Voorheesville School Board with two unchallenged incumbents
VOORHEESVILLE — Next Tuesday, May 20, school district residents will be able to vote on the $22.7 million school budget along with the $1.15 million library budget and for two board of education incumbents.
Kristine L. Gravino and Cynthia M. Monaghan, both ending their first four-year terms, are seeking uncontested second terms on the Voorheesville School Board.
Both candidates were asked about their experience as board members, hopes for their future terms, and their stances on the balance between the arts and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes, as well as the declining enrollment and issues it presents.
Cynthia M. Monaghan
Monaghan is a family nurse practitioner and director of an outpatient nursing facility with two children in the Voorheesville School District.
“Voorheesville is an outstanding district and community,” she said.
During her time as a board member, she most enjoyed contributing to the community and getting people more involved with the school board. She also thinks highly of every board member’s involvement in decision-making and keeping in mind what is best for the community as a whole.
“Decisions aren’t just made on your personal views,” she said.
She also discussed her continuing learning experience as a board member, adding that she thinks the board needs creativity to solve some of the problems that have come up, especially regarding making a budget everyone could be amenable to.
Additionally, she hopes the board will continue with community involvement, noting the Voorheesville Community Alliance for Health Choices as one way the board has joined with community members and local law enforcement to create a program focused on making sure kids make good choices.
“I think this is the way to go — getting the community involved… taking a proactive stance,” she said. “That’s the kind of thing I’d like to see more of.”
Speaking about her position on balancing the arts and STEM classes, Monaghan said, “Voorheesville is very into the arts…and everyone looks at the importance of that,” but she noted that education in STEM is necessary for future graduates to get jobs.
“We also need to keep up with technology,” she said, “being able to use a computer is more than just playing video games.”
Monaghan also said that budget cuts regarding classes in either category were based on enrollment, not because one was considered more important than the other.
She went on to describe declining enrollment as “always on our mind,” speaking of the board.
“When a house goes up for sale, you always hope four kids move into it,” she said.
Monaghan said the board looks at the numbers to see what needs to be changed so it can plan around the needs of the students.
Kristine L. Gravino
Gravino has a doctorate in counseling psychology and a private practice, with two children in the Voorheesville school district.
Asked what she enjoyed most about being on the school board, she said, “I enjoyed being part of the change.”
Gravino wants to be an avenue for change and have a heads up on what is going on with the school, particularly because she has children in the district.
She is also interested in improving the school’s communication with the community and continuing the strides it has already made.
“We work well together as a group,” she said of the school board.
Speaking about her stance on the balance between the arts and STEM, she said, “I want a very equal balance. I think the arts and music are equally as important as academics.”
While she is aware of declining enrollment, Gravino hopes it will go up and believes that, if smaller homes were built in the community, it would encourage smaller families with younger, elementary-aged children to move into the area.
“I’m hoping we can be creative about it and get enrollment to go up,” she said.