It was with great interest that I read the Hicksville Illustrated's cover story on the district's new school superintendent, Maureen Bright. Considering the negative developments that have impacted the Hicksville School District for the last few years, I am sure that every resident hopes that Mrs. Bright will be successful in her new position. But in order to be successful, one must also recognize the problems and how to correct them.
Does Mrs. Bright understand the role that she has played in some of the problems? The story indicates not. Our children's test scores have been some of the lowest in Nassau County, while our teachers have the second lowest pay in the county. Teachers are leaving our district more than double the average of any other Nassau district. Twenty-seven more teachers have resigned during the 2001-2002 school year and, added to the 80 in the previous two years, is a staggering total. Our children's education will not improve with the constant turnover that has plagued our community for the last three years.
Mrs. Bright was appointed as superintendent by the disgraceful actions of the outgoing school board that not only went against protests by the public, but also gave Mrs. Bright a four-year contract, one more than her predecessor and of most superintendent contracts. In the last year, filled with negative situations, one must wonder what the old board saw in Mrs. Bright's talents to warrant such a lucrative contract - or what they might have owed her.
In the story, Mrs. Bright states items that our new school board will be working on. Oh really? While she is superintendent, Mrs. Bright should understand that she works for the community and the school board, not the other way around. She should also remember that she is a minority choice: Four of the seven current board members did not vote for her!
Regarding the bond referendum Mrs. Bright, in discussing Proposition Two, states that "the board will be working to find alternative ways to address the needs that were contained in the second proposition." Really? I am under the impression that this community voted down Proposition Two. Again, Mrs. Bright is speaking for this new school board and seemingly refuses to recognize that the public did not want Proposition Two. This is not the way to establish good communications with members of this community.
This year's school board has new life with three new members who are dedicated solely to helping our children do their best, while maintaining a dialogue within our community. Hopefully, their enthusiasm will persuade Mrs. Bright to approach her new position in a less foreboding way than her previous position. With a huge contract, the pressure is squarely on her shoulders, as well as the three minority board members who helped to get her appointed.