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The Buffalo News invited school board candidates to provide a statement about why they are running for office.

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My name is Richard Zybert. I’m 49 years old and live in Lackawanna. I have lived here 30 years. I attended SUNY Frednonia and UB. I began my career as a NYS corrections officer and recently retired from the Lackawanna police force as a police detective . Early in my corrections career, I saw many young lives being thrown away because of drug abuse. Many young people were in jail due to either selling or using drugs. After three years working for NYS department of corrections, I began my police career in 1992 with the city of Lackawanna. I once again witnessed first hand, young lives and families being destroyed by drugs. I united police department, city, and school officials to begin a well known countrywide program, D.A.R.E. I began the program in Lackawanna Schools in 1997, instructing elementary and middle school students. I have had the unique opportunity to teach in the public, Catholic, and charter schools. I have experience in the policies of the different schools that work to grow a solid learning environment. I am proud to say that our D.A.R.E. program in Lackawanna had a reputation of being one of the best programs in New York State.

I am also a business owner in Lackawanna, operating a small mobile home community. As a taxpayer I realize how important it is to keep our taxes in line. If Elected, I will take a hard look at the school budget and ensure that our tax dollars are being spent efficiently on educating our youth. I believe that my experience as a D.A.R.E. officer for 15 years, along with my business experience makes me a solid candidate for school board trustee.