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Letter: Chris DiFilippo’s Comments On The Syosset Board Of Education

I would like to comment under my rights of the First Amendment, and speaking as an individual, and not for the Syosset Board of Education.

I see the Syosset school board reported on often in the papers and other media. I realize newspapers and reporters often focus on or report the highly controversial items, and it bothers me when selective comments only are reported. People I come into contact focus on those items and are not always informed of the entire situation. Here are many comments about what’s going on at the board meetings.

My experiences as a trustee:

1) A trustee’s primary job and mission is the education of students in this district.

2) Board members make policy and the superintendent implements the policy.

3) I met with other elected officials and BOE members from various school districts to gain valued insight on how to operate effectively.

4) I attended and completed the NYS mandated training that acquaints a new trustee with all the rules and regulations. It also covers that every school board may have procedures in place on how to operate a bit differently and that a new trustee is encouraged to find out how their district currently operates. I had been a critic of the school district board and administration prior to running and being elected as a trustee. My first goal was to complete the training and understand the mechanics of the existing board and administration.

5) I’ve been working with the BOE in a professional and team-building manner. Before I can suggest or recommend implementing changes, my approach is to understand the existing procedures and processes, then work collectively with other board members and district administration. Bringing up questions in the BOE meetings and drilling down on each agenda item is an approach to bringing about full disclosure and full transparency. Making one’s ideas known to other board members allows for cross-fertilization of ideas and a more polished service.

6) Making motions is an option for any board member; however, one must use discretion and wisdom when using this tool to get the desired results.

7) The BOE is a team of nine members and we need to be in alignment.

8) I would like to see other board members ask more questions, as we need to represent the voters’ voices. They placed us into office, and we need to meet or exceed their expectations.

I remain optimistic that true change will happen, and realistic in the knowledge that it will take time. I am all for appropriate quick changes but do not want to alienate those whom I must work with in the process.

Chris DiFilippo