League of Women Voters of Scarsdale
June 2020

The League of Women Voters of Scarsdale (LWVS) is a volunteer, nonpartisan political organization that promotes political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government.  The League is nonpartisan in that it does not support or oppose any candidate for public office; it is political in that it takes positions on selected governmental issues after serious member study and consensus.  
In This Issue

June 2020
  • 6/4, Thursday:
    • 9:15 a.m. LWVW Annual Convention via Zoom
  • 6/7, Sunday:
    • 5:00 p.m. Candidate Forum for Democratic Congressional Primary CD 16 via Zoom
  • 6/9, Tuesday:
    • School Budget Vote and Board of Education Election
  • 6/15, Monday:
    • 9:30 a.m. Joint Board Meeting via Zoom
  • 6/16, Tuesday:
    • 7:30 p.m. Guest Speaker: Elaine Weiss via Zoom
  • 6/23, Tuesday:
    • Primary Election for President, Congressional District, and County District Attorney's Office 

Message from the President

I hope that you are doing well during these challenging times. During May, the LWVS continued its work closely monitoring voting and election changes. We held a virtual Candidate Forum for School Trustee -- a video of which can be found on our website.  As per Executive Order 202.26, all qualified voters are entitled to receive an absentee ballot to vote in the School Budget/School Board election via mail on June 9. If you are a qualified voter and have not yet received your ballot, please visit the district website to request a ballot. I encourage all qualified voters to use their voice and vote in our local elections.

We are planning an exciting virtual speaker event on the evening of June 16. Please note the change of date. The LWVS is thrilled to welcome Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote . Elaine Weiss will join us via Zoom for a conversation on the complicated struggle over many decades to win the right for women to vote. 

In this issue of the bulletin, we thank the many generous community members whose donations serve to support our important work.  I thank all of our generous donors for your engagement and willingness to support and sustain the LWVS.
I would like to formally congratulate our new 2020-21 Board members and look forward to working closely with all of you during the next year, our Centennial year.
Please note that our 2020-21 Membership Drive will take place at the end of August, early September.  I welcome the entire community -- any local resident who is interested, to join the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale. You may email me with any questions about League membership.

Please join us for our Upcoming Events:
  • Sunday, June 7: 5:00 p.m., Candidate Forum for the Democratic Congressional Primary, CD 16
  • Tuesday, June 9: School Board/School Budget Vote via mail
  • Tuesday, June 16: 7:30 p.m., Special Event featuring Elaine Weiss via Zoom
  • Tuesday, June 23: Local, Congressional and Presidential Primary Election

I wish all of you well.  Stay engaged, stay informed and most importantly, VOTE!

Best wishes,
Leah Dembitzer

Voter Service

Remember to vote!


School Election and Budget Vote
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

New York Primary Elections
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

See below for more information.

School Board Election and Budget Vote

Current as of May 27, 2020

**Ballots must be  received by mail by June 9 at 5:00 p.m.**

The annual School Board Election and Budget Vote is scheduled for June 9th. 
In the School Board Election, three candidates are running for two available seats on the School Board: Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez, Robert Klein, and Amber Yusuf.  Klein and Yusuf are nominated by the School Board Nominating Committee, and Kirkendall-Rodriguez is running independently.  The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will secure positions on the Board. 

In accordance with Governor Cuomo's recent  Executive Order, the 2020 School Budget Vote and School Board Election will occur on June 9, 2020. Voting will be by  absentee ballot only  with no in-person voting. Absentee ballots were sent to all qualified voters in the District with a postage-paid return envelope. If your absentee ballot has not arrived, please contact Scarsdale District Clerk, Honore Adams at hadams@scarsdaleschools.org.  

All ballots must be  RECEIVED BY MAIL  at the Scarsdale Schools' Office of the District Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on June 9 th regardless of the postmark .  Due to the pandemic and need for social distancing, there will be no in-person drop off of the ballots Voters should complete and return their ballots immediately in the enclosed postage-paid envelope.

For purposes of the School Budget Vote and School Board Election, a qualified voter is a person who: 
  • is at least 18 years of age
  • is a United States citizen
  • has continuously resided in the Scarsdale School District for a period of at least 30 days immediately preceding the date of the election
  • is not otherwise ineligible to vote
To find out if you are registered to vote in this election, click here

If you are not registered with the Scarsdale Union Free School District or Westchester County Board of Elections, you may register with the District by June 2, 2020. To register to vote and receive an absentee ballot, click here.

According to the District, college students who are living in Scarsdale at the home of a parent or guardian and who meet the qualified voter requirements above are entitled to vote in the School Budget Vote and School Board Election. The fact that a college student may have registered to vote in another state does not bar the student from participating. College students may find out if they are registered to vote in this election or can register to vote and receive an absentee ballot at the links above.

Since this is a contested School Board election, the Scarsdale League of Women Voters hosted a virtual Candidate Forum on May 31st via Zoom.  The Candidate Forum will be available to view on the League's website at lwvs.org and on Scarsdale Public Access Television; check their website for viewing schedule.

Additional information about the School Board and Budget Vote can be found here

June Primary Elections

The New York Presidential, Congressional, State and local primaries , previously scheduled for April, will take place on June 23

Voters should have received a postage-paid absentee ballot application to allow them to vote by mail if they so choose by selecting "temporary illness," which includes "the potential for contraction of the COVID-19 virus."  The absentee ballot application must be postmarked by June 16. The completed absentee ballot must be mailed and postmarked by June 22. Any absentee ballot which was requested or received previously for the primary elections will continue to be valid and to be counted by the board of elections.

The Scarsdale League and other Leagues in Westchester County are jointly sponsoring virtual Candidate Forums for candidates running in the primary election for the U.S. House of Representatives New York Congressional Districts 16 and 17 and Westchester District Attorney.  Follow the links to view the recent Candidate Forums:
The virtual Candidate Forum for the New York 16th Congressional District will be Sunday, June 7 at 5:00 p.m.; please check www.lwvs.org for updates on how to view it live.

Other Election News

The Scarsdale Village Trustee Election has been postponed to September 15.  Details are forthcoming.

School Budget 2020-21 Update

Scarsdale School District residents currently have the opportunity to vote for the 2020-2021 School Budget (the "Budget") adopted by the Board of Education (the "Board") at its May 13 meeting.   Voting will be by absentee ballot only with no in-person voting. Absentee ballots were sent to all qualified voters in the District with a postage-paid return envelope. All ballots must be RECEIVED BY MAIL at the Scarsdale Schools' Office of the District Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on June 9th.  

The Budget incorporates a series of significant cuts in all budget categories needed to address Covid-19 economic concerns. The Board ultimately reduced the $166,850,850 budget initially proposed in February to $162,696,316 . This final revision, in which approximately $4.2 million in expenditures were removed, represents a budget-to-budget increase of 1.19% and a tax levy increase of 1.66% (Town of Scarsdale, 1.5%; Town of Mamaroneck, 2.31%).  

The tax levy increase of 1.66% is $1.25 million below the State tax cap. The Administration noted two main factors reducing district revenues, which prevent them from reducing tax increases any further: the District expects a 20% reduction in the amount of New York State Aid it receives, and a reduction in interest earnings because of significantly decreasing interest rates.

The adopted Budget contains some changes in the use of reserve funds to limit the tax burden on Scarsdale residents. Most notably, the Budget includes $700,000 in renovations to the Scarsdale High School auditorium, the most critical parts of a significantly larger package which the Board had initially cut at its March 23 Board meeting. This $700,000 will be transferred from the Debt Service Reserve Fund at no cost to taxpayers. Further, the Board will take $1,750,000 from unassigned fund balance for other purposes this year, up from the usual $1,100,000.  

The Budget assumes that the Scarsdale Board of Trustees will implement a plan allowing taxpayers to pay their school taxes in two installments over the course of the school year, rather than paying the total tax bill in one payment in September. The Budget estimates that having less cash in hand at the beginning of the school year will result in a $75,000 decrease in interest earnings. 

At the May 13 Board meeting, the Board explained that the delay in the School Board and Budget Vote, required by Governor Cuomo's  Executive Order, 202.26 , poses some concern should the community not approve the Budget in the upcoming June 9 election. The new timeline does not allow sufficient time to revise the Budget and hold a second Budget vote. In the event the Budget is rejected by voters, the Board most likely would be forced, under State law, to adopt a contingency budget which requires a reduction in the tax levy and a steep reduction in permitted expenditures. The Board estimates that a contingency budget would require an additional $2.5 million in cuts and significantly alter many aspects of the conduct of school, including the reduction in staffing and the reduction of athletic and extracurricular activities.

The League Board of Directors released three previous statements on the School Budget: 
Additional links:

Upcoming Events

Candidate Forum for Congressional District 16 
Democratic Primary Election

Sunday, June 7
5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

The League of Women Voters of Westchester will host a forum via Zoom on
Sunday, June 7th from 5- 6:30 p.m. for candidates running in the June 23 Democratic Primary to represent Congressional District 16. 

The CD 16 area includes parts of the northern Bronx, Ardsley, Eastchester, part of Greenburgh, Hastings, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Mt Vernon, New Rochelle, Pelham, Rye City, part of Rye town, part of Scarsdale, and Yonkers.  The candidates include Jamaal Bowman, Eliot W. Engel, Chris Fink, and Sammy Ravelo. 

The public must pre-register for the live forum at https://bit.ly/lwvwcd16live and may submit questions until June 5 at https://bit.ly/lwvwcd16q. Forum replays will be accessible on www.lwvw.org  and other local League websites and social media. Local cable groups are invited to replay the forum thru election day. 

The mission of the League and its local affiliates is to promote informed citizen participation in government. The League is nonpartisan and does not support or oppose individual candidates or parties. Marylou Green, President of League of Women Voters of Westchester, said, "Voters have tuned into League virtual forums in unprecedented numbers. They are eager to see and hear from all the candidates. We are gratified that our volunteers have come up to speed with this technology to provide this essential voter service." The moderator for the candidate forum is a LWV trained resident from outside of CD 16. 

Guest Speaker: Elaine Weiss

Tuesday, June 16
7:30 p.m.
Zoom link TBA


Elaine Weiss is a Baltimore-based journalist and author, whose feature writing has been recognized with prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists, and her byline has appeared in many national publications, as well as in reports for National Public Radio. Her long-form writing garnered a Pushcart Prize "Editor's Choice" award, and she is a proud MacDowell Colony Fellow. 

Weiss's most recent book, The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote (Viking/Penguin) has won critical acclaim from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and The New Yorker, hailed as a "riveting, nail-biting political thriller" with powerful parallels to today's political environment. The Woman's Hour was a Goodreads Readers' Choice Award winner, short-listed for the 2019 Chautauqua Prize, and received the American Bar Association's highest honor, the 2019 Silver Gavel Award. 

Steven Speilberg's Amblin production company is adapting the book for TV, with Hillary Rodham Clinton serving as Executive Producer.

(Photo credit for author photo: Nina Subin)

LWV Westchester

Other Announcements

League of Women Voters of Scarsdale
2020-2021 Membership Drive Will Take Place This Fall

Our annual membership drive for the 2020-2021 year will take place in early fall.  Please look for renewal information that will be sent out in September.  

Next year LWVS will be celebrating its centennial and we look forward to an exciting year including some special events.  We encourage and welcome all local residents to join the League!  

We hope that you will join us!  If you have any questions, please email membership@lwvs.org.



LWVS -- Renée Baylor, Joan and David Bowen, Linda Doucette-Ashman and Harvey A. Ashman, Cynthia and Timothy Dunne, Joan and Andrew Frankle, Pamela and Craig Fuehrer, Diane Greenwald, Robin and Stanley Levin, Dana Matsushita and David Siegel, Nancy Michaels, Evelyn and Jerome Seidman, Deborah Morel and Michael Shuster, Deborah Pekarek, Margaret and Laurence Smith, Elaine Weiler

LWVNYS Education Fund -- Lauri and David Carey, Arlene and Jerome Levine, Debra and H. Robert Miller, Amy Paulin, Sharon and Irving Picard, Janice and Ira Starr, Jane E. Veron


LWVS -- Alissa Baum and Lloyd Katz, Lynne Clark, Mary Beth Evans, Victor Goldberg, Ronny Hersch, Mary Pat Jones, Barbara and Eugene Kokot, Michelle and Frank Lichtenberg, Anne Lyons, Linda Plattus, Elissa Ruback, Ann Sacher, Suzanne Seiden and Kevin Thurm

LWVNYS Education Fund -- Nancy and Michael Cardozo, Laura Fratt, Barbara and Eric Jaffe, Susie Rush, Adie and William Shore, Ann Rose Simon, Evelyn Stock

NEW HONORARY STATUS (continuous membership for 50+ years):

Evelyn Stock


Jingqing Chai, Laura Chavis, Christine Citron, Evan Citron, May Cowan and Todd Cohen, Marjorie Dembitzer, Beth Dembitzer, Maritza Fasack, Stanley Fine, Craig Fuehrer, Cheryl Glajchen Felton, Cynthia Kaess, Debra and Jonathan Kolodner, Susan Lee Foley, Sarah Maher and Stephen Dembitzer, Michael Moretti, David Russell, Mitchell Seider, David Siegel, Tracy Tang, Kevin Thurm, Rochelle Waldman, Susan Wolin, Jessica Zellner

Finally, thank you to all the members who contributed to our Annual Finance Drive this year.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Nancy Adler,  Renée Baylor,  Marcy Cardarelli,  Lauri and David Carey,  Denice and Ernest Collazo,  Anne and Mark Ellman,  Mary Beth Evans,  Dara and Jon Gruenberg,  Gail Hecht,  The Kahn Family Fund,  Robin and Stan Levin,
Harriet Marmon,  Dana Matsushita,  Joan Mazur,  Nancy Michaels,  Debra and H. Robert Miller,  Deb Morel,  Anne Moretti,  BK Munguia and Jonathan Mark,  Linda Plattus,  Charles S. Raizen Foundation,  Amy Roberts,  Kitt Rosenthal,  Elissa Ruback,  Pam Rubin,  Ann Sacher,  Laurie Saylak,  Evelyn Seidman,  Beatrice Sevcik,  Margaret and Larry Smith,  Judith Soley,  Janice and Ira Starr,  Carol Stix,  Evelyn Stock,  Roberta and Peter Tomback,  Jane Veron and Andrew Feldstein,  Marsha Williams


The LWVS thrives with the hard word and dedication of a community of volunteers. I would like to extend thanks to the League volunteers who contributed much time and energy during the month of May.

Thank you to Voter Service co-chairs, Ronny Hersch, Beatrice Sevcik and Alissa Baum, who have been monitoring all voting and election changes related to the COVID-19 crisis; have been informing League members and the community of these changes and have also spent much time involved in planning our various Candidate Forum events.  

Thank you to Alissa Baum for her continued work on the School Budget portfolio.  Thank you to Elissa Ruback for her help organizing our June speaker event. Thank you to Diane Baylor for keeping our website up-to-date.  Thank you to Joan Bowen for all of her work updating Social Media.  Thank you to Ronny, Beatrice, Alissa, Diane, Amy Cooper, and Aaron Hersch for all of their intensive work to organize and produce the Candidate Forum for School Board Trustee.

Thank you to Dana Matsushita for her patience and highly detailed, hard work on our monthly LWVS Bulletin. Thank you to Anne Lyons, Karen Brew and Erika Rublin for all of their thoughtful advice and Board work.  Thank you to Renée Baylor for being our liaison to the LWVW.  Thank you to Kitt Rosenthal for her sound and thoughtful advice and kindness.  Thank you to Amy Cooper for staying on top of event publicity and e-blast communications.  

Thank you to Debbie Miller for all of her work as Treasurer.  Thank you to Joanie Frankle for taking minutes at our Annual Meeting.  

Thank you to all of our members who attended our Annual Meeting -- it was so nice to see all of your smiling faces!

I look forward to all of the positive work that lies before us!

All my best,
Leah Dembitzer


Village of Scarsdale

As of May 2020



Marc Samwick, Mayor
   Term ends April 2021
Jane Veron, Deputy Mayor
   2nd term ends April 2020
Justin Arest
   1st term ends April 2020
Lena Crandall
   1st term ends April 2020
Jonathan Lewis
   1st term ends April 2021
Seth Ross
   2nd term ends April 2021
Rochelle Waldman
   1st term ends April 2021

* 2020 terms to be extended as per Governor Directive 

Pamela Fuehrer, President
   2nd term ends June 2021
Alison Tepper Singer, Vice President
   1st term ends June 2021

Karen Ceske
   1st term ends June 2022
Carl Finger
   1st term ends June 2022
Christopher Morin
   2nd term ends June 2020
Ronald Schulhof
   1st term ends June 2022
Scott Silberfein
   2nd term ends June 2020

** 2020 terms TBD

League of Women Voters of Scarsdale


President: Leah Dembitzer

First Vice President: Elissa Ruback

Second Vice President: Anne Lyons

Recording Secretary: Joan Frankle 
Corresponding Secretary: Amy Cooper

Treasurer: Debbie Miller

Committee Chairs

Advocacy: Alissa Baum* and Elissa Ruback*

Audit: Jacqueline Irwin

LWVS Budget: Nancy Michaels

School Budget: Elissa Ruback*

Village Budget: Leah Dembitzer*

Bulletin Editor: Dana Matsushita*

Eblast/Publicity: Amy Cooper*

Social Media: Joan Bowen*

Website: Diane Baylor*

Finance Drive: Anne Lyons*

Winter Fundraiser: Diane Greenwald

School Election: Amber Yusuf

Village Election: Diane Baylor*
Environment/Sustainability: Deb Pekarek

Hospitality: Kitt Rosenthal* 

Luncheons: Anne Lyons* 

LWVW Liaison: Renée Baylor* 

Membership: Erika Rublin* 

Membership Statistician: Diane Baylor*

Nominating Chair: Pam Rubin

Planning & Zoning: Deb Pekarek

Program/Education: Cindy Dunne

Voter Service: Ronny Hersch* and 
Beatrice Sevcik*

Youth Engagement: Elissa Ruback*
Students Inside Albany: Joan Bowen* and Erika Rublin*

* Board members