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Bronxville School Board Candidate: Parent, Financier Jeffrey Rohr

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – The Daily Bronxville will run candidate profiles on all four candidates running for two seats on the seven-member Bronxville School Board of Trustees before the May 15 election. Each candidate was asked the same questions. The candidates are scheduled to appear at a debate 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bronxville Public Library.

Jeffrey Rohr, 62, is the candidate endorsed by the Committee for the Non-Partisan Nomination and Election of School Trustees.  Rohr is in a three-way contest with Kurt Fuchs and William Rizzo for the school board seat being vacated by current Trustee Richard Rugani, who is stepping down after serving three three-year terms.  Incumbent Chris Atayan is also running unopposed for a second-term to his post, which expires June 30.

Rohr is the vice-chairperson and chief financial officer of consulting and accounting firm Deloitte LLP.  He has lived in Bronxville since 2004 after moving to New York when appointed CFO of the firm.

Tell us about yourself and your family.

I live on Greenfield Avenue with my wife, Michele, who is a gynecologist at Brookside Gynecology in Greenwich and children, Jillian, James and Jeffrey. They all attend Bronxville schools and are in ninth grade, second grade and kindergarten, respectively.

Why are you running for the Bronxville School Board?

It’s three fold. First, my three kids all attend Bronxville schools and with the youngest in kindergarten, the quality of education here is going be of critical importance to us for a long time. Making sure that our kids have an extraordinary education that can help mold them into leaders in the future is vital to me. Secondly, to guide managing the budget and determining how we all are going to pay for this as there is going to be continued pressure on costs and taxes for the foreseeable future. I have spent a whole career serving clients, helping them answer this very question. Finally, I retire in June as required by my company’s mandatory retirement policy and with this transition I can use my expertise and experience to give back to the community. In short, I am representative of all the people in Bronxville as a taxpayer with three children in the schools.

What qualifies you to be a school board member?

I have had a long career at Deloitte, where I came up through the auditing department. I then held a number of leadership positions, have been a partner for 30 years and was named vice chairman and chief financial officer. I am a CPA with a background in taxes and pensions. My whole career has been serving clients and in leadership positions, including serving on community boards in Miami and Washington D.C., like the executive committee of Florida State University and its audit committee.

What would you like to accomplish if elected?

Bronxville is not unlike other school districts in Westchester and around the country. I think the board has done a very good job as far as holding down costs. Going forward there will be continued pressure on the budget, much from state mandates that the board has very little discretion on and that could be very difficult. It’s going to be a challenge. We’re going to have to invest in education, in technology, like iPads.

If something had to be cut from the budget to meet the state tax cap, what would you cut?

We have a $44 million budget and 1,500 children in the schools. There is very little discretion on what could be cut, so that’s very difficult to state.

What are the three biggest issues facing the schools today?

As I said, the quality of the education is important, followed by the budget and other large expenditures, like the auditorium and infrastructure issues stemming from flooding. We will also be negotiating a new union contract over the next three years.

If elected, what would you do to address them?

I don’t have one agenda and I’m not pushing to issue bonds or worrying about just the flooding. I will be active and contribute toward all areas. My overall issue is how can our kids get an extraordinary education and how can we do that with the many constraints and the economics we face today?

Does being the candidate endorsed by the Non-Partisan Committee help?

There are 21 elected members of the NPC who have spent a lot of time vetting the candidates and meeting with them, deliberating and then choosing a candidate. The NPC has gone through the process and I hope that the community will appreciate that process and the effort that was put into it. I would not have run outside the process.

Related Experience:

-  In addition to the above-mentioned positions at Deloitte, Rohr is also a member of the firm’s global management committee and its U.S. Executive Committee.

-  Currently, Rohr serves on the board of The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe and is a member of the executive committee and chairperson of the audit committee of the Florida State University Foundation.

-  In Miami, Rohr was president of the Economic Society of South Florida and served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Business Assistance Center (a Liberty City revitalization initiative), the MIT Forum and Florida International University.

-  In Washington D.C., he served on the boards of the Board of Trade, Federal City Council, Junior Achievement, the Economic Club, the Cultural Alliance and the United Way.

-  In Chicago, Rohr was the treasurer of the Civic Committee, on the board of the Commercial Club, on the Executive Committee of Junior Achievement, on the finance committee of the Adler Planetarium and served with The Ravinia Festival, Economic Club, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and the United Way.

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