I want to thank everyone who came out and voted on May 21 to support our schools.
We would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank The Metropolitan in Glen Cove for its generous hospitality in hosting the recent conference, “Gray Matters,” supported by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock and sponsored by the Glen Cove SAGE Foundation and the Glen Cove Senior Center.
On behalf of the Glen Cove City School District, I thank voters for their support of the proposed 2013-14 school district budget. During these challenging times in Glen Cove, it’s gratifying to see that our shared goal of providing the best possible education for children has not wavered.
As a community, you recognize the importance of supporting a strong, rigorous educational program, rich with extracurricular opportunities. The proposed budget continues this, with an eye toward both the educational and financial future of Glen Cove.
The 2013-2014 School Budget passed by 1,735 yes votes to 1,222 no votes. Marianne Manning Russo, Michael Nightingale and Sara Jones have been elected as trustees to the North Shore Schools Board of Education. We thank Carolyn Mazzu Genovesi, George Pombar and Anna Sharkey for their many years of dedicated service to the board and the North Shore community. Additionally, many thanks to community members Tim Madden and James O’Sullivan for running this year for the board of education.
On May 9, I stood in the pouring rain at Old Bethpage Restoration Village and watched as several World War II armored vehicles rolled down the road and provided the backdrop for public officials who had gathered to announce Nassau County’s new Museum of American Armor.
The scene was striking in its symbolism; an image that reflects what happens in places around the world every day. With the sound of the rain drumming against the iconic Sherman tank, jeeps, weapons carriers, gunners, and other combat vehicles, “soldiers” peered from the tops of tanks offering a too-real image of the daily lives of our military.
We must never allow ourselves or LIPA/National Grid to think that the utility has done Glenwood Landing and our larger North Shore community a favor by being there in that prime waterfront location, just because it has paid its taxes. The taxes paid by the utility over the years cannot begin to make up for our lost real estate wealth and revenue and our quality of life. Let us imagine that the power plant had never been there, and that those lands, pristine and picturesque, had been allowed to develop in the way all prime waterfront properties traditionally develop —giving our communities a vastly more beneficent and enduring tax base in that location — to remind ourselves that we owe nothing to LIPA or National Grid.
Our schools have been recognized as among the best in the country for the excellent achievements of our students in academics, the arts, and athletics.
In January, we agreed to stay within the N.Y. State cap on the allowable tax levy limit, needing approval of a majority vote to pass. The adopted budget for 2013-14 (Proposition 1) represents a 3.84 percent increase from last year.
On May 21, the North Shore voters will be asked to vote for school board members. I will be enthusiastically voting for Sara Jones and I would encourage all residents to consider doing the same. She is all the things a successful school board member should be: engaged, reasonable and intelligent but I’m voting for her because she is a doer. When her daughter arrived at Sea Cliff School, she came with her and started working. She worked tirelessly with our Nutrition Committee to improve the lunch offerings in our cafeteria, works year round on our Sea Cliff PCA website and started an annual Book Swap so that families could swap books that they’ve already read for new books to read. She is at all our events and PCA meetings - she is a big part of our school community. We are so lucky to have her at Sea Cliff School and I know that she will bring all her skills and talents to the North Shore School Board.
The North Shore District Reform group (NSDRG) was initiated on December 14, 2012, the day after our current Board of Education (BOE) dismissed more than 200 community members who passionately pleaded for a stay in their decision to enact the new Word Language Program. Only minutes after the many residents expressed their well-prepared and thoughtful concerns, our BOE announced their apparent pre-determined decision to unanimously accept the program, which added cost and a new language and was designed to increase language fluency, ironically by eliminating the Italian language in a community populated by more than one-third Italian Americans. As we informed our superintendent, what troubled us more than the new program details was the lack of attention and respect our BOE displayed to our residents. We felt that if our BOE even paused their decision for five minutes, left the room to discuss the weather, and returned with the same conclusion, then at least we would have believed that they listened and cared about our opinions. Instead, they voted 7-0 without hesitation and stuck to their agenda. As one of our own educators concluded, our BOE has become like many others, “singular in opinion and insulated from the people”.
I met George Pombar when I was elected to the North Shore School Board in 2000 and had the privilege to serve with him during my two terms on the board. During those years, George and I had our agreements and disagreements, but we always maintained a level of mutual respect and civility that is essential in a political setting requiring cooperation and consensus building. George is a man of principle, compassion and moderation who always placed the best interests of our children at the forefront of his thinking and his votes. His background in finance made him an important, if not critical, contributor during annual budget discussions. Whatever the issue, George always found creative eways to maximize benefit and minimize cost. While I believe that a contested election is good for our local politics (uncontested elections can sometimes signify an unhealthy complacency), I am also skeptical of change simply for the sake of change. This election is about the fiscal health of our district and the educational health of our kids. With the stakes this high, I’d rather stick with the proven over the unproven, and I urge you to do the same. Vote for George Pombar on May 21.
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