Thursday, 01 May 2014 00:00
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.
Then, fairly rapidly, a horrible thing happened—our board members, the people we campaigned for—morphed into their own old boys’ club. It was like “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” It was like pods had taken over the people we had voted for.
Fast forward to 2014. Now we’re not only fighting to preserve our beloved hero Lt. Stephen E. Karopczyc’s name on his building, we’re fighting for the actual building, and Mrs. Gallow’s school, and our public library, and the land on Farmedge Road.
Plus, we’re also battling to keep our Levittown way of life—sing-family homes and wide green fields for the children. Not a massive project with a big black-top parking lot, and hundreds of vehicles choking our streets.
How did this happen? How did people we believed in, people we trusted—how could they even consider selling Stephen’s school to a ruthless developer who doesn’t care one iota that the school is dedicated to a U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor recipient?
What happened to the board’s sense of honor and pride? They should be setting the standard and setting it high. They should be moving heaven and hell to keep that building in A-1 shipshape condition. But what are they doing? They’re plotting to take a sledgehammer to our hearts and bring eternal shame on Island Trees.
And all this baloney about renaming something for these “historic figures” shows how a school board and a staff of highly educated people just don’t get it. They consistently value a college degree over a private first class.
We should not have to tell the board members what’s right and what’s wrong. They should know. How could good people go so terribly wrong?
Blame it on human nature. Call it elitism. In the end, it’s just plain sad that a campaign which started out with so many exciting ideas and positive plans, and a grand sweeping spirit of America came full circle—back to an old boys’ club.
I urge everyone to vote for Brian Fielding, Paul Giambona, and Mike Rich who—in big block letters—clearly pledge to save our memorial, our schools and our library. In doing so, they will be saving the very soul of Island Trees.
Island Trees Class of ‘68