Great Neck Board of Education sets new goals for the school year

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Great Neck Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz outlined the goals of the board for the new school year on Monday. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Great Neck school board members outlined their five goals for the year at a public meeting on Monday, emphasizing the need to carefully monitor the work of committees and infrastructure projects, and to build a stronger relationship with the community.

“I think they’re very reflective of the work we have in store for the coming year,” Barbara Berkowitz, president of the Board of Education, said at the meeting.

The first goal states that the board will reflect on the work of the Citizens Advisory Committee, Financial Advisory Committee and Building Advisory Committee, which was announced following public approval of a $68.3 million bond and $223.3 million budget in the contested May elections.

Rebecca Sassouni heads the Citizens Advisory Committee, the Financial Advisory Committee chair is Don Ashkenase and Jeff Shi is chair of the Building Advisory Committee.

“They will report to the public on the work that’s being done by the advisory committee and I will tell you that at our November meeting, we will be getting a report, a brief report, by each committee chair about what has happened at their first meetings,” Berkowitz said.

The board will also “review their recommendations for the parameters of membership in subsequent years,” Berkowitz added.

Berkowitz said that the board’s second goal is to continue its partnership with the larger community to serve the needs of students, parents and residents.

Pursuant to that goal, she said the board is exploring a “community-wide wellness fair” for spring 2018.

The third goal involves monitoring the progress of the 2017 bond referendum projects, which aim to address critical infrastructure repairs and upgrades, and 2015 and 2016 capital reserve projects like boiler replacements and facade fixes.

The board also announced its intention to increase the number of polling sites to make voting easier, following near record turnout in this year’s elections.

“There will be two additional polling sites starting with this May’s election and those will continue so the lines will not be as long,” Berkowitz said. “We anticipate having a large number of people turning out for elections.”

In the previous election, more than 8,000 voters came out to approve the budget 6,772 to 1,607, a revised bond 6,299 to 1,925, and elect Jeff Shi and Rebecca Sassouni to the school board.

The Great Neck Board of Trustees welcomed both new and returning student delegates at a Monday night board meeting. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The fifth goal of the board is to “assist in the orientation and professional development of our new school members,” Berkowitz said.

In other business, the board also welcomed this year’s new and returning student delegates, instructed administrators to explore possibly adding Chinese language courses in elementary schools and approved the appointment of a new public information coordinator to start in November.

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