|SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT|
Elias Gootzeit, who is seeking re-election to the Mount Vernon School Board, has been an embarrassment to Mount Vernon. In his past 7 years as a Board Member, his behavior at school board meetings have been disruptive and bizarre. The New York State Education Dept. has a video of how school boards should not behave, and Mount Vernon’s School Board, during Gootzeit’s tenure, was used as the example. He is known to go as far as to throw chairs when he does not get his way. Gootzeit aligns himself with The UBC (United Black Clergy) and Ernie Davis, whose meddling in Mount Vernon Schools has caused the destruction of Mount Vernon’s once blue ribbon school district, and the tripling of property taxes.
Mount Vernon Exposed was informed, that in an attempt to keep Gootzeit in office, deals have been made. Frances Ann Lightsy, Principal of Grimes Elementary School, and a staunch Ernie Davis supporter, has been working very hard to get Gootzeit re-elected. Ms. Lightsy is retiring at the end of the school year, and reports are, Gootzeit has arranged a job in the District Office for her upon her retirement. This is payback for Lightsy’s support. Our school system has been auctioned off to the highest bidder for the last 18 years. Nothing Mr. Gootzeit has accomplished in his tenure has helped educate children. In fact, scores have tumbled and taxes have soared while he sat on The Board.
Gootzeit championed the yearlong fight to allow undocumented citizens to vote in school elections. This was an attempt help get him re-elected. The health of a school system is vital to the health of any city. Having undocumented residents determine the future of Mount Vernon, our tax rate, and property values, is insane. Gootzeit has not offered one solution to help children, or cut taxes. He is an advocate against change. His connection to The UBC, an organization with roots to CEPAA, a group who seized control of the school board in 1997 is troubling.
REV. WILLIAM MIZELL
Since CEPAA took control of the board in 1997, children and taxpayers have caught hell. Under CEPAA, vocational courses were cut from the educational system. Ralph Tedesco, the director of vocational training for the district, was a member of the (ICA) Italian Civic Association. The ICA was the group that once held a grip of the school board, and was defeated by CEPAA in 1997. Despite the devastating effect it would have on children, the vocation programs were cut, only to hurt Tedesco and the ICA. This left academically challenged children, no option but to drop out of school, resort to crime, and face years behind bars.
Ms. Lightsy was appointed Principal in 2003 by CEPPA’s board members. She will have no retirement trophy on her mantle, listing her accomplishments as Principal. Grimes Elementary School has over 60% of its children below State levels in reading and math. Ms. Lightsy, whose salary is higher than any Official working for The City of Mount Vernon, is finding time to help inject herself in the School Board Election, while her students cannot add and read.
When we go to the polls Tuesday, do so for children, and people who struggle to pay for their education, nothing else. Political deals have destroyed our educational system. If we are going to help our new Superintendent succeed, we must cut ties with our troubling past. With corrupt individuals backing Elias Gootzeit, there seems to be no shame in the continued exploitation of children, and taxpayers in the City of Mount Vernon.