June 2021 View online
Contract Ratification

As you know, the proposed contract that was presented to our members by the FUSE negotiating committee was overwhelmingly approved by the membership in May. The final vote count was 1069 in favor of ratification and 40 votes against ratification. 


Thank you the FUSE Negotiations Committee for their tireless work!


Cheryl Smith, Chairperson

Heather Cayanan, Davis

Billy Coleman, IEY

Vic Cristiano, Grove Avenue

Deanna Deluca, NRHS

Lauren Jackson, NRHS

Ann Marie Manganiello, Trinity

Tanya Syriaque, Columbus

Paul Williams, Davis

Planning to Retire?

If you plan on retiring next year, please read!

Under the new contract, beginning in 2022, all pedagogic staff will only have one opportunity to retire with compensation for unused sick days.  October 1,2021 will be the last opportunity to notify the City School District of New Rochelle of a January retirement with sick day payout.


If you plan on retiring in June 2022, you must notify the district on or before January 1, 2022.

Retroactive Pay

As you know, the contract provides for 1.5% retroactive payment.  This payment will be made as a single lump sum because you have already been paid your 2019-2020 salary.  Therefore,  the payment will be the total difference between your 2019-20 salary schedule and your 2020-21 negotiated salary.  For those with direct deposit, this lump sum payment will be made the week of June 28.  The district will mail checks home to all staff who do not have direct deposit.


Stipends will be paid in July. If you have not received your stipend or any other payments due to you, please email mbreslin@nrfuse.com.

FUSE Scholarships

The FUSE Scholarship Committee met on June 3 and awarded ten scholarships, totaling $15,000, to children of FUSE members. The competition was steep with a record 28 applicants.


Congratulations to our $1,500 scholarship winners!


Sarah Athir, NRHS                          (Shehla Choudhary, Ward)

Jared Barajas, NRHS                      (Fidelia Barajas, Trinity)

Kathlyn Coyne, Rye HS                  (Kathleen Coyne, Webster)

Matthew D’Ambrosio                      (Angela D’Ambrosio, Ward)

Olivia Dower, NRHS                       (Richard Dower, NRHS)

Mia Dwyer, Rye Neck HS               (Geoff Dwyer, ALMS)

Phoebe Katz, Sleepy Hollow HS   (Eric Katz, NHRS)

Daniel Long, NRHS                         (Rachel Long, NRHS)

Kalani Martial, Hastings HS          (Karina Villalona, IEY)

Samuel Orientale, Briarcliff HS     (Anna Orientale, Davis)


Thank you to the members of the FUSE Scholarship Committee:


Vic Minei, Webster

Lucy Dos Reis, Jefferson

Robert Flanz, Ward

Charise Littlejohn, IEYMS

Maria Morris, NRHS

FUSE Committee Openings

All committees have now successfully fulfilled their annual requirements, and it is time to begin reorganization.


If you would like to be considered for a specific committee, please send a letter of interest.  Please include your job title and the building(s) you work to mbreslin@nrfuse.com. Interviews will be scheduled.


The Standing Committees are: 


Negotiations Committee              Grievance Committee

Health and Safety Committee    Professional Issues Committee

NYSUT Trainings

FUSE takes great pride in the many training sessions our leaders have participated in over the years. The foundation for strong, effective, and lasting unions is ongoing and relevant training.   Training is the key as we grow this union. 


FUSE Leadership and many building representatives will participate in a variety of training sessions at the NYSUT (Virtual) Summer School.


Congratulations to all our members who are retiring this year. FUSE is grateful for your many years of dedication and service. We wish you many years of health and happiness in retirement to the following members:

Lucille Alfano Davis               

Patricia Anderson Ward

Mary Lou Basso Ward           

Elizabeth Barrett-Zahn Columbus

Antoinette Boncardo Webster

Daniel Browne NRHS

Marie Bruno Ursuline

Richard Bruno Jefferson

Karen Brusati Webster

Maryann Capossela NRHS

Claudia Cassone IEYMS

Barbara Clark ALMS

Milagros Colon-Gugliotta Columbus

Donna Conte Webster

Mary Lou Coronios Barnard

Barbara Cotturone NRHS

Sharon DeGeorge ALMS

Diane Delgado Trinity

Laura DiBuono City Hall

Richard DiBuono Grove Avenue

Leonard Dixon NRHS

Joyce Gambardella ALMS

Alan Gardner  NRHS

Frances Grosso NRHS

Alyssa Heller IEYMS

David Herman NRHS

Cynthia Horton Webster

Linda Johnson Webster

Paula Katz Webster

Maureen Martin ALMS

Victor Minei Webster

Robert Monteleone NRHS

Maria Murakami Barnard

Lynn Neidorf NRHS

Olinda Nunes NRHS

Alexandra Oppenheimer Trinity

Margaret Parker Webster

Mary Lynn Palucci NRHS

Candace Pinn Barnard

Cheryl Powers Davis

Ivanica Prorokovic NRHS

Martha Rodriguez IEYMS

Jacqueline Samuels Barnard

Neal Shultz NRHS

Leslie Smith IEYMS

Sheila Smith Tyme City Hall

Karen Tucker Huguenot Academy

Mahlia Turner NRHS

Rhonda Young NRHS

Judith Weeks-Padgett NRHS

Martin White IEYMS

Rudolph Williams NRHS

Alexander Willis NRHS
Bruce Zeller NRHS

Meet Our Members

Carolyn Bruzzese
General School Aide, NRHS

How long have you been working in the district? 


17 years started when my youngest started school at Jefferson. I was a registrar at Albert Leonard and then I became a general school aide because my kids were off during the summer. I’ve been a general school aide for 15 yrs. I enjoy it. I deal w kids. I enjoy it.  I like that interaction. NRHS… half time helping the director, Bruce Daniele in the office w cameras. 2004 to 2005 at ALMS. 


GSA NRHS - it’s good and bad… I love interacting with the wonderful talented students in our school. I’ve mentored a couple of students to get them to graduate in the past.. That was very rewarding.. It’s hard. You have to have an open mind.. Hard bc we don't have enough GSA. Once we had one at every corner.. But now you cover not only your hall but the hallway on the left and right and the stairwells.. More with less… people retired or left and they never rehired or they hired hourlies who could only work however many hours at a time.. Full-timers have left including a supervisor.. They don’t want to pay the health; it’s cheaper to get an hourly… no benefits for them.


What encouraged you to become involved in the union?


Prior to my role as VP, I was a building rep at the HS. Marty and Billy moved up, and they approached me to step into Billy’s role. I was appointed and then elected to the position. I guess it’s 2 years.


Can you tell us a little bit about the position you hold in leadership, what you do in it and why it’s an important position for our members?


It’s enlightening. Everyone has their input and different perspectives. I bring the SRP perspective. We get to understand different aspects. It helps to get different points of view. We don’t always agree. It’s helpful to express the issues that you’re having.


Usually, it’s every second Tues at the FUSE office.. Or zoom now… agenda past minutes and topics that we hit.. New issues that come to the board that we discuss.. PPE.. regarding COVID that was the hot topic.


What is the most difficult and / or most rewarding part of your work for the district and your work in leadership?


Most difficult for me anyway is not getting the answers quickly enough for our members.. I want it like yesterday and I don’t have the patience to wait a week to get an answer.. I’ll email later to get an answer. Get it quickly… our members are waiting for an answer. Unfortunately, the answers are not always what they want or what we like, but that’s just the way it goes.

The most rewarding part is... gosh there are so many... when we get answers, it’s positive. It makes the job a lot easier and puts the employees at ease.. Or when we fight for them to get that answer.


It’s rewarding to work with the people on leadership and bring different perspectives to the table.. You could be wrong. If someone is a little more enlightened on that subject…. I’m new at the position and some of them have been in that position a while.. and I'm not afraid to admit it.


What do you like about leadership as a person?


I see a whole different group of people.. Not only GSA. I’m dealing w other aspects.. Buildings and Grounds, clerical.. I didn’t have any dealings with them before. I like meeting new people and being open to their concerns.. Meeting the different people and understanding where are they coming from.. And also other schools.. It's rewarding meeting new people and trying to help them with their questions and concerns.


What advice do you give to younger members who are thinking about becoming more involved in union leadership activities?


My advice to younger members is to get on board a lower level or as a building rep to see how everything works and eventually become a part of union leadership. It’s the staff at different levels. It helps to recognize that change doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and perseverance and strong leaders walking by your side. It will happen.


We need new blood. It can't be the same old people at BOE meetings.. Newcomers are starting to talk… sometimes it’s that broken record… that same person.. Getting more voices involved.. SRP, custodians, GSA.... all ranges are fed up.


What or who motivates and/or inspires you personally? Or Do you have a story of something that has happened in your work or in your life that we could share?


17 years ago, I was diagnosed w breast cancer. It was detected whe I was 39. I was treated. Three years later, I had to undergo more.. and I had to do it for  my kids.. My youngest was in K or first grade. I wasn’t afraid to talk about what I was going through and that made me stronger. You see yourself with the younger kids… they don’t see you like you see yourself.. One a little kid asked, Can we see it? I remember I took the scarf off..  It has made me stronger. My mentality was it was a cold ,and it was going to go away.. 17 years later.. I am willing to help anyone who has it give me a call here is my number.


It was tough. There were set backs ,infections and stuff. It took a while and surgeries. and Faith. My oldest son is 33. My second son is 30. My daughter turned 25 this past weekend. I have grandchildren. Circle of life.


I've been married for 36 years. You don’t see that too often these days.


Last question... What do you like to do outside of work?

I'm an arts and crafty person. I like making things.. I knitted a huge blanket.. It got out of hand… it’s so big… (laughs) for my granddaughter with rosettes or something.


I like working out. Right before work at 5 am. I have an app on my phone that I stream to my TV.. Sometimes you don’t want to get out of bed. I work out in the morning before work.. the day just seems better. Even though you are exhausted at the end of the day, you feel better during the whole day, not just that hour.


I meditate it helps a LOT. People don’t realize it.. It is going to take a few things because people aren’t used to just sitting and relaxing and meditating. My nerves were jumping out of my skin, and I had to try it … it puts me at ease a calmness comes over me.


During the summer, I go to the park or by the water… w my blanket and people watch.


And, spending time with my grandson ... that's a no-brainer.. He’s making sentences now so we just laugh.

Elise Schepp
 Nurse, IEYMS

by Fil Daniele


Elise Schepp, Nurse at IEYMS

Elise Schepp has been a devoted nurse for 35 years.  She graduated  from SUNY Downstate with her BSN and started her nursing career as a pediatric nurse at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.  After taking some time to raise her 2 beautiful, strong, and accomplished daughters, she returned to her beloved nursing career working part-time for an allergy practice in the Bronx for the next 20 years! She started serving the New Rochelle School District 15 years ago and became full-time 11 years ago at IEYMS.  She has lived in New Rochelle for over 40 years and is dedicated to the community.


Why is it so important to you to be an active member of FUSE?


It is very important to me to be part of a union because I want to be part of something that affords people a quality existence.  I believe that in order to be a valuable member of a  community, we should look after each other, share our common goals, and work collectively to address our concerns in order to have fair and equitable working conditions.


How have you been supported or helped? 


FUSE has listened to the concerns and requests of the nurses on an individual and collective basis.  We have fought hard for an increase in steps, and although we have not attained that goal, FUSE has listened and advocated for us.  Although it has been challenging and sometimes very frustrating, we feel hopeful and confident that our voices are heard and that we are valued  and compensated for what we do every day for our students.


What has been the best part of being a member of FUSE?


Working side by side with my fellow nurses is a privilege.  Striving together for recognition of the important community health issues around children and their families has been our goal.  As a FUSE member, we can better serve our community collectively.


What are some of the responsibilities in the position you hold?  What do you think is the most challenging part of your job?


There are so many aspects of the school nurse.  Our role really encompasses the whole community.  We focus on the wellness, health, and nutrition of the child and that includes  a  focus on preventive care.  We reach out to provide free dental and vision care, we keep track of the current vaccination history, we address chronic illness that our students may face, and we reach out to partner and support families.  


The most challenging part of our job in this present time is how the pandemic has changed our role.  We can no longer make preventive care our priority because we must  follow the overwhelming protocols that are necessary to keep our children and school safe from Covid.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?


Working diligently on behalf of our children has always been the most rewarding part of this profession.  I would also say that working with my fellow nurses has been very important to me. The nursing staff at CSDNR is by far the best group of educated, passionate, hard working people I have ever worked with.


What is a serious issue facing someone in your position today?


Children need to get vaccinated.  Emphasizing this before Covid has been a struggle, but has only worsened. Maintaining health and wellness has been thwarted by this virus.  My colleagues and I are dedicated to this cause.


What have you or do you hope to accomplish in your life?


I love being a nurse and being a wellness advocate is my main goal.


What motivates or inspires you personally?


 I am very politically active and care very much for equality and fairness for all.  I also value friendship, family, and yoga for balance, joy, and peace. 


What is something that you’d like to share that not everyone knows about you?

I am a new grandmother to Jay Micah Miller and enjoy every moment of being part of this “exclusive” club. I am hoping to travel to Austin Texas again to give him lots of kisses and hugs. I also am an avid Billy Joel fan who had seen him in concert monthly before Covid.  Once this pandemic is over, I'm hoping to meet everyone at Madison Square Garden for a really swell show!! 


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