Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 26 April 2013 00:00
Irene Parrino confirmed to the Mineola American that she would seek re-election for school board trustee in the Mineola School District on April 5. She officially announced her intentions on April 15.
Though the top vote getter wins the seat, election season will see Parrino face off in an at-large-bid against Williston Park resident Patricia Navarra, who announced her inaugural run last month. It is unknown if anyone else submitted trustee petitions as of press time.
The petition deadline was April 22.
Parrino has served on the school board since 2010. She is a 20-year pro bono attorney who currently volunteers at St. Aidan’s Church in Williston Park, teaching first-grade religion. The mother of two currently serves as the school district’s BOCES representative.
Nassau County named Parrino a Trailblazer of the New Millennium in 2004 and she was inducted into the Town of North Hempstead Women’s Roll of Honor in 2007. Prior to running for school board, Parrino served on the district’s Pre-K committee.
The incumbent board member feels maintaining educational programs while staying within the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap are of paramount concern in Mineola. While unfunded mandates the district faces on a yearly basis pose as challenges, Parrino is confident the district, which just adopted a budget on April 17, is working to protect residents, both stakeholders and non-stakeholders.
“Funding the school district’s budget and working within the property tax cap is not easy or certain these days as New York State’s aid to our district is low compared to years past…This year, like last year, the district is working to present a budget that is well within the allowable tax cap and meets all of the students’ educational requirements,” Parrino said.
Focusing on the districts successful science programs in the district, Parrino thinks the focus on that subject should be enhanced even more in Mineola. She has one daughter attending Jackson Avenue School and a son who attends Meadow Drive School.
“This [science] focus will help make our students intelligent science consumers,” said Parrino. “Children are naturally drawn to science. Students, of all ages, love learning how things work and experiment. We should enhance our science program with these naturally tendencies in mind.”
She commended the district’s technological prowess, specifically the iPad initiative in the schools. Apple named Mineola’ s program a Distinguished Program of the Year on April 4.
“The district has provided our students with new tools in which to learn - providing iPads to our middle school students, and put computers, net books and smartboards in classrooms across the district,” said Parrino. “I have supported new initiatives that support student achievement and excellence such as the construction of a new science laboratory at Jackson Avenue and implementing a new science program and foreign language program for our elementary students.”
Parrino, along with board members and administrators, recently toured district schools with outside agencies looking to enhance security measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. She said the review opened her eyes in terms of student safety.
“After the tragedy of Sandy Hook, the district undertook an evaluation of the safety risks and reviewed policy protocols for student supervision, access control and safety plans to ensure the safety of our children…educating and keeping our children safe is paramount,” Parrino stated.
The winner of the election will serve on the school board from July 1 through June 30, 2016.