Written by Matthew Ern Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Residents James Reddan and Jennifer Kerrane will be competing for the seat held by New Hyde Park Garden City Park school board Vice President Joseph Bongiorno, who will not be seeking re-election on Tuesday, May 21.
Current board president Ernest Gentile and trustee Joan Romagnoli are running unopposed for re-election. New candidate Tara Notine is running unopposed for the seat left vacant by Alan Cooper. Notine will finish out his term from May 2013 to June 30, 2014 and run again in a special election next year.
Reddan is currently an engineer for the Town of Hempstead. He is running in this election because he says there are two daunting tasks facing the district: “to push through tough economic times while still providing quality education to the children and to create a safe and secure learning environment.”
“Along with the educational issues facing the district, the safety of our children must be paramount,” Reddan said.
Reddan has stumped for Proposition No. 2 on this year’s ballot. It proposes using $400,000 from the capital reserve fund toward school security projects.
These safety upgrades would include the purchase and district-wide installation of panic buttons as well as a districtwide lockdown buttons.
“That’s a good start, but it might not be enough,” Reddan stated. The panic buttons would send a direct message to the Nassau County Police.
Keeping class sizes down and preserving programs like the library, science lab, and arts and music are also important to Reddan. “I’m committed to maintaining the level of excellence we all have come to expect while keeping the tax burden to a minimum,” he said.
Reddan was born and raised in Garden City Park. He attended Adelphi University and Touro Law, also serving in the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Storm and the Persian Gulf War.
Two of his children attend the Garden City Park School. Reddan currently works at a small, private practice law firm on top his duties as a civil engineer for the town. In the past, he’s managed his son’s Little League team and Cub Scout troop.
Kerrane has lived in New Hyde Park since 2004 and two of her three children are enrolled in the Manor Oaks School. She says she is running for school board now because there is a need for change.
“I believe the board would benefit from the participation of someone who has children in the school districts,” Kerrane said.
She says the board has worked hard in the past to produce a budget that’s acceptable to the taxpayers but wishes to rethink where the cuts come from. To Kerrane, the programs removed from the budget affect the children directly.
“They’re always the first to lose something,” she explained.
Large class size is another big issue for Kerrane. She would also like to see more community outreach from the board.
“Residents should have a better idea of exactly where their tax dollars are going,” Kerrane said. She agrees safety is a huge issue, but has concerns about the way the $400,000 would be spent.
“It’s a big issue for me, but I’d hate to see the money not spent wisely,” Kerrane said.
She hopes for a more pragmatic use of the funds and for voters to be more informed of exactly how the panic buttons would function.
“I would never say ‘No, I don’t want it,’ but I’m not sure people really understand what will happen with the money,” she said.
Kerrane says she’d like to see more practical safety measures installed. She currently teaches at and co-owns Once Upon a Time Nursery School in Manhasset.
Kerrane attained her master’s in education at Adelphi University and a bachelor’s in education from Queens College. She also taught in Queens at PS7. Kerrane also volunteered her time as a Girl Scout troop leader and has been an active member of the PTA for the past eight years.