Phillip DeGaetano, Former Clarkstown School Board President, Announces Board Candidacy
NEW CITY, NY – Phillip DeGaetano, a lifelong Clarkstown resident, parent of three children who went through the Clarkstown Central School District, and a former President of the Clarkstown Central School District Board announces his candidacy to run for Clarkstown School Board. He has one child who graduated and another currently at Clarkstown North High School. His son who has special needs graduated from Rockland Boces, which Mr. DeGaetano described as “one of highlights of his life.”
We spoke with Mr. DeGaetano about his candidacy.
Why are you running for School Board?
“I know how challenging it can be to effectively balance the responsibilities of the job. The district must be accountable to its taxpayers; it needs to attract and retain quality teachers; and most importantly, it should provide a top-tier educational experience to its students.”
The excellent reputation of the Clarkstown Central School District is perhaps the single most important reason why people choose to buy homes in Clarkstown. This means everyone here has a stake in ensuring that our district maintains its outstanding reputation and its stellar programming. We have an obligation to provide our students with a solid foundation on which to build their own paths toward successful futures.
I have no illusions as to what it takes to accomplish these goals. It is a difficult and sometimes thankless endeavor. But I strongly believe that getting the right candidates to serve on the Board of Education is of critical importance to our community. And, I believe my experience, knowledge, and understanding of the nuances of negotiations are critical assets at this juncture in the district’s history.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
Making our children the top priority is the reason I am running for the Board of Education. During my initial tenure on the board, times in Clarkstown were highly contentious. We were a divided group of people with varied opinions on how to best meet the needs of the community at the time. We had many issues that needed to be resolved.
Could you talk about your time as a former School Board member?
I fought hard and passionately for our students, staff, and taxpayers. The results speak for themselves. My years on the board of education are marked with numerous steps forward for students, staff, and taxpayers.
Our budgets reflected a careful balance of needs. As President, I lead the board to broker a 5-year labor agreement with all bargaining units. The unions gave back over $40M in concessions, we saved the jobs of over 60 teaching assistants, and had zero layoffs for three years. This was all accomplished while staying under the tax cap. Every budget presented under my tenure was passed by the voters because the budgets were responsible and sensible.
Recent Statewide Forest Ranger Actions
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured, or distressed people from across New York State.
In 2022, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 359 search and rescue missions, extinguished 162 wildfires covering more than 1,300 acres, participated in 53 prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate nearly 900 acres of land, and worked on cases that resulted in hundreds of tickets and arrests.
“With more people visiting State lands and enjoying New York’s myriad, world-class outdoor recreational opportunities, DEC’s Forest Rangers are on the front lines to help visitors get outside responsibly and get home safely,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Each day, these highly trained first responders are protecting irreplaceable natural resources and utilizing their expert knowledge of wildland fire suppression, wilderness first aid, land navigation, law enforcement, and technical rescue techniques to successfully execute critical missions, for DEC and our countless local, state, and national partners.”
Hamlet of Claryville
Training: On Jan. 5 and 6, Forest Ranger Lieutenant LaPierre, a Wilderness Medical Associates instructor, led a Wilderness First Responder training course at Frost Valley YMCA for Rangers from DEC regions one, three, four, and seven, which cover the Long Island, Hudson Valley, and Central NY regions. Rangers take the course annually to refresh wilderness first responder skills including assessing vital signs, providing emergency care in the wilderness, and making crucial evacuation decisions.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.
If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it’s for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.
RCC will Receive $3,000,000 for New Nursing Simulation Lab
ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. — Former U.S. Representative Mondaire Jones (D-NY) applauded the passage of the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill, which includes nearly $29 million in Community Project Funding (CPF) for 15 different projects across New York’s 17th Congressional District. The funding will be distributed to various local governments and community organizations throughout Rockland and Westchester Counties. Rockland Community College is pleased to announce that it will receive $3,000,000.
The funding will be used for the construction and expansion of a new state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Lab on Rockland Community College’s main campus in Suffern. Nursing simulation laboratories are used at all levels of nursing education to prepare students with the skills they need to enter the workforce and provide excellent patient care. This funding will provide the Simulation Lab with much needed high-fidelity mannequins and equipment that can mimic real life scenarios that students will face in the field.
“Rockland Community College is thrilled to be the recipient of $3 million in Community Project Funding to construct and expand a new state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Lab on the RCC main campus in Suffern, NY. This could not have come at a more significant moment as our Nation is experiencing a desperate need for nurses as we continue to see a shortage in the healthcare industry. With this funding, RCC will be able to enhance our Nursing Program to allow students to have more practice with their learning. We are excited to begin work on this important initiative and to continue providing our students with transformational experiences for themselves and our community,” said Dr. Susan Deer, Officer in Charge of Rockland Community College.
RCC’s Nursing Program Ranks in the Top 5 in New York State and recently received prestigious recognitions from two independent agencies for the second time in two years. RCC's Nursing Program has been ranked #2 out of 153 New York State Board of Nursing approved schools to pursue an associate degree in nursing, and RegisteredNursing.org ranked the Rockland Community College Nursing Program #5 out of 103 in New York State for 2023 Best RN programs.
The College’s accredited Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program prepares nurses to meet the needs of the community, and incorporates philosophical beliefs, scientific discipline, and concepts from nursing research to prepare nurses for careers in the ever-changing healthcare system. Tuition costs at RCC are about one-third of other colleges in New York, making it an affordable choice for future nurses.
About Rockland Community College, State University of New York Rockland Community College (RCC), located in Suffern New York, provides purpose driven educational opportunities in a supportive, affordable, and accessible environment, empowering
individuals to positively transform themselves and their communities. RCC welcomes students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Many graduates go on to top universities to further their education on their own or through RCCs institutional collaborations.
RCC fosters an environment that attracts, recruits, supports and retains faculty, staff, and students who value diversity. The College promotes a collegial and inclusive environment by recognizing, promoting, embracing, respecting and celebrating the expansive range and dimensions of cultures, attitudes, ideas and viewpoints contained within our campus community.
RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through a variety of programs and educational opportunities including workforce training, certifications, and microcredentials. Many of the programs are developed with employers in the community in high demand industry areas to enable graduates to move into a new career upon graduation. More information can be found at www.sunyrockland.edu.