This message was read at our most recent Budget Hearing.  Please take a few minutes to read this statement.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any Board of Education Trustee

In recent weeks an unspecified number of community residents have received emails from an individual and his wife that have attacked Dr. Mustich and the Board of Education.  These individuals are parents of a district student.  Private emails from these same individuals have expanded this attack to other staff members.

We are not surprised.  One of the individuals promised the schools district’s attorney several weeks ago that he was “going to make Peter’s life difficult.”  This kind of counterproductive behavior is upsetting to many and, in our minds, utterly inappropriate. Rye Neck is a school district recognized for its civility and community support.  The antics of these individuals – rhetorical distortions, innuendo, half-truths and outright lies – are not reflective of our community.

In our view, Dr. Mustich and the commitment of prior Boards of Education and dedicated professionals have helped to shape Rye Neck into one of the finest small schools in the region.  We are one of the more cost-effective school district in Westchester, yet our student outcomes often rival that of the best-performing districts. Rye Neck’s administrative staff is lean and per-pupil expenditures are below the county average.

Dr. Mustich has dedicated his life to Rye Neck, having worked here for 40 years, with the last 20 as Superintendent, making him the longest-tenured Superintendent in Westchester County.  He has built a superb leadership team of principals and administrative staff with exceptionally low turnover.  We value that continuity.  It has tangible and intangible benefits.  We don’t want Rye Neck to be a professional stepping stone for administrators before they move on to larger school districts.

There isn’t a school district in the county or state with a core leadership team as successful and enduring as the Rye Neck administration, and Dr. Mustich and his leadership team have brought extraordinary results that have made our district attractive to many seeking to buy in a community with good schools and, in our case, the connectivity and sense of community that only a small school district can provide.  Dr. Mustich contributed greatly to that atmosphere.  Long term residents will tell you of the dramatic improvement in the district since Dr. Mustich became Superintendent.

Volunteers on the Boards of Education in Rye Neck have taken their oversight responsibilities seriously, and we are carrying on that legacy.  We have three auditors who report to the Board annually.  And yet, without a shred of evidence, these individuals have suggested that there is something nefarious at Rye Neck, and that this conspiracy involves the auditors, attorneys, administrators, and numerous Boards of Education.  We think our community knows better. We will not respond to every false and ill intended claim emailed to recipients in the district.

Unfortunately, we suspect the smear campaign is not over.  One of the individuals has requested all of Dr. Mustich’s expense reports of the past three years; expense, by the way, that average approximately $2,000 annually.  When complete we will provide this individual with the records, in fact we will post them on our website.  Yet you can expect another email from him describing the expense reports as negatively as possible.

Thanks so much to so many of you for voicing your support of the district, Dr. Mustich and the Board of Education.  Your words and encouragement are appreciated.  And now we have significant business as a Board.  At this time of year our attention is squarely on the prospective budget.  With that said, I would like to return to our regular agenda.

Dr. Mustich will present the budget.  After the presentation, anyone who has questions will approach the podium, state your name and address the board.  You have the floor for three minutes.