Election Q&A: Belfiore runs for school board

Gabriella Di Lalla, Staff Writer

To prepare for the upcoming Nov. 2 election, The Paw Print’s Gabriella Di Lalla conducted email interviews with the seven candidates running for three positions on the Mayfield City Schools Board of Education. The Paw Print has not taken a position in the election and has not endorsed a candidate.

The story below reflects the interview that took place between Gabriella and Brian Belfiore.

Gabriella: Why are you running for the Board of Education? If elected, what will be your priorities?

Mr. Belfiore: I have four daughters, three of whom currently attend Millridge Elementary. I have a vested interest in ensuring that the Mayfield School District experiences success. I would strive to make sure that Mayfield continues to make the necessary improvements in order to achieve academic excellence. If elected, I would work to create a productive working relationship between the Board of Education, the superintendent, and the community. In addition to creating a cohesive and responsive Board, another priority is to make sure that parents’ concerns and ideas are heard, understood and respected.

Gabriella: Is there a particular issue that motivates you to serve on the Board of Education?

Mr. Belfiore: Overall, one of the primary issues motivating me to run is Mayfield’s need to improve its overall academic achievement.  In comparison to surrounding, top-performing districts, there is much to improve upon. While our curriculum is continually improving, we are still far behind several top-achieving surrounding districts. For instance, if you look at the most current state report cards available (those from 2019), you will notice some disparities. Chagrin Falls, Aurora, Solon, Beachwood, and Orange all rank higher in the category of “Overall Grade.” They all received A’s whereas Mayfield received a B. Also, in areas such as “Achievement”, “Graduation”, and “Progress” all of the above surrounding districts received A’s (Aurora received a B in Achievement) whereas Mayfield received the following: Overall (B), Achievement (C), Graduation (B ), Progress (B ) and Improving K-3 At-Risk Readers (C) Prepare for Success (C). Such scores will ultimately have a direct impact on the community and the value residents are receiving from their school district.

Gabriella: What particular experiences or skills have prepared you to serve as a board member?

Mr. Belfiore: My current employment requires me to problem-solve and communicate with the public on a daily basis.  I am able to listen, recognize and help come up with reasonable and thoughtful solutions to problems.  I hold a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and have over 15 years of experience in public service, including municipal budgeting, capital planning, and contract negotiations. Additionally, I have over 15 years experience managing employees under a collective bargaining agreement, nine years as a department head.

Gabriella: What issues do you believe our district needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?

Mr. Belfiore: In my experience with the Mayfield schools, I have come to learn that there are many crucial programs that are lacking, particularly in the elementary schools.  Currently, there is not a math intervention program for students struggling in math.  This is particularly concerning, given the fact that Mayfield City Schools are considered STEM schools. There is also a lack of word study (spelling) programs in the upper elementary schools.  Also, there is currently a heavy reliance on electronics and computer-based programs that are on the verge of replacing direct, face-to-face instruction.

Gabriella: What differentiates you from the other candidates and/or board members?

Mr. Belfiore: I am able to take a logical, rational approach to problem-solving and decision-making.  I am willing to listen to the concerns of parents and community members and I am not afraid to take a stance on important issues the district may face.