These Are Tough, Challenging Times…

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I am seeking to serve my sixth three-year term as a Westbury school board trustee. The annual election will be held Tuesday, May 16, and I would like to share with you some of my concerns and reasons for seeking your support.

First, I wish I could have those responsible for the numerous negative robo calls from the district publicly apologize. The calls you may have received from the district asking for you to vote for anyone but me were not done with my knowledge or permission. Since my appointment to the board in 2002 I have chosen to not negatively campaign. I have done so repeatedly with success (see “Westbury Budget Passes with No Mud-Slinging” The Westbury Times, May 30, 2014). As a result of the robo call and texting situation I have called for an investigation into the improper and illegal use of district resources for these purposes. I do not plan to change the way I campaign, quoting Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.”

I am a 15-year school board member and independent thinker who has worked for improvements in the school district since I was first appointed to the school board in 2002. I have served the school district as a board trustee and community volunteer in many capacities. Early on I served on the New York State School Board Association’s (NYSSBA) Cultural Diversity Committee, working with school board members from across the state. The purpose of the committee was to be sensitive to how we work to educate all children in New York State regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, color or ability. As president of the school board I met the challenge of working to unite a split board. As a board committee member I’ve worked to address housing, homelessness, enrollment growth, transportation, policy and curriculum. This winter I served again on the BOCES Budget Review Committee, expanding my knowledge of the school budgeting process. I was invited to represent Westbury on the Education Commissioner’s Roundtable and also invited to participate in the Commissioner’s Common Core Review Process. I recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from NYSSBA following my completion of the NYSSBA School Board University. Working with past superintendents I have taken the opportunity to lobby at both the state and federal level numerous times, working closely with our elected officials to make sure our voices are heard. I have spoken out against unfair state and federal mandates. I am a new member of the R.E.F.I.T. board, an organization who is fighting for equity in the states approach to funding schools. I join many other dedicated school board members as a receiver of The Scope Award for School Board Excellence who daily address funding, academic performance and the challenge of struggling schools.

I was elected to do a job, the community has invested in me and I have too much knowledge and experience to simply work to maintain the status quo. When you know better you do better. It is my job as a trustee to make tough decisions; not popular political decisions and I have done so with integrity and confidence keeping everyone’s best interest in mind. I am committed to always giving my best to the children, community and employees of our district. I recently heard a quote of an unknown author that said, “Life is about all of us not one of us or a group of us.”

I have done my homework and I’d like to close with another quote from Michelle Obama. “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”

It is my goal to make sure we maintain our fiscal strength, as we look to hire an instructional leader who will lead us in working together to meet our district goals. These are tough, challenging times and we must work together. Please cast your vote with confidence, knowing that my commitment to move our children and district forward is being honored. Thank you.

—Karin Campbell

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