June 27, 2014 01:01PM
By NANCY LAVIN
Sun Staff Writer
WOOD RIVER JUNCTION — Eleven candidates will run for the seven open seats on the Chariho Regional School Committee in November’s election.
In Charlestown, four candidates are running for three open seats. Incumbents Ronald Areglado, Craig Louzon and Donna Chambers, all independents, will seek reelection, while Republican Stephen Young will make a bid for his first term on the committee.
Young, a nine-year resident of Charlestown and retired small business owner, cited dissatisfaction with the school district’s use of Common Core as one of his main reasons for seeking office.
“It was only supposed to be a testing standard, not a part of the curriculum,” he said of the statewide academic standards adopted by the Rhode Island Department of Education.
Young also said that while he is not “at war” with Superintendent Barry Ricci, he hopes to raise more questions about Ricci’s influence in the school district’s policies and decisions.
“Far too many committee members just give him what he wants, which just leads to arrogance,” Young said.
Young cited his years working in business and familiarity with budgeting systems, as well as his standpoint as a taxpayer without children in the school district, as important qualifications for his bid for the position.
Chambers, the state coordinator for the National External Diploma Program, was appointed to fill a vacancy in March 2013. Also appointed in 2013, Areglado is the president of The Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership and has held many leadership positions in elementary, secondary and higher education. Louzon, first elected in 2010, currently serves as vice chairman of the committee and works as the grounds superintendent at the University of Rhode Island.
The fourth Charlestown representative, Stephen Huzyk, will remain on the committee until his term expires in 2016.
In Hopkinton, five candidates — two incumbents and three newcomers — are vying for three open seats.
Sylvia Stanley, who previously served on the School Committee, will run as an independent. She spent eight years as a teacher’s assistant at Hope Valley Elementary School and another eight years as the bookkeeper for the superintendent’s office. Since retiring, Stanley explained that she wanted to give back to her community, and felt this was a suitable venue to do so.
Stanley named homeschooling issues, the cost of education and the need for the School Committee and school administration to work together as her top three areas of focus.
“I really think the School Committee needs to become more of a team than they are now,” she said, adding that if elected, she would try to lead by example in encouraging partnership and communication among committee members and administrators.
Lisa Macaruso also has an extensive education-related background, having held positions as a teacher and behavioral consultant for a special education department in another school district before her current job as the disability services program coordinator for the Community College of Rhode Island. Macaruso, who will finish her master’s degree in education at The University of Rhode Island in December, has twin daughters entering third grade at Ashaway Elementary School.
“In my current job, I have the opportunity to really see what parts of the education system did well, and what students are still lacking when they come to college,” said Macaruso, who will run as an independent. “This is the right time for me to be an agent of change, for my daughters and for the rest of the children in the district.”
Macaruso said she hoped to focus on issues of school safety, curriculum and student conduct.
Dorothy Gardiner, a Democratic candidate, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Gregory Kenney and Georgia Ure will seek reelection to the committee as Democrats. Committee member George Abbott’s term continues through 2016.
Amanda Blau, who holds the third seat up for election, will not run.
In Richmond, incumbent Robert Cardozo, a Democrat, will match up against Republican Kevin McGreevy, a pharmacist for CVS making his first bid for public office.
McGreevy, a father of two whose oldest just finished pre-kindergarten at Hope Valley Elementary School, said recent budget outcomes in Richmond reflect voters’ desire for change in leadership.
“I don’t think people are happy with what’s been going on,” he said, describing the need to cater to both taxpayers and schools as a delicate balance.
McGreevy said his top issues, if elected, will be to address the budget, the matriculation requirement in the elementary schools and general allocation of resources, which he said are not always the most cost-effective.
“Take 1:1 for example,” he said. “We could do it more cost-effectively. We don’t need to be leasing Apple computers.”
Cardozo, who was appointed in December 2011, works as a teacher at Woonsocket High School.
Current members William Day, chairman, and Keven Miller will continue to serve until 2016.
The deadline for all candidates, both new and incumbent, to file for a position on the School Committee was 4 p.m. on Wednesday.