When Clifford Saffron moved with his family to Roslyn in 1994, he did it for one central reason: the schools.
“I was always impressed with the sheer beauty of the neighborhood and, of course, the schools,” the Roslyn school board vice president said. “When deciding whether to send our kids to a private school or move out and send them to a public school, it was an easy choice.”
But just 10 years later, while both of his daughters attended Roslyn schools, a financial scandal involving a multimillion-dollar embezzlement scheme struck the district.
“Like all residents, I was outraged when that occurred,” he said. “I recognized there was a lot of work to be done to repair the community and that’s what motivated me to run” for a seat on the school board.
Saffron joined the board in October 2004 and has served on it ever since. He is seeking re-election for his fifth term in a vote that will take place on May 16. His candidacy, and that of school board President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy, is unopposed.
“On one of my early campaigns I met Meryl,” Saffron said, noting that Ben-Levy joined the board only months after he did.
“Almost since day one we shared a singular view of what had transpired and what needed to be done to get Roslyn back on track,” he said.
“Here we are 13 years later and that track we put us on was the right track,” he added. “We’ve made critical decisions around administration, quality of education and the desperate need for improvement to our facilities.”
Pointing to a key achievement of his tenure, Saffron noted the $41.3 million infrastructure improvement effort that won voter approval in 2014.
“When the community places trust and confidence in the board and administration to approve $40 million in spending, I take it personally to make sure that money is spent appropriately,” he said. “It’s very gratifying to have that support. We couldn’t do anything without the support of the community.”
Other achievements listed by Saffron include the expansion of district class offerings, the adding of student clubs, the effort to give students iPads and the equipping of teachers with technology to support instruction.
If he wins re-election, Saffron said he looks forward to instituting the infrastructure improvements made possible by the 2014 bond.
“We’ll roll out improvements that began last summer and continue the next two summers. We will do all we can to make sure the money is spent wisely for our kids,” he said.
But “education is always a priority,” he said. “We’ll continue to challenge the administration to come up with ways to challenge our students to make sure our curriculum fits where we are as a world right now, with a focus on initiatives around technology, data and analytics.”
“Our community demands the highest education for its children and it supports us to achieve that,” he added.
Voting will take place on May 16 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Roslyn High School.