Last night's Open Forum preceding the regular board of education meeting (Nov. 16) makes a new reality in our town's growth. Like it or not, the board of trustees, the Central Administration, the teachers, and the taxpayers will all be held more accountable for their actions. If taxpayers and teachers shrink from making public suggestions and opinions due to fear of repercussions we fail our children. Our privilege to speak openly must never be discouraged but rather protected and respected. Most parents and teachers share the same agenda and our family has consistently been advocates for the Glen Cove Schools for too many years to suddenly become penny-pinching and negative about the work our schools do on our behalf. Instead of making us feel unwelcome, let's take a deep breath and open up all lines of communication. I commend math teacher Chris Herte for having the dedication to stand up there in front of his bosses and address his concerns about preparing for the new math exams that will be administered to all 8th graders. He should not have to worry about repercussions! We are entering a new era of community involvement. Do we have the needed calculators at hand? Public scrutiny is the oil for the squeaky wheel. Feeling "ownership" of a problem brings out good energy, new ideas, refreshing solutions! Don't fear it.
That we are fledglings in the budget passing process is obvious. Last night we all listened to a presentation by George Perry of NY School Business Officials whose inspector will, for a fee of $10,000 tour our facilities and give us a report about our maintenance and operating efficiency. Last week architect John Grella presented a 10-year $9.2 million building maintenance proposal. A very knowledgeable and trusted community member stood up last night and reminded the board that these inspections were performed successfully for free a few years back by skilled community members and could be done again.
Why not let the extended community-not just parents - enjoy the feeling of "ownership?" Save some money, trust our concerned community and you will see the budget pass. As it stands right now the board still needs to justify in the eyes of a very skeptical community (teachers included) how our district on austerity gave immediate raises to Frank, Ingrid, Dennis and Maureen. And then, please justify the necessity of passing additional raises along to the remaining administrators, principals, and curriculum directors in a six-year contract? Whose idea was it and on what criteria was it based? According to the statistics that are publicly available (www.nysed.gov) most of our comparable Nassau districts distribute the same two percent of their budgets on Central Administration. Why not hire an expensive Public Relations firm and take raises after our Report Card looks better. Or spend the time and money taking ads out in the realty sections refuting the skewed results you claim we received! Our reputation as a school community was tarnished last year and left unanswered and/or poorly explained by the superintendent and the school board of trustees. It is still puzzling to me why we don't just come out and say "Hey world, we are a highly diverse-economic community and proud of it!"
Hello, Glen Cove! You are cordially invited to attend the special board of ed meetings as well as the regular ones. They are the most informative by far!