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Editorial: BOE Trustee Extends Thanks, Speaks Out

I have been a trustee on the Hicksville Public Schools’ Board of Education for the last four years. I sought re-election to my seat again this year, but lost to my opponent, Maureen Lee. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my family, not only for supporting me now but for the last four years of sacrifices that they have made so that I could sit on the board. To all my friends, who penned letters endorsing me, and made phone calls, etc., thank you for your support and your trust. I would also like to publicly thank the Hicksville Congress of Teachers and the Secretaries Union for their endorsement and support.

These last four years have been a wonderful learning experience for me. I was proud to be a member of the board of education, and always took my responsibilities seriously.

While I am saddened that I will not be able to continue in this role, I feel confident that I gave a 100 percent commitment to the taxpayers, students, parents, staff, and fellow board members during my tenure.

The future will tell how Ms. Lee fares as a board of education member. It was stated in last week’s Hicksville Illustrated News that among Ms. Lee’s goals is increasing community involvement. She stated “community participation appears to be low and ways for getting people involved should be encouraged...”

I find it ironic that Ms. Lee did not attend any board meetings prior to announcing her candidacy, nor did she attend any after submitting her petition to be a candidate. And she was not there the night of the election. Her lack of involvement is not only evident by her absence at board of education meetings, but perhaps more so by the statements she made regarding Willet Avenue (the district has entered into a lease with BOCES, and BOCES is responsible for upgrades, etc. Work has already commenced) or statements regarding the need for research “into techniques and programs used to educate our students … if the programs being used today are inadequate, then we must look for ways to amend them or look for new programs to replace the old.”

The district consistently researches and recommends new strategies, etc., and has recently adopted a change to its standardized testing – a change that will not only benefit students and teachers alike, but taxpayers as well. To have knowledge of the “inner workings” of the district you would have known that you could access all this information by utilizing the district website to view the board of education minutes. It is one thing to choose not to attend the meetings to educate yourself, but to give false statements when the information is accessible says it all!

After my term ends on June 30, I will continue to be present at board of education meetings, as a taxpayer and as a very involved parent. I hope that the Board and the district continue to move forward, and continue to strive to bring the best that Hicksville can offer to its students. While her past employ within the district offers some familiarity with which to navigate the system, it will take 100 percent commitment on Ms. Lee’s part to responsibly represent her constituents.

Joanne Owens

Trustee, Hicksville Board of Education