Written by Jill Nossa: firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 13 July 2012 00:00
After newly elected board member Donna Brady and re-elected incumbents David Huggins and Gail Nedbor-Gross took the oath of office, Trustee Ida McQuair took the lead in “proudly” nominating Joel Sunshine as president and Grady Farnan as vice president of the board. The board members present unanimously voted in Sunshine, while Huggins voted “no” for Farnan and Nedbor-Gross abstained from the vote. Trustee Barrie Dratch was absent from the meeting.
Sunshine then conducted the meeting, which consisted of a number of appointments, including the appointment of Ida Johnson as district clerk and board of education secretary, Amy Franklin as district treasurer and Jacqueline Lizza as deputy treasurer for the 2012-13 school year. The Record Pilot and Newsday were designated the official newspapers for legal advertising and notices for the school district.
After the reorganization meeting was completed, the board began the special business meeting, which began on a positive note for many of the attendees with the announcement of Dr. Michael Israel given the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. The appointment was approved with a 6-0 vote, and the news was received with a huge round of applause from audience members.
Superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Laria also announced the retirement of special education teacher Susan Ahearn, who said in a written statement read by the superintendent, “It was an honor and a privilege to have worked in the district.”
The board approved the following payments: $31,601.75 to J. Barwick Landscape and Site Developer for work done on the sidewalk and steps at the high school football field; $50,000 to PlaySafe Playground Systems of New York for work completed on the Gribbin Elementary School playground as well as a donation of $11,750 from the Gribbin PTA for installation of the play structure. The board also accepted a donation of $11,113 from the Landing Elementary School PTA to be used toward American Recreational Products for installation of the play structure at Landing school.
The floor was then open to the public for comment. Resident Janet Blatt expressed her concerns about the voting process.
“Why didn’t you ask for comments from the public before voting on the positions? This a democracy and people should have the chance to be heard before any decisions are made,” she stated.
Other residents were also quick to share their opinions on the new president after the scene caused at the previous board meeting.
Suzanne Anderson, current president of the PTA, directed her line of questioning to Sunshine, asking him how much time he had spent discussing a sixth-grade honors program during public board meetings over the past few years, then said, “I respectfully ask that you focus on the high school.” She concluded by saying, “I cannot and will not work with Mr. Sunshine.”
Resident Zefy Christopoulous said, “I am ecstatic for Dr. Israel and cannot wait to see what he will bring to the district. I am equally, if not more ecstatic that the board listened to the so-called ‘mob’…I was hoping for an apology.”
She continued, “I am looking forward to the board setting forth their goals in the academic year – it’s time for the public to know what you hope to achieve.”