figure businesses, with full “Profit & Loss”, Planning, and Staff Development responsibilities.My focus as a Trustee has been to maintain “great schools”, by assuring we only recruit and tenure only the very best staff (our #1 priority) with a very strong emphasis on ‘fiscal responsible decision making process’.I have the energy, background, skills, and knowledge to be an effective Trustee, and look to the citizens of GR for their support.
- What do you think are some of the top issues you would like to accomplish in your next term for the school district? And, why are they important?
We must improve our decision making processes, since we are at a “cross road” of balancing Great Schools under a state mandated 2% Budget CAP. This is why for the last few years I have been a proponent for a Five Year Strategic Plan (5YSP) that will address both short-term, and long-term goals, and create a process to “identify and balance” educational and community priorities. The top issues are:
- State mandated 2% Budget CAP ($845K increase for 2017/18 Budget year), which includes “Unfunded State Mandates”
- Increasing Costs that are growing faster than 2% per 5YSP, such as:
* Employee Related Benefits (11%/$640K annual increase)
* Extraordinary Services including Special Education (13.5%/$300+K annual increase)
* Salary and Contractual obligations (4.1 to 5.1% / $600+K annual increase))
* General Budget line items like Custodial/Building Maintenance/etc. ($275+K annual increase)
- Five-year growth projections on Base Budget alone of $10.6M from 5YSP
- Committee and Administrative Requests of an additional $5.1M from 5YSP, on top of Base Budget
- Ability to “fund & maintain” a Capital Reserve Account that would allow the BOE to:
* Address Air Conditioning of the Elementary Schools
* Implement 1:1 Computers and maintain technology competitiveness
* Improve Facilities – like our Media Center
* Maintain existing FacilitiesBalancing all of these competing priorities under a 2% CAP will require balancing short-term “wants” and long-term “needs” by making decisions in an ‘informed context’, not ‘spot decision’ making process.
- Do you support K-3 students biking to school with parents? And, would you consider allowing them to park their bike in the bike rack?
Absolutely. Anything that would increase physical activity with our students, and additional time with their parents is a positive to all involved. Clearly, we would need the input from our Police and Administration with strong input and rules of engagement with our parents to implement these programs in a safe manner.
- Are there any changes you would like to see the school district look at?, and why?
The BOE is at the early stages of both the 5YSP and Community Survey and Outreach Programs. We must “institutionalize” these programs and processes and keep them updated on a regular basis to assure continuity and consistency within the decision making processes going forward. Please refer to question #3 above.
A Readers question: They want to know how anyone can sit on the BOE and not have kids in the school system?
As mentioned, I have lived in Glen Rock since 1961, attended GRHS, as did my wife Debbie (Rinbrand), and my son. I have also served on the BOE for the last 12 years, and have a deep understanding of every facet of BOE and School structures including Instruction & Programming, Fiscal Management, Operations, Community Relations, Personnel, and Governance. Additionally, my wife currently is the Lead Teacher for the Fine and Performing Arts Departments at GRHS and has taught in the District for the past 25+ years. I have a strong knowledge of how our schools operate, as well as our existing strengths and weaknesses.
this is the final interview of the BOE candidates. All 6 candidates have submitted interviews here