Two Great Neck Board of Ed candidates drop out

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From left to right: Ilya Aronovich, Michael Golden, Nikolas Kron, Rebecca Sassouni, Jeffrey Shi, and Grant Toch. Golden, second from the left, and Toch, on the right, dropped out of the race. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Michael Golden and Grant Toch dropped out of the race for a Great Neck Public School Board trustee seat last week, reducing the total candidates to four.

The respective races for Lawrence Gross and Susan Healy’s seats each have two people now. Toch and Golden were running against Nikolas Kron and Jeffrey Shi to fill Gross’s seat. Meanwhile, Rebecca Sassouni and Ilya Aronovich are running for Healy’s seat.

Golden, a retired teacher, withdrew on Thursday, April 27, and Toch, head of the United Parent-Teachers Council’s budget committee, withdrew on Friday, April 28. Both said they wanted to avoid dividing support.

“It just seemed that my candidacy would only serve to split the vote among some of the candidates,” Golden said, noting political pressure.

After meeting with some of the others running, Golden said, they agreed it would be best to coalesce around another candidate. He declined to say who.

“The reason I am dropping is so the pro-public school candidates have a unified voice and a unified candidate,” Toch said.

According to New York State Education Law 2018, the Board of Education is now required to allow nominating positions until Tuesday, May 9, at 5 p.m. Petitions can be picked up from the Office of the District Clerk, 345 Lakeville Road on school days, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The lottery for top positioning on Gross’s seat will be held on Wednesday, May 10, at 10 a.m. in the Office of the District Clerk.

This comes at a time where many in the community feel this year’s May 16 vote for the $223 million budget, $68.3 million bond and two trustee seats could determine the fate of Great Neck’s public schools.

“What’s really at stake is public education as we know it. People are feeling different forces are against public education,” said Judy Liman, an advocate for public schools in Great Neck.

“It’s the jewel of the community,” Liman added of the public school system.

Residents will have an opportunity to meet the remaining contenders at a candidate forum, hosted by the Allenwood Park Civic Association, on Tuesday, May 9 at 8:00 p.m. at the Great Neck House.

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