Citizens of a certain sarcastic mindset tend to view national elections as the bad punchline to an ill-timed and poorly-worded joke. These non-voting John and Jane Q. Publics believe winners and losers are decided long before the election in a back room somewhere down a dank alleyway.
This very well might be true. And even if it isn’t, the prevailing thought is that those who are elected usually pander to the special interest groups and lobbyists who made their election possible. It is enough to make any voter think twice about taking the walk of shame to and from the voting booth. It comes closer to home than national elections for some voters, as local elections can leave an acrid aftertaste as well.
The United Teachers of Island Trees would like to take this opportunity to offer our support to Mr. Michael Rich, Mr. Paul Giambona and Mr. Brian Fielding as they attempt to gain positions on the school board of The Island Trees School District. The aforementioned gentlemen possess a similar mindset with regard to our community and the means by which to achieve success. They are enthusiastic and motivated and are prepared to put their ideas in motion if and when they are elected to these very important positions.
The Board of Education recently appointed Dr. Tonie McDonald as the new Superintendent of Schools for Levittown. Dr. McDonald spent many years working in Levittown as a teacher, chairperson and central office administrator. She will return to Levittown on July 1, 2014 following a four-year tenure in the Plainedge School District as Assistant Superintendent for Business and Administration. I am sure you will join me in wishing much success to Dr. McDonald as she leads the Levittown Public Schools into the future.
Dr. James Grossane
I am emailing this to the editor of The Levittown Tribune so I am not misquoted by the editor as was stated at the Board meeting on April 30, where Superintendent Charles Murphy and the Island Trees Board President Ken Rochon said the reporter has been misquoting them in the paper.
At the meeting, the board opened the floor to public comment. The first taxpayer got up to the microphone to ask about minutes from the prior meetings, and was told there weren’t any taken. When asking why, the board replied that unless there had been a motion, then no minutes were taken. When asked again, the lawyer from the School District told him, if you want the minutes, you’ll have to submit a request for the Freedom of Information Act and he [the lawyer] will go over it and will determine if he will send it to you.
Board President Rochon said there were no minutes. Under the Sunshine Law, when elected officials have a meeting and have a quorum, minutes must be taken of the matters discussed. I’ve personally been to hundreds of meetings and there has always been someone recording the minutes. It seems this Board does not want to have a record of what’s been discussed available to the public.
As residents of the Island Trees School District we have known Pat Mahon for many years. We are involved in our children’s education, community and we are committed to keeping Island Trees a special place to raise our families. As taxpayers, keeping a fiscally sound budget, is important. As parents, good academics are paramount. Ms. Mahon’s educational background, extensive knowledge, professionalism and ability to get
a task accomplished is a great asset to our community. This coupled with, her many years of service, to our children makes us grateful that we have such a dedicated member of our community helping to keep Island Trees
a great place to live and educate our children.
My husband and I have had the pleasure of knowing Pat Mahon since the beginning of my career in the Island Trees School District. We were colleagues who taught Physical Education together. We became friends and played on the same softball team. This was a special time because it included many Island Trees graduates whom we’ve taught and coached from the past. It’s amazing how much you learn about a person in school, but even more outside the work environment.
In this age of taking the easy way out or agreeing with the majority, Pat is unwavering and dedicated to doing the right thing even if it is an unpopular view.
The proposed 2014-2015 budget was designed to support and maintain a quality educational program for the children of Island Trees. In particular, the budget represents the Board’s financial plan for the pursuit of excellence and success within our schools. At the outset of the budget process, we kept the community, parents, staff, and most importantly, the children in mind. This year, the Board of Education intends to demonstrate financial leadership to the community through conservative stewardship of public funds. We have assessed every program, class, and initiative to ensure that those included in this budget are clearly adding value to the district and significantly contributing to our students’ education. Equally important, we recognize that these continue to be challenging fiscal times in our community, and therefore we present a budget proposal that maintains our shared educational mission at the lowest possible cost to our community residents. The 2014-2015 proposed budget also includes many enhancements for our school district programs and services. In closing, we are united in our belief that the community’s investment in our schools will produce greater returns for our children. Our goal has been, and will continue to be, to provide our community with an excellent K-12 program in a fiscally responsible manner. Not only are we exceeding our goal of fiscal responsibility, but we are also doing it in a way that addresses the increasing demands of an educationally sound program. In fact, this budget is $957,334 under the New York State tax cap. Remarkable indeed! Please read through these pages for a clear understanding of what this proposed budget presents, and for answers to voters’ most commonly asked questions.
The Island Trees Board of Education
Kenneth Rochon, President
Kristen Daum, Vice President
Daniel Donahue, Patricia Mahon,
Kim McDonough, Barbara Medellin,
I don’t mind reasonable incremental changes to our children’s education. What I see, however, when you follow the money with Common Core, is an opportunity for billionaires like Bill Gates to apply monetary influence over politicians in order to gain political favor. I see a public school system focused more on testing and memorization of useless trivia, than students truly learning and grasping concepts.
With Common Core, I see corporations eventually profiting from access to our children’s confidential information, and a further invasion into our privacy. Will any of us be surprised if somehow Bill Gates’ Microsoft eventually benefits from computerized testing and educational software in our public schools?
I have a daughter in the third grade, who I think is far too young to be stressing over tests and to not genuinely enjoy going to school most days. I understand juniors and seniors getting tired of the school routines. Is it really necessary, though, to have children turned off to learning by the third grade?
When we first campaigned for two of the trustees who still sit prominently on the Island Trees Board of Education, we had such hope and faith in them. Together, we were going to win the Memorial School’s name back and replace the old boys’ club with honest, caring people. There was talk of a new superintendent, solar energy and running a clean administration with all-American values. When the votes were counted and we won two seats, we were so excited. We were in good hands.
And at first we were. The Island Trees Memorial Middle School was rededicated. Our two trustees put in thousands of hours—attending dozens of meetings, studying stacks of material and scrutinizing the budget. It was tedious work, often boring, and it took them away from their families and leisure time. They were hard workers.
Why is Farmedge Property being put on the referendum when you haven’t set up the committees yet to decide what the taxpayers want to do?
I was at the March 1, 2014 Levittown Property Association meeting when a person in the audience directed a question to Superintendent Murphy, asking the value of the Farmedge property. The Superintendent was asked at least four times and did not respond.
The person then asked if he could say how much it was valued at that he’d found out through the Freedom of Information Act. The Superintendent gave him the okay to say it. The young man said it was $5.5 million, not the $11 million that was told earlier to the public.
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