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Somber BOE Meeting Marked by Student Deaths, Playground Complaints

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the most recent public meeting of the Levittown School District Board of Education began on an unexpectedly sad note when a moment of silence was held for two students who recently died. Brian McNamara, a senior at Division Avenue High School, died on Saturday, Sept. 11 and Jack Perlungher, a kindergarten student at East Broadway Elementary School died on Monday, Sept. 13.

Members of the BOE as well as the district’s faculty and students were understandably emotional about the students’ passing.

In other business, several residents complained bitterly about the Northside School’s playground calling it a major nuisance. One Woodpecker Lane resident said that kids have been hanging out at the nearby playground and causing all sorts of problems. The resident, who did not want her name used, said she’s seen kids urinating in the playground and shooting BB guns at her house, whose rear yard is in extremely close proximity.

“These playgrounds were built so close to our houses that we have children standing on equipment looking into our homes,” she said. “I’ve spent thousands on landscaping just to try and create a buffer between my house and the playground.”

“I expect something to be done here,” she told the board, in an exasperated tone.

Mike Denoia, another Woodpecker Lane resident, agreed that the kids using the playgrounds are out of control. “They sometimes curse us if we complain and I’ve seen condoms thrown, bottles, all kinds of stuff,” he said. Denoia added that they’ve called the Nassau County police but nothing much has come of their complaints.

“We want the playground moved. It’s maybe 10 feet off our property. Why is it so close to our homes?” he asked. “We really need help.”

Denoia added that he might not have moved into his current Levittown home if he had known about the issues with local kids and the school playground. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Herman Sirois promised action on the playground complaints.

“We will plan some visits to the playground and see exactly what’s happening,” he said.  

Other resident complaints revolved around the continued deterioration of the district’s aging cafeterias. One parent described the cafeteria at the Northside School as being “dingy with stained walls.” She asked the board to either rebuild or remodel the district’s outdated cafeterias.

Acknowledging the need to improve conditions of the cafeterias, Board President Michael Pappas promised that the cafeterias “will be done.”

“The Northside and Division Avenue cafeterias are priorities on our list,” Pappas said. He added that Northside’s cafeteria is more complicated to renovate than Division Avenue but it will be done as soon as possible, nevertheless.

Board member Kevin Regan agreed that all 10 of the district’s cafeterias are in serious need of renovation saying that the Division Avenue cafeteria was in particularly bad shape. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” he said.

The next public general board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Levittown Memorial Education Center at 150 Abbey Lane in Levittown.