Attorney Johnny Destino announced this week that he is running for one of two seats up for election this year on the Niagara Falls School Board. Destino was a former member of the school board who served from 2010-2015.
Destino was appointed by Mayor Paul Dyster to head the city’s purchasing department in May 2015.
Over the past several years, Destino has promoted various plans to provide alternative pathways to graduation. As a candidate for New York State Senate, Destino championed fixing the disastrous implementation of the Common Core curriculum and restoring funding for programs he said are “necessary to educate the whole child and reduce property taxes.”
His supporters say that as a result of his and other public education supporters’ efforts, New York State responded by eliminating the Gap Elimination Adjustment – restoring funding cuts to the Niagara Falls School District – and is reforming so-called “high-stakes testing” thereby easing the stress children are forced to endure.
“Now that the State is moving toward fully funding public education, it’s important we make sure the money is used to help those most in need,” Destino said. “We’ve been forced to balance the budget on the backs of our children and now we can start to replace the Teacher’s Assistants and Social Workers laid off as a result of austerity budgets.”
Serving as the Orleans-Niagara BOCES representative, Destino promoted vocational education and adult-education programs for Niagara Falls residents. Destino is actively working to bring a BOCES nursing program to downtown Niagara Falls and has been working together with City and State officials to ensure that the methadone clinic is relocated to a more suitable location.
Destino said he knows residents of Niagara Falls “share in his vision” of restoring Vocational Education to Niagara Falls students. He said he is placing emphasis on promoting Career and Technical education programs as an alternative to post-secondary schooling. Further, he believes “we need to bring back meaningful physical education programs, including time for recess, so that our children can burn off their seemingly-endless energy reserves so they can focus on in-class instruction.”
“Recently, a new operator for Sal Maglie Stadium was announced by the City of Niagara Falls. Wouldn’t it be a great idea for our schools to start working together with the local little leagues to get our children playing ball again? It’s time to start promoting the virtues of physical activity in education,” Destino said.
Destino, as a father of three young sons, said he is invested in the future of Niagara Falls and is dedicating his time and effort to serving the public interest by continuing his educational pursuits.
An attorney by trade, Destino is also pursuing his Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration as a School District Business Leader at SUNY Brockport.
“I am investing my own time and money into furthering my understanding of school finance because this is important to me. There is nothing I take more seriously than my fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers,” Destino said. “Some people criticized me for not completing the remaining few months of my term last year [due to some personal matters], but I felt that dividing my efforts between the BOCES board and the NF board would have diluted my effectiveness. I was glad that my recommendation to the Niagara Falls board members resulted in the appointment of Rev. Kevin Dobbs to finish the remainder of my term.”
During his first term on the Niagara Falls School Board, Destino points to his role in the successful completion of the $66.7 million capital improvement plan – carried out at no-cost to local taxpayers – called “Inventing Tomorrow.” This project increased security in schools, improved energy efficiency, built STEM labs in every school, and created turf athletic fields at Niagara Falls High School and LaSalle Preparatory School. Through his advocacy, he leveraged state funding to benefit local skilled-tradesmen and companies doing business in Niagara County.
“The best part was we accomplished this major initiative at no cost to the local taxpayers and put our men and women to work,” Destino said. “I am ready to get back to work for the people of Niagara Falls.”
“I am asking for your support on Tuesday, May 17th to represent you on the Niagara Falls School Board,” Destino said. “Together, I know we can give our children a brighter future.”